Seeing Beyond the Fog
You’re late, speeding at 120 mph, your satellite radio is blaring, your smartphone map app is recalculating, the fog is thick, the road is wet, and it’s hard to tell if the car is still on the road.
Is your marketing on the right track? Are you on the correct path?
According to our internal research, that’s how most CMO’s feel after recent changes in markets, economy, technology, and demographics. A road once clearly defined is now part superhighway, part country road, part off-road, and in some instances a yet-to-be-cut jungle path.
Stumbling in the fog
We have forgotten who to target, how to grab their attention, what to say, where to find them, or when to communicate. It’s not always our fault. Marketing by definition is a road, a road that is nearly always under construction and not always clearly marked.
TV plays in the background. The iPhone is inches away. Online, we search: how to spell, movie title, facts we should have learned in high school or college, news, sports, competitors, and partners. And then there’s social media. Media is no longer an overview of the marketplace. Marketing has become a sphere that covers an entire range north to south and east to west, smothering the consumer with relevant, targeted personalized messages.
Ironically, as consumers, we’re always on one type of road or another and switch lanes as frequently as we switch roads. As marketers we try to “catch” consumers and ticket them with a prospective sale before they exit or have them exit where we wish. Consumers are constantly making corrective changes, switching lanes, changing exits, detouring around delays. Marketers must and should do the same.
The Road Ahead
Marketing has changed. It is no longer simply 360 degrees in scope, but has to be expanded to 720 or more degrees in scope, going back and forth on different paths and planes. As marketers we need to more than adapt; we need to forge a new path that suits our brand, related to the consumer and to market demographics.
Most marketers continue with what ‘works.’ They use single-phase traditional or legacy media: TV, radio, print, billboards, direct mail, etc. Early adaptors added websites, squeeze pages, valueless media, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram, off-line and on-line gaming, YouTube, SEO, email, UGC (user generated content), content editors, earned, paid, and owned media, etc. Later, they bring in new tools to measure and analyze (i.e.: to make sense of) market spend.
The big picture of big data
Technology has multiplied the venues and channels we use for marketing but generates so much data that we get stuck. We get distracted with too much information, including data that has no relevance or value. We may have lost sight of the objective. We still market to sell, but are successful only when the selling process is integrated, relevant, and beneficial to the consumer.
Honing marketing in the digital era
Silos become entrenched. Public Relations fails to share with marketing, Human Resources sometimes contradicts Public Relations, Sales is busy, Marketing is planning, the CFO is tinkering with next year’s budget, and Social Media and its media partners are on their own. Data indicates that all marketing media is more powerful when integrated and viewed by the user—the consumer—as having value. The negative impact of following the latest marketing trends exceeds headcount and media cost.
Forging a path to success: Our To-Do List
Our job has changed. There are too many different opportunities and too much data (more data = more problems). Here is a short list to align your marketing efforts:
1. Build your brand internally first.
2. Define the mission of each department and its target audience.
3. Adopt the 80/20 rule to limit the number of channels a department works with.
4. Identify the KPI’s relevant to your team and market.
5. Measure each media line by line.
1. Document departmental budgets, expenses, people, and training.
2. Confirm each department is on message and on brand.
3. Verify the KPI’s and messaging work across silos.
4. Optimize one media selected at a time.
5. Re-assess redundancies and integration.
Navigating a foggy sea!
We suggest that not only is correct planning needed, but the need to be ready to manage a course change, an alteration or change of direction, is the key to safely travel in a fog.