9 points you must consider when developing a marketing strategy

Remember needing to carry a dime or a quarter to make a phone call if you were out? How about just knowing people from your neighborhood?

What about having to wait until Saturday mornings to watch cartoons? Or NBC’s “Must See TV”?

Remember having to go to the library, rifling through shelves of books, after having searched through the card catalogue in order to do research for your class projects?

Well, teenagers today don’t.

Cannon - "Triple Revolution"

© Lincolnadams | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

 

The Triple Revolution, as Barry Wellman of the University of Toronto explains, is the merging of Mobile, Social Networks, and Internet, changing everyone’s lives (especially the lives of marketers!)

The mobile revolution is about continuous presence, with time and space no longer being as important as before. Mazda reminds us that Martin Cooper invented the mobile phone in 1973, leading the way for us to be physically untethered to landlines but forever connecting us to the world, 24/7.

Just 10 years ago, Facebook first hit the scene. It wasn’t the first in the social network revolution, but it’s become the biggest. Today, essentially 1 in 7 people on the planet are on this social network (check out Digital Marketing Ramblings for interesting Facebook stats). That means your “neighborhood” has gotten considerably larger. We’ve moved from social groups to social networks.

25 years ago this year, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, putting nearly all of the possible information you could possibly want, at our fingertips (remember World Book Encyclopedias?). The Internet has proliferated and essentially become more personalized for each person (think Google search, targeted ads).

When you put these three revolutions together, it means that for us marketers we have to live in the now, look to what’s coming in the future, and stop reminiscing about the past (except when hanging out w/ fellow Gen X’rs).

Here are 9 points you must consider to make your marketing efforts thrive in the midst of the “Triple Revolution”:  

  1. IT’S SO NOISY!!! The beauty of technology and its reach today is that everyone can be a publisher (and it seems like everyone is trying). For marketers though it means that your competition to be heard has grown exponentially. You need to figure out how what you have to say is going to cut through the clutter, be heard, and be acted upon. It’s not about screaming louder; it’s about saying something relevant.
  2. Listen to the chatter: The flip side of having to compete with everyone to get heard is that social media in particular gives marketers the opportunity to listen to what current and prospective customers have to say. This is a goldmine of information! But, you have to know how to take advantage of it and turn that data into actionable insights. So, listen carefully to take informed actions.
  3. Word travels fast: Today, one tweet can catch fire in a matter of minutes, even seconds. Ellen DeGenere’s Oscar Tweet was retweeted 2.4 million times in a 12-hour period. The good news: if you delight people, there’s a chance that word will spread. But, if your brand ticks someone off, there’s a very good chance that word will also spread, fast, and very, very far. Real-time marketing is awesome and powerful, but you always need to think before you act.
  4. Tomorrow is too late: People want what they want when they want it. That might be at 2PM or 2AM. If you aren’t there to help them satisfy their need, someone else will. Your prospective customers will simply Google what they need and find someone else who can provide it. And if they have a better experience there, you may have lost them for good. Think about your customers’ needs and organize your business around them.
  5. Communicate like you’re on sodium pentothal: No, I’m not advocating using drugs. Sodium pentothal is truth serum – the stuff of spy movies, that when taken forces people to tell the truth. What I am advocating is to be truthful, to be real, to inject a humanness to your communications efforts. People today expect it. If you are hiding something, it will come out and you will look terrible.
  6. Your customer is a person: I’m a huge believer in segmenting your audience. But, all too often we forget that inside these segments are actually human beings; ones with names, interests, fears, hobbies. Technology today allows us to personalize our messages. Do it. But don’t be creepy.
  7. It’s about mobility: Not only is it a 24/7 world, but maybe more importantly, we are now no longer at the mercy of wires to be connected. We have phones, phablets, tablets, laptops, smartwatches, Google glasses. Craft content with the user’s context in mind. The medium and message are connected.
  8. What’s private is now public: People now reveal their private thoughts and feelings to the public via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. In the public realm, people can share where they are through Foursquare, thus publicizing to the world where they are. At the same time, Snowden has brought front and center the issue of privacy and governments going too far. Brands need to be careful with the information they gather and use (look back at point #5).
  9. Communications has been democratized: Now that anyone can publish content, and share it, it means that the most compelling and relevant stuff can come from anyone and anywhere. That content can come from a global brand based in NY or a teenager in Buenos Aires. Brands no longer hold all of the communication or content cards. You need to know when to speak, when to listen, and where to find the influencers who can make your point even better than your brand might be able to.

So, I’ll continue to tell my kids about life with TV commercials, about NBC’s “Must See TV” and how if you missed the show, you missed the show and you had to wait until they ran it again. But in my day-to-day as a marketer, I know that I need to look at how these revolutions are evolving and what they have in store for people and those of us trying to market to them.

Have any other points you think are key to managing through these “revolutions”? Let me know.

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The Marketer v. Fragmentum Chronicles: Battle for integration and focus (part 1)

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Batman has the Joker.

Superman has Lex Luthor.

The X-Men have The Brotherhood.

The Marketer has Fragmentum.

Yes, Fragmentum. The evil villain who’s sole purpose in life is to disorient Marketer’s ability to develop and execute holistic approaches by throwing more and more channels to reach audiences.

Born of technology and innovation, Fragmentum entered the scene decades ago. While at first a friend of Marketer, providing him with new channels to reach Marketer’s target audiences (broadcast TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, direct mail), Fragmentum started going overboard. Fragmentum’s modus operandi became “more is better.”

The villain’s power has more recently been seen disorienting Marketer and pulling him away from using targeted channels, and closer to disintegration – using more and more channels just because they exist. Marketer faces fragmentation of the channel landscape.

For the last decade Fragmentum has tossed dozens upon dozens of shiny new digital channels in front of Marketer, tempting him to try them all: Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn, Instagram, blogs, microblogs, apps, QR codes, Google+, YouTube, Vimeo, digital billboards, email, cable TV, Orkut.

The temptation for Marketer is huge.

Despite knowing how important it is to utilize his finite resources (time, money, people) in a strategic way and focusing on high value channels, Marketer sometimes gets caught jumping into new channels without thinking through his strategy. He is drawn to the new channels without thinking through how all of the channels work together to achieve the ultimate goal of connecting with his audiences.

In some cases, Marketer doesn’t even know why he’s using a particular digital too/channel, or how it works with the others to reach a goal. He’s blindsided by Fragmentum; attracted by the novelty and the buzz of new channels. 

Could this spell defeat for Marketer, as he is spread too thin? Will he be unable to figure out what channels work best together to meet his goals.

Marketer most go back to his roots. He is trained in the art and science of identifying the optimal channels to reach his target, and then creating an integrated approach. He must make informed decisions to battle against “more is better.”

So what will Marketer do to regain focus and integrate the optimal channels?

Find out in part 2 of the Marketer v. Fragmentum Chronicles.

What comes first: the content or the design?

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Unlike the circular debate about which comes first, the chicken or the egg, the “which comes first, content or design” question has a clear answer:

NEITHER!

If you’re in marketing, communication or advertising, you’ve likely been on the receiving end of one or more of the following statements/questions:

  • “I need a brochure by the end of the week.”
  • “We need to create a new webpage for tomorrow.”
  • “Can you make an ad?”

If the statement is followed by something like, “Just start designing something and then we’ll give you the content later,” or “We can’t give you the content until we know what it’s going to look like,” just STOP!

That’s unless you’re ready to spend hours of your life going back and forth to deliver something that will likely disappoint you and your colleagues, and miss the mark with your target audience.

So where do you start if it’s not with crafting text or finding great imagery?

You begin by answering these four foundation-level questions before discussing any design or even messaging:

  1. Why you are designing something?
  2. Who needs to engage with message?
  3. What people should do or feel once they engage with the message?
  4. When and where (location, not platform or channel) people will experience what you are crafting?

With these answers, you can craft the basic message that you want to convey – I’m not talking great copywriting at this point; just defining in simplest terms what you want people to understand.

With the basic message identified, begin the conversation about the medium(s)/channel(s) that it will be delivered on.

You can now determine if you need something short and punchy for an ad on a search engine that people might see while researching. Or, maybe you realize that you need to provide more utility through a series of blog posts so you can begin to pull in new prospects. Whatever the medium or channel, the discussion on what you need to say and what it will look like is much easier when starting from a solid foundation, a foundation that is shared by the people you are working with.

Put a strong copywriter and creative director or designer together who both understand the answers to the four questions above, and you have the ingredients in place to deliver solid, and even amazing results.

The reality is, this process often has to take place in a matter of hours because of deadlines. But, it’s a process that can definitely make the final deliverable more effective, and at the same time, help you keep a little more sane.

What do you think? Share your perspective.