2018 is right around the corner. Is your brand up for the challenge?
Our CMO shares his 2018 Marketing Manifesto.
1. Keep it real
Authenticity may seem buzzword-compliant, but it is now Marketing 101. The secret is understanding your audience’s reality before you try to change it. People buy from brands they trust, and contrived marketing speak will get you tossed from the short list of consideration.
2. Great marketing cannot do the heavy lifting for inferior products and services
Since the dawn of time, humans have been able to sniff out a bad product; it doesn’t take long. There are an astonishing number of companies that overspend on advertising and direct marketing instead of product improvement investment and innovation.
3. Consumers own brands
It’s a tough sound bite, as it sounds as if a brand has no control, which is not entirely true. What is true is if you show genuine empathy for your customer, then the voice they own about your brand—i.e., your living, breathing recommendation engines—will ring true to who you are.
4. Quality over quantity for content
Brand stories and content assets serve different purposes, and if your marketing organization does not know how to operate a compelling storytelling approach with tiered levels of purposeful content, you may err and become victim to the volume game. This usually means that over time, 20% of your content is doing all the work for your brand.
5. If it isn’t brilliant and amazing, don’t do it
Subpar and average doesn’t cut it these days. Do amazing marketing work, make it matter, don’t cut corners. If it looks pretty, serves an ego well, wins awards and drives no results, is it amazing?
6. Social authenticity is the difference between brands that die slowly and thrive quickly
This facet of the manifesto is simple. Think about any conversation you have in your personal life, any kind… what does it feel like when the other person isn’t listening, responding or engaging with you? Now think about that at scale for your brand.
7. If your data and insights don’t tell you a story, you’re in trouble
Whether you need an analyst or great technology to help you visualize what your data and insights are saying, just do it. Losing countless dollars on insights that are not actionable, or wasting dollars on ill-informed marketing is over. They say that learning is 70% experiential, 20% teaching/training and 10% reading. The only way marketing teams will get good at this is to start experiencing what great insights and data look like when they tell a clear story.
8. Strategy isn’t what you think it may be
Great strategies are simply stated: Focus on North Star outcomes is not about activity but action. Everything else is a tactical need or executional step. Campaigns are not “the strategy.” They are tactics that support the strategy you want to fulfill.
9. Stop planning to get ready to get ready
The marketing industry is fraught with planning to get ready, meetings to discuss meetings and almost a reward system for people being too busy. Great talent and solid leadership cut through noise. If you hire great people and they know how to do the work well, everything moves with momentum. Get to the work, fail fast, learn and keep going.
10. Technology and creativity are permanently fused
Creative genius happens when a beautiful idea meets the right technology and channel, and your audience loves it.
11. Results, not reasons, count at both a brand and individual level
Brands have to get it right. Rationalizing failure and pointing to leadership doesn’t earn anyone the ultimate prize; it’s akin to a participation ribbon. The DNA of brands and individuals has to bear accountability and actions that get results. Reasons are so ’90s.
12. Organizational momentum is better than go-to-market speed
Speed can kill, and we know what sluggishness does to a brand or marketing team, so the winning hand is an energy level that leads to momentum. Fire on all cylinders, not just a few. In fact, momentum can work hand in hand with the familiar “slow down to speed up” idea.
13. Marketing exists across the enterprise, not just in the marketing department
Every employee is a marketer for your brand. Every department contributes to your brand experience. Treat them that way. Involve them. You’ll be surprised how much a leader in HR or operations can support marketing and impact the brand.
14. Let someone or something unexpected inspire you
Get opinions from outside your normal circle of peeps. You will learn a lot and grow thicker skin. It’s a powerful place to come from, and may inspire a new idea or angle that will win the market.
15. Marketing isn’t what you want to say, it’s what the audience wants to feel.
Taglines, ad copy, slogans, plugs and sound bites can all go awry if, ultimately, the audience isn’t feeling what you have to say. So, just start with what they really want to hear, as long as it’s a truth your brand can own.
16. Women matter. Make it Happen.
Women are not only powerhouses in driving marketing and essential to any brand’s leadership, they also account for 85% of consumer purchases. Make sure that their voices are included when developing marketing strategies and messaging.