Change. Are you good with it?
I’m fortunate to work for a company that embraces change and champions innovation through ample professional development opportunities. I take full advantage of every conference, course and guest speaker brown bag that I can, because if I’m being honest, being a change maker doesn’t come naturally. I’m learning to be comfortable amid uncertainty and give myself (and my team) permission to take risks, fail and try again because that’s what you must do to stay relevant, connected and innovative.
This Spring, I attended Forrester’s Consumer Marketing Forum: “Master Marketing Strategy and Technology in a Turbulent Time.” The title was intriguing and felt like a perfect fit for the work that we do, such as:
- Creating marketing strategies that balance business goals with customer needs
- Producing content that provides value, while keeping brand relevance top of mind
- Evaluating and utilizing a marketing tech stack to plan, deliver, and measure communications
- Breaking silos and challenging the “because we’ve always done it this way” mindset
- Taking risks, failing, and trying again
Here are my top 5 takeaways from the event:
1. Consumers’ attention spans are now less than that of a gold fish (less than 8 seconds).
Get to the point quickly or risk losing your audience.
2. Brand values matter to consumers and affect sales.
Take a stand, share it out and embody the brand values in everything that you do. Customers doubt and mistrust brands that do not take a stand and tread middle ground. Alternatively, brands that show a human side and have strong values make customers more loyal. For example, Vicks released a powerful ad normalizing and championing a transgender mom’s relationship with her adopted daughter.
The ad itself had little to do with Vicks products, but it earned them immense respect and loyalty from consumers because of the values they demonstrated.
3. Create audience-first marketing strategies and become a customer intelligent company.
Break silos and get rid of the channel-centric strategies you’re holding onto. Focus on the full customer experience and the context in which you find your customer. Treat customer service as an attitude, not a department. Virgin Media lost $5 million a year because their hiring and interview process turned people against the brand. Every point of interaction needs to be positive.
4. One size fits all marketing doesn’t cut it anymore.
Successful marketers take 1:1 experiences a step further by creating 1:moment experiences, keeping context top of mind when marketing to customers. For example, instead of sending your customers a customized bar offer from their favorite neighborhood happy hour spot on a Monday morning, send it after 5 p.m. on a Thursday with their favorite beverage featured. Or a bolder example: The actors in the Broadway show Hamilton created this 1:moment experience when they addressed attendee Mike Pence at the end of the show.
It was bold, disruptive and risky to take such a stand, but the actors knew their audience and had context for their statement. The following week, the show broke records and grossed the highest profit any show has in a week.
5. Assumptions lead to illusion of insight, which can lead to blind spots.
Triangulate insights to boost confidence and rely on mixed-method, multi-sourced insight to fill in the blanks, check assumptions, create new hypotheses and minimize blind spots. Lego had insight into their customers being busier than ever, but instead of exploring the implications further, they assumed that customers would want less complicated products that took up less time. After a drastic drop in sales, they investigated further and realized that their customers liked feeling like they had accomplished something when using the complicated products, and simply did not feel the same way about the simple ones.