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Marketing in a Time of Constant Change

If it feels like the marketing industry is speeding up, you’re right. The platforms, technologies and techniques we have at our disposal morph and multiply each week. And consumer behavior seems to shift just as frequently. Here are some fun stats:

  • 46% of marketers believe people’s increasing intolerance of ads is a key barrier. But while targeting promises improved results, increased regulation around privacy will make that more difficult to do.
  • Amazon’s ad revenue more than doubled year-over-year in Q2 2018 to top $2.2 billion. Some brands are now working directly with Amazon via its internal Amazon Media Group.
  • In Gartner’s latest Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, Augmented Reality, Connected Home and Blockchain have already entered the dreaded Trough of Disillusionment - that zone where technologies have not (yet) lived up to their media hype. Gartner expects these technologies to mature in 5-10 years. Many of us had barely had time to ponder how to deploy such technologies, but now they’re already old news.
  • According to Gartner, “following three consecutive years of growth, marketing budget growth has stalled, slipping from its peak of 12.1% of company revenue in 2016 to 11.3% in 2017.” So despite all the new tech out there, budgets may hold us back.

Where Do I Begin?

Well, you could refer to articles hyping the top 41 top digital marketing tools. Or was it the top 8? Or 63? Or 24? Or maybe not.

It pays to think about your marketing efforts in two distinct ways - short-term optimization and long-term brand building.

Both are critical, but each has its own challenges in this current market. Because the goal is always the same - to accelerate growth.

Short-term Optimization

There are a few key ways to optimize correctly:

  • Audits - Look to unbiased third-party support to audit your channels and implement best practices. This will also help you get your data integrity squared away for improved reporting.
  • Synched Channels - Maximize the value of your marketing assets by ensuring they are best expressed across all channels.
  • Innovation Budget - You don’t have to worry about moving entire budgets toward unproven technologies. Instead, top marketers often carve a portion of their budgets out to experiment with new ad platforms, content types and other efforts. This allows them to be more adaptable to change, stay on top of trends, and encourage creativity.

Long-term Brand Building

When you get caught up in making our monthly (weekly/daily/hourly) numbers, you can lose sight of larger goals, namely to build your brand for the long term. The key here is investing in an integrated strategy grounded in deep consumer insights to guide ongoing campaigns and creative. That way, you’ll have a much stronger sense of who to target, where, when, and with what messages. And this also has major implications for product development and brand innovation.

We’ll explore this concept further in a future post. Stay tuned!

Take a Breath and Don’t Panic

With all this in mind, it’s important to remember that much of the hype around marketing today is just that - hype. Technology may evolve, but the fundamentals stay the same - it’s our job as marketers to understand and address customer needs in compelling ways. Keep that mantra in mind as you navigate this ever-changing marketing landscape.

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Michael Kwolek

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