February 16, 2014
This weekend I heard someone ask this question and it dawned on me that I view too many things in work and life as projects. Why is this important? A project has an end. A process is a never ending activity, providing many opportunities to change course.
Your career, and your life, are a process… Even though both have a beginning and an end. Be exceptional, find those points along the way where you can reassess, change course and improve. Honest self reflection is hard but if you’ve set goals you’ll have an objective vantage point along the way.
February 1, 2014
The unfortunate truth is that most people reading this will think that I’m referring to a white paper or an article. Not really. It may, but content is really used here in the context of the information you’re trying to deliver to your audience. There are many styles and a growing number of formats, but the point is to add value to the life of your audience. The good news is that many people already see this and understand that the objective is now placed on the audience and not you.
I believe the best marketers really try to find those intersections where audience value aligns with company value. Bingo!
The reality is that what a brand says to their audience (content) is equally important as how they say it (creative) and both are probably more important than where it is said (channel). I understand that creative people are going to argue that the big ideas are paramount. I don’t disagree. I’m merely saying that what you say is equally as important. Also, I always hear mobile experts saying that you need to use more mobile, and similar from social media folks. Maybe.
Why do I feel this is the case? The role consumers play in the process of buying has literally done a 180. Consumers, really buyers in generally, now operate as a filter of information… just 15 years ago they struggled to find information. Their hurdle for what constitutes good information, content, has been rising steadily for the last decade. Evidence the erosion of media effectiveness, banner blindness, or whatever you want to call it. The days of interrupting people to tell them your message, expecting them to grant you the permission to even pay a small amount of attention, is just gone.
July 15, 2013
The last 15 years of marketing innovation are indelibly etched in history, yet the prior 30 years set the groundwork for why this all makes sense. Mass marketing strategies that drove tremendous advertising growth in the 60’s and 70’s gave way to targeted audience based concepts by the late 80’s. Around this time marketers crowded consumer choice, proliferating brands and even non-brands, in an environment where consumers already faced tremendous friction in their ability to gather information for evaluation and purchase.
Then in the early 90’s we all partook in the greatest, most timely invention of all, the Internet.
More than a new technology or a new advertising channel, the Internet cast a milestone that marks the shift in consumer objectives forevermore; from acquiring information to filtering information and increasingly creating information. This consumer shift is the primary wedge inserted to marketing and advertising, especially for brands that have yet to realize this change; exacerbated by waning consumer response rates, many brands have upped the ante by driving even more impressions, using new technologies to drive efficiency and reach.
More than a retro-futuristic steampunk story, if we were to sit down and examine what’s available would we again build the rigidly siloed marketing systems of today? Of course not. Marketing starts with audiences and objectives, not channels and data siloes. In a sense, I’m advocating a righting of the marketing equation, placing the consumer rather than channels as the primary concern. Viewing the equation from the this dimension, we eliminate complexity and increase targeting accuracy, experiential consistency and measurement accuracy.
November 7, 2012
Quick thought… how frequently do you hear people talk about a 360 degree view of the customer? How frequently are the same people referring to a core marketing database that is exclusively offline OR online in its capabilities? This is a clear indicator of the actual range of their customer centricity.
Historically, the marketing database held insight about customers and prospects and aggregated information from many offline channels… telemarketing, POS, customer service, direct mail, and others. 15 years ago, that was pretty close to a 360 degree view. However, since the advent of digital communications channels, more and more insight has been outside the view of these assets… rendering them less valuable and perceptually obsolete. Today, with about 42% of media impressions being in digital channels, this historical vision has now shrunk to about a 208 degree view, and, promises to continue shrinking.
Contrasting this, all too often I see industry luminaries extole the benefits of a 360 degree view of the customer and refer to a solely digital solution… Yeah, that’s actually only a 151 degree view. Even a less accurate view of the customer, and typically with far more remdial concepts of marketing data and predictive analytics.
What does this all mean? Customer centricity will be illusive until online and offline marketers start sharing data and tools… communicating towards the same objectives. The traditional direct marketing folks have assets that digital marketers would be floored if they understood; Predictive analytics, record matching, cross channel campaign tools and more. However, the people who manage them frequently do not see the path to actioning these assets in the new world. Meanwhile, digital marketers are trying to build things that already exist and their vision is limited in scope, never actually seeing the 360 degree view of the customer.