Challenge #1: Are you happy with me? Meeting expectations
The democratisation of social media as created a monster. Our beloved customers of the past who were happy with TV and Radio Adverts, who loved the free samples of perfume in fashion magazines and reacted to bill boards have mutated, yes they have become zombies. Now they want you to become one of them, they are dead to live marketing, now they have become the boss, they want to be part of you, hungry for your blood, not wanting to miss out on the action.
Of course I do not think that the customers have become Zombies, however like in recent blogs, I do believe that old school marketing is a dying breed. Today it is about engagement, understanding data and creating attention without shouting at possible customers, avoiding misplaced representation at all costs and having to do this with limited resources.
Yes the digital age is fully with us, surrounding us day and night, fully interactive, all knowing. And we the people, the customers? We have more control than ever before. We have access to information whenever we wish and are used to getting what we want when we want.
And our decision making has become far more recension based. We love ecologically friendly and socially responsible products / companies. We want a kick, we want to be picked up emotionally and be part of the bigger picture. We do not want to miss out.
Solution: VIP your customer
Don’t tell the customer, show the customer. The airline and tourist industry has discovered this years ago. Make the customer feel individual, give them something they would not get with your competition. Engage them in a good experience and they will be back. If you make a mistake, admit it, Enjoy your customer
Challenge #2: Creating Attention
What’s another drawback of today’s social media-heavy consumer marketplace? There is an abundance of noise: emails, text messages, blog posts, Facebook videos, and many more, are all competing for a few precious seconds of consumer attention. The challenge for marketers is to break through this noise while simultaneously delivering on the promise of strong, personalized content.
Solution: Stop shouting and start conversing
“Marketing is dead, long live marketing” try to avoid adding to social media shouting content, it is time consuming and ends up being bland, loud and irritating. Reach your customers over other means, find large partners who could benefit from your product and push your product off the back of theirs, go to influencers, how does your product, service make the world better? Work with influencers like big charities – Greenpeace etc. Try to make your action more interactive, events, involve your potential customers. Experiences sell.
Challenge #3: Limited Time and Resources
Trying to reach individuals over branding and social media is an arduous campaign and requires manpower and time. Often in smaller companies the manpower is not available and so little thought is spent on how to approach the customer. It ends up more on a happy go lucky approach seeking followers when the idea is to find buyers. Especially B2C companies suffer from this issue. Too much value is put on SEO strategies or individuals and money is easily spent. These add up,, killing the budget for better, more efficient strategies, requiring less resources.
Solution: Keep it simple
Stay away from time consuming marketing strategies like Social Media strategies. They are both time consuming and do not bring the effectivity in your project. Try not to aim your marketing at an individual but at a group, try to use influencers and Brandscaping to magnify your statement. A partner with need is a partner indeed. I call this “Smarketing”. (Sales and Marketing). Try to organise products into easy and harder sell categories and create short, mid and long term marketing strategies.
Challenge #4: Over Engineering – too much focus on Data
With today’s technologies, consumer research groups, analysis software (customer behaviour software), marketing experts in larger corporations have access to amazing amounts of data, and sifting through this and creating marketing use cases can become difficult and tedious. In research and development one would warn here of “over engineering” where a simpler solution could be more effective. The problem is that the concentration on data takes the personality aspect out of marketing, results in bland advertising and as it is over engineered only appeals to a fraction of the group it was intended for.
Solution: It ain’t Rocket Science
Especially in the world of online product placement, try and go for a group of people rather than a type of person. As we have already discussed. Data is only then useful if it helps identify complete groups, however it generally clouds creativity and ends up on badly placed advertising which is incorrectly dispersed, ending up in adding to the noise rather than distracting, which is the initial idea of data collection in the first place. We say, keep marketing and sales human, use common sense not scientific sense. Marketing is emotional, don’t make it clinical.
Therefore, stick to emotional data like consumer insights, and save your data in one place.
Challenge 5: “If I were a rich man…”
Especially start-ups and small companies do not have the luxury to spend millions on marketing and events, as marketing is too often uncoupled from sales within an organisation – A. often money is spent on the wrong marketing measures like design awards, employer friendly awards, B. badly organised trade fair events, C. badly co-ordinated unnecessary SEO strategies or D. money spent unnecessarily on print media in the wrong papers, etc. I could write a whole book on this.
Solution: Sales and Marketing are twins – they need each other
If Marketing understand how Sales intend to reach ROI on a product or service, they can talk about figures together. When the ROI is clear, this may help marketing and sales to ask for a higher budget and the risk is manageable
Marketing and Sales is not rocket science, it is simple. It leans on old knowledge and has become too scientific. At least those growing up in the west even 100 years ago would have heard that “The customer is King” why has this become a surprise? The only thing that has changed are the King’s wishes. The King wishes peace and quiet, only to know about that which is needed to be known, the King’s needs haven’t changed. The King still wants to feel like the King.
So stop looking at the King as a singular King but look for groups of Kings, look for people who have a higher standing to the Kings. This could be companies or influencers and speak over them, you will reach more Kings, more precisely, without creating too much noise, lower budget, especially on unnecessary data. At the same time you will be looking at corporate and social responsibility doing favours for your company at the same time.
"Marketing is dead. Long live marketing."