There was a time when businesses hired door-to-door salesmen to hawk their products. But as mom-and-pop shops grew into department stores, and consumers’ options expanded, businesses had to hire marketing professionals to reach and influence consumers. Marketing departments usually had one solution for every sales challenge: find a demographic group to market a product to, and then spend billions of media dollars inundating that demographic group with advertising.
This approach worked for decades. Businesses made products. Marketers sold the products. Consumers bought the products. Everyone was happy.
But then everything changed. Now, nothing works the way it used to. The way it’s supposed to. Businesses are working smarter than ever, yet the results are less effective, less efficient, and less predictable.
Now, multichannel attribution and marketing are the standard minimum for every business. "Digital first" isn’t an option—it’s the rule, and mobile first is the norm. The use of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data is required to increase efficiencies, predict performance, and uncover and identify category and brand opportunities.
The reality of audience fragmentation means your brand needs to understand its audiences more deeply. For example, it used to be a safe assumption that all men watched sports, so if you wanted to reach a male audience, you advertised around live sporting events or in the sports section of a newspaper. Men and women still watch and follow sports, but now, instead of “sports fans” there are college football fans, NFL fans, or Bulls fans, and each of these fragmented audiences exists in a mostly closed ecosystem. So if your brand’s audience is “middle-class women,” for example, then what and who are we really talking about? And where, and how, do you reach them with your marketing?Read More About Audience Fragmentation
Media proliferation makes channel selection more important than ever. Think about it this way—in the old days, businesses placed an ad in the local newspaper or maybe put up a billboard. Now businesses have to choose between Facebook, Instagram, podcast ads, streaming services ads, banner ads, and on and on. Do you know which of these marketing channels is most effective for your business?Read More About Media Proliferation
Because content has become so saturated, your brand needs to find a way to be heard above all the other voices shouting at consumers every day. Consumers are exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 ads per day. This helps explain why many TV commercials are more interested in being memorable (hint: the goal is to go viral) than in talking about the brand’s actual products. How can you make sure your brand doesn’t drown in the ocean of content?Read More About Content Saturation
Data represents either a solution or a challenge for your brand. In reality, it’s probably both. Businesses have more data than ever at their disposal, but unless you employ a team of analysts, all that information can cause decision-making paralysis. Which data should you trust? Which data is the important data? And how do you convert data into a marketing plan?
User privacy issues create an uncertain future for consumers and brands. Every day a retailer announces that their customers’ personal data has been compromised. Every day a credit card company promises that their customers’ finances are secure despite a massive data breach. At some point in the near future, the federal government may emulate the privacy regulations currently in place in Europe. When that happens, will your brand be ready? Are you curating your own internal data, or are you still relying on third parties?Read More About User Privacy and Regulation
Brand loyalty just isn’t what it used to be. Remember when buying shoes was simple? You had a favorite brand, you knew your size, and you knew where to buy them. Now the quality of your favorite brand has suffered because the leather is made in China and the sizing seems to change every year. Perhaps your favorite brand’s shoes are only sold online now, alongside competitors that look the same, but cheaper. What is your brand doing to make sure your customers don’t start shopping around?Read More About Brand Loyalty
Together, these drivers have changed the way we segment and prioritize audiences, select and prioritize channels, and how we holistically plan and execute macro and micro campaigns. Together, these drivers have changed the way we activate our marketing campaigns and how we measure efficacy and ROI at scale and in real time.
If brands don’t take each of these six drivers of change into account when planning marketing strategies and tactics, the results will suffer.