How will brands and agencies adapt?
You wind up seeing/reading a lot of content online around this time year that speaks to the coming years and what brands and agencies should expect in terms of disruptions, predications, new channels and shinier and brighter objects. Media has fundamentally changed. We all know this (and if you’re reading this, you’re smack dab in the middle of it). The true adaption for brands and agencies will not be about how smart they are with their creative or whether or not they’re doing clever things in spaces like Twitter or Facebook. True adaptation will come from how well they get over the lazy.
Getting over the lazy.
Marketers on the brand side either manage (and involve) themselves in an agency relationship or they manage and involve themselves with an internal marketing team. Most see Digital Marketing and Social Media as a new channel to integrate versus a new layer that lies at the foundation of all marketing initiatives. While there are some marketing professionals who truly are pushing into this brave new world and doing what they can to build platforms for the one screen world and work with utilitarianism marketing opportunities, there is still a mass majority who are lazy. Maybe "lazy" is a bad choice of words (it is an attention getter), but a majority of marketers are simply doing everything that they have always done. Primarily, they’re relying on people who make very traditional media decisions and then execute it – uniformly – across all media platforms… because all media platforms are the same… right?
It’s a big mistake… and it’s going to cost us… all of us.
We’re not talking about imploding everything. There is no doubt that certain strategies and tactics work, but it’s the lazy mentality that has got me down these days. I get that most marketers don’t keep their jobs for more than twenty months. I get that most agencies are dropped, changed or sent back to re-pitch the business every eighteen months or so, but this should not be an excuse to just let the media direct how and where to spend the marketing money. Is there ROI in Digital Marketing? Is there ROI in Social Media? The answer is yes… but marketing professionals are asking the wrong question and getting a bad outcome because of it.
What is the right question?
Are you willing to do the long, hard and disruptive work or creating a brand ecosystem that you can truly measure? You see, the tools, technology and strategies exist. You can measure every link, image or channel that you’re thinking about engaging with, the challenge is that you need to create a formal framework (which will detail what you’re trying to accomplish, how you’re going to measure it and the economic value that it will bring). From that framework comes the even harder work of deploying it throughout the organization (getting everyone from the c-suite down) to agree and to be apart of this new marketing movement towards optimization and efficacy. And, if that wasn’t hard enough, once you overcome those hurdles, you have to actually do the work. Not just once. But constantly and consistently. You have to wake up in the morning – each and every day – with a smile on your face and say to yourself (and your team), "today is a great day! We’re going to destroy what doesn’t work, test more things, tweak others, build newer metrics and keep at it."
You are no longer managing a budget and an agency relationship. You are an architect. You are planning, building and working on a building, but it never end. There is no penthouse… there is no top floor. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s not for the weak. It’s not for the lazy. Is it easy to tweak and add components to your overall marketing mix based on trends and what the analysts are telling you? Yes. Is it easy to say that such and such doesn’t work or that’s there’s no marketing ROI in it when it falls by the wayside? Yes. Is it hard to really do the work and to look into the mirror and admit that the majority of what you’re currently doing is lazy? Yes.
It’s time to stop asking others to convince us about the new opportunities (because they’re not all that new anymore), and it’s time to start doing the hard work or getting things right.