Business Strategy

February 11, 2014

Why this Marketer is changing his spots

By Drew No comments

I’m re skilling.

I may be an ‘experienced marketer’ but I suspect I may need to change some (if not all) my spots or become an extinct species in the next 5 years.

I have sat through three presentations recently that have blown me away in terms of persuasive data.

I started my career when advertisers talked about predisposition, top of mind awareness and brand affinity – all great, but in retrospect, I suppose it is not so surprising that CMO chiefs were saying that their CFO was giving them a grilling about ROI. The issue with ‘the way it was’ relates to all our evidence (about sales effect) having been circumstantial. In the absence of any proof against us, we all drew hypotheses to substantiate why marketing had a positive effect on sales growth and if there was a decline, then we would point to a lack of investment or excellent competitive activity or worst of all, we would say ‘imagine how bad it would have been if we weren’t advertising’!

The game has changed now. We can’t just be making assertions based on intuition (although that still counts a lot of course) because we can measure the hell out of just about everything and we should be using our long honed barrister skills to construct more than a circumstantial argument about why the marketing we create has value

Digital marketing tools, as the recent presentations I have attended  have witnessed, are telling me not just how many people saw our campaign but what they did (or didn’t do) as a result. Particularly in the world of B2B, we are seeing page views turn in to requests for info (and we are seeing dead end web pages that tell us a lot too). We see dwell time vs bounce rates, request for info and for sales contact to be made – and we are seeing actual sales activity too; ecommerce values for some clients and marketing pipeline for others. It’s a world away from flimsy ‘evidence’; it’s more business grounded and ultimately it is making us a lot more compelling. We have clients who really are becoming the voice to be heard in senior management meetings, because they are interpreting data as well as sharing insight. It’s a compelling combination.

All this tells me 2 things

  1. Invest in data people. Most of our clients are.I always felt that ‘data’ as a discipline was under resourced in marketing departments. The way you could tell in the old days was that customer and prospect lists became hopelessly out of date and there was no focus on quality information being a priority. The result was poor results and a feeling that however good the campaign was, data would probably hold you back from being effective. But now it’s more than just being about list data, it’s the advent of ‘marketing technologists’ that is exciting. Marketing teams ARE reskilling around insight and data and that is right.
  2. Magic still happens when (especially in B2B) you balance the need for creativity with the recognition that buyers need rational substantiation for spending the Company’s money too. When we get the balance right, we get great creative inspiration and a strong business hook too – and guess what, that not only causes the target audience to react positively, but it allows us to measure what the hell they are doing too!

I am going to be a marketing technologist in my next life