I’ve been speaking on this topic for a few years now and just reviewing my presentations it’s jaw dropping how quickly marketing as we once knew it, really is dying. I was thinking about this recently as someone asked me about marketing and what it is marketers ‘do’. The fact is marketing is no longer a department, it spans an organization. Here are the three shifts all marketers must make:
Move from Advertising to Discovery
My nearly 3 year old is in the ‘boundary stage’, but she constantly inspires me to realize the importance of discovery over command. If I TELL her to do something she’s more than 80% more likely to NOT do it. However, if I happen to leave some play-doh out, or fruit and veggies, she’s much more likely to just dive in on her own and give things a try. Marketing in today’s age is the same. When marketing was created it was a time where information was scarce. We didn’t know what vacuum cleaners were out there or how products could make our life better and there wasn’t mass media channels for years to come (other than radio). Today we surf the information highway for hours a day. We feel empowered and that we have it all at our fingertips. The role of brands and companies is to be discovered in these consumer experiences. The hard part is making sure your content conveys your benefit, brand, difference in whatever content piece someone may discover. That is the equation marketing departments need to be solving. Discoverability + Context + Message = Marketing.
Think about Experience and Reputation and not CPM
Marketing is no longer simply about providing vital information. It most definitely still has that as one purpose, however, marketing as it was known is dissolving. It is being reinvented into customer experience, the reputation of the company, the values of an organization and humanization and evolving companies to be more than a seller to a buyer. You may get a highly efficient CPM on a print buy, banner ads, programmatic plans or even great TV media. That will get you eyeballs, it may get you intent, but what are you going to do with it? Spending money there and not investing in the experience and reputation you create is wasted money. If your marketing team is not thinking about what happens to a customer after they get interested, they are not seeing the consumer’s needs. It’s no longer marketing’s job to just reach people, it’s their job to connect and earn trust.
Span an organization not a calendar year
There is a lot of time put into thinking about the yearly marketing plan. There is even more time put into the media plan, strategy and spending allocation. We spend hundreds of man hours thinking all this through. Defining a target, a platform and strategy, creative realization and ultimately the execution. How much time are we spending with our own organization and making sure all the key areas are living up to these messages? How much time are we spending thinking if our HR policies support our “Live Freely” (completely made up tagline) campaign? Are our employees even able to support this message we say our brand stands for? How much time are we investing on educating customer service, sales, operations, the receptionist on what our customers experience should be, what the expectation is and how we will demand consistency?
It is a challenging, but also inspiring time to be in marketing. What was once difficult and complex has become overwhelmingly challenging and ever changing. You can hold on to the old way for dear life, or start getting comfortable being uncomfortable as we enter these unchartered waters and redefine the role of an entire industry.