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Remember when marketing and advertising was simpler? Buy a commercial during primetime, or in the Sunday paper, and rest assure you’ll have eyes on your message. Try that today and risk your target audience fast-forwarding through your commercial, or asking, “what’s a newspaper?” The options were not only narrower, but more popular. Netflix, Pandora and RSS Feeds have essentially killed the market-saturation approach. The internet has created a segmented market, and having all eyes on your message is, if not impossible, at least improbable. There are simply too many entertainment options competing for attention. How can Mr. or Mrs. Business tell the world they exist?
Every day the industry shifts closer to inbound, and away from outbound marketing. The consumer, if not actually smarter, is at least more clever about filtering messages. People, in general, spend much of their day trying to avoid advertisements. The shift is leading to companies utilizing a “branding” approach. Pushing the “brand,” rather than the “product or service,” prevents the consumer from instinctively tuning-out. A beneficial result of this shift is how creative possibilities expand. Focusing on “brand” broadens the businesses’ message. The objective shifts from, “buy our product,” to, “like us.”
Diversification has long been the safety net of investing. Even marketing strategies have incorporated the concept. Rather than focus a budget on a handful of media formats, spread the dollars across several. Not only does this allow for better market testing, but increases the likelihood of reaching your target audience. This isn’t a groundbreaking concept. Traditional marketing has prospered with this strategy for years. What is new, however, is the depth at which this concept is no longer a suggestion. Diversify or perish.
Today’s top marketing talent will be diverse. They will understand how to design quality content. How to create and curate. What it takes to build social engagement. How to turn a Like in to a Share. And a Follow in to a Customer. They will test and optimize as second-nature. Their ears and eyes will always be open to the latest trends, industry news and the competition. Most importantly, they will be capable of managing all of these concepts simultaneously. Top marketers will understand how to produce a commercial, upload it to YouTube, promote it on Facebook and Twitter, compose emails linking to it, edit blog entries about it, develop keywords for PPC advertising, and how to craft titles and alt-text for organic optimization. The segmentation of marketing disciplines, into specialties, is a diminishing necessity. Diversify or perish, in business, and professionally.
Internal corporate synergy is no longer an appealing business model, it’s an absolute mandate. The decisions of one department can no longer live in isolation. The consumer can now take their complaint directly to Twitter, for the entire world to see. Handling issues exclusively in-house can be detrimental in today’s culture. To succeed in marketing, all business divisions must communicate and collaborate. And the only way to truly foster this cooperation is to assure your marketer(s) understand the bottom-to-top concepts thoroughly. Today’s marketer(s) must understand the depth of systems, be they platforms, media formats or devices, because they all intersect. SEO, social media and advertising must all connect, and success depends on acquiring the talent that understands it all.
Today, more than ever, creativity is the key to marketing success. Digital marketing is such a new and evolving industry, that profit depends on equal parts “best practices” and “outside-the-box thinking.” The goal of every marketer should be: experiment, test, learn, and repeat. Follow the successes of industry leaders and expand upon their insights. However, as a wise man once said about obtaining knowledge:
“The more you know, the more you know you don’t know, you know?”
~ Daniel M. Christensen