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.
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.
July 20, 2012
I’ll admit it… I’m in my 15th year of digital marketing, wrapped inside a 28 year career of marketing. While this can make me sound like an old fart, I realized quite a while ago that I no longer think in digital terms… I apply digital concepts, tactics and measurement to marketing strategy.
More than parsing words too closely, this goes to the core of all multichannel marketing and consumer centric strategies. Thinking in terms of channel based strategies, a.k.a. digital marketing strategies, is antithetical to success. Your target audience IS your target audience, regardless of where they come upon you.
Consider the rage of discussion around data management platforms, real time bidding and web recommendation tools. Across the board, all value the input of digital signals to try to deliver better or more efficient digital media. Is this the right answer? Last time I researched the area of media consumption, I found that consumers amass about 42% of their media impressions through digital channels.
If you still believe in the “digital marketing strategy”, today’s best practice, consider that you’re looking at less than half of your cutsomer engagement to deliver less than half of their impression of your brand. How does that align to the other 58% of media impressions? How do you control consistency between those impressions?
Hope you get the point. Start thinking about your marketing strategy, and how digital signals and media can help achieve your objectives. The world is turning increasingly digital, but until you make this shift, or until 100% of your audiences impressions are digital we’ll never see an alignment between the digital marketing strategy and overall marketing stratetgy… we’ll never see true consumer centric marketing or true customer engagement.
June 11, 2012
A departure today… this is actually a quote I came up with many years ago. I bring it up because I just read a quote from Steve Jobs and thought it similar…
“A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem.”
He is speaking to the second half of what I point to in my quote, and does an excellent job of describing the impact of a lack of experience… too few dots to connect, end up with very linear solutions. Frankly, I don’t really see myself as an intellect but secretly hope that people reflect on my interactions with them as being smart. Connecting dots, innovating outside of the normal bounds.
I’ve always found competent people with a wealth of experience to be a breath of fresh air. Recently, I had the great fortune of meeting a person who epitomizes this, oddly enough he also has a PhD from MIT… proving a limited number of great people also have confidence and education:-)