For most companies, the answer to this question is, “yes, of course we do,” but sometimes all the marketing in the world will not lead to the desired result. Why? I believe there are three main reasons.
First, marketers are simply inundated with too much “stuff,” (i.e., technology, apps, products, services, channels, mediums, best practices, data, etc.). It’s almost as though they are like children and the marketplace is like a toy store. They can’t wait to get their hands on the latest and greatest toy or game to play with and or to use. It’s either that or they feel compelled to “keep up with the Joneses,” where one thing after another needs to be had. “What do you mean we are not on every social media platform?” “Why don’t we use sales acceleration software?” “Shouldn’t we be using beacons too?” “How do we start using programmatic advertising?” Enough.
Marketers, like children, need to realize that having it all is not the end all and be all. It guarantees nothing or very little at best. In my research on the use of QR codes, for example, companies left, right and center would place a code in an advertisement with the least bit of knowledge and or practical experience on how to do so correctly (i.e., for the code to actually have some sort of value or benefit for the consumer as well as for the company). Why? Because it was cool and hip? Because it was the latest buzz? Because the agency said so? Because a competitor is using the latest shiny new object in the room, does not mean that it will work, make sense for another company or that sales will automatically result.
Marketers need to sift through the droves of products and services out in the marketplace and really get a handle on what will help them with the objectives and strategies at hand. It’s not so much about what’s in a marketer’s tool kit as it is how well each tool is used and deployed (i.e., is the return on investment being realized).
Second, companies are running too fast when it comes to marketing. Just because the “always on, always connected” consumer is just that, it does not mean that marketing needs to go into high gear and push text messages, content, thought leadership research, articles, images, promotions, apps, stories, reviews, press releases, etc. to consumers 24x7x365. Slow down.
For years, I have referenced Seth Godin’s thoughts and observations about how marketing and advertising, for the most part, have become nothing more than interruptions. The same goes for “always on, always connected” marketing. If a company is constantly churning out one piece after another, after another, etc., my thought is this: In time, this practice will lose its impact and meaning and become nothing more than an interruption as well.
While there’s nothing wrong with keeping materials fresh and up to date, there doesn’t need to be an overabundance of it.
Third, companies are still operating in silos and, as a result, marketing as well as the customer experience remains fragmented. This topic has been spoken and written about time and again, yet it still rings true. Why?
Today, companies must come to grips with the fact that the customer experience needs to be front and center, seamless and frictionless, from first point of contact to the last. Period. Nothing else and no other vision of the customer and their experience with the brand/product should matter or interfere.
There is no mobile experience. There is no call center experience. There is no pre- or post-sale experience. There is no in-store experience. There is no online experience. There is no direct response experience. All of these “experiences” need to be rethought, reformatted and rolled into one…the customer experience. And, to make this experience as positive, beneficial and relevant as it needs to be, across all fronts, all of the traditional functional silos, as well as any other stakeholders, need to be brought together so they can all understand what each one is doing and how that will affect the customer experience.
Should this prove difficult for the marketer to accomplish, which I imagine it could be, then the C-suite needs to get involved and understand what’s at stake. Without top-down support and buy-in, this third step stands little chance of succeeding and accomplishing anything of true value.
While my comments may be somewhat simplistic, I don’t believe it takes much more than this to win business and keep customers. With so much going on out in the marketplace and so quickly, I believe the fundamentals of marketing still hold true and attention needs to be paid to them, regardless of whether the conversation, strategy, interaction or campaign is rooted in traditional, digital, social, mobile, interactive, experiential, etc.
**The above was written to help illustrate to a potential employer my perspective on marketing and the customer, as I currently search for a new position in marketing management. If, after reading this, you would like to know more about my background and what I can offer your company, if there is a person with whom you believe I should speak, or if there is a position available about which you believe I should know, please get in touch and let’s talk further. Thank you.