To respect the privacy of attendees, I will not name names. The marketers at my table have been an inspiration. Ready to share, learn and confront the issues. A heartfelt thank you goes to them for providing so much food for thought.
Of course, you are welcome to continue the conversation here.
[with Francois Gossieaux]
What are some of the challenges marketers face outside their organizations?
Each of these terms brings with it a set of assumptions that alone make it challenging. What is innovation and how do you innovate? Mixing two unrelated ideas to get a third one. Going outside your industry, something I have been able to do on several occasions having had the opportunity to work in them.
Your brand is a byproduct of your passion for the business, the process of customer education on why and how they should appreciate your products and service and the creation of an experience that is memorable. It has to be earned every day.
Technology adds a layer of complexity. (1) Every marketer is best served learning about what customers are using to be where they are. (2) Technology is enabling talk back. We discussed at our table how people always did tell their family and friends about their poor experiences. Now they can tell the world in minutes -- and they will. A very good point made was how unprepared companies are to interact. Why start a Facebook profile or group without giving people something to do? Why not be proactive to create interaction?
Under the deluge of marketing messages, consumers have learned to push back -- they are turning to each other and third party information on the Internet for advice and referrals. The old ways of intercept, inhibit and isolate do not work anymore. These three “i”s, as John Hagel calls them, do not work. Instead, he says, you need to focus on ways to attract, assist and affiliate. In other words, you need to put the custumer at the center.
Go where your audiences are. The platform doesn't need to be your own, it can be someone else's. You need to be passionate and engaging.
What are some of the obstacles marketers are facing inside their organizations?
- Budgets constraints
- Time vs urgency -- results are expected immediately
- Balancing the long term growth with the short term gain
- Being willing to invest in small things
- Company culture when it comes time to implement
- Comfort level with old habits
- Fear of failure
- Lack of financial fluency
- Ability of the marketing department to communicate
Budget constraints are prompting me to rethink the whole marketing strategy. As Francois Gossieaux alluded to in a comment to yesterday’s post, marketing needs to be baked in the DNA of the company and not simply be the afterthought, how we do promotions or chase customers. We need to do that because what we’ve got may not be what customers want. It’s first about products and services people want.
Many marketers nodded when we discussed how time vs urgency and expectation of fast results does not compute. It takes a certain amount of time to get an integrated campaign going. In many long term growth opportunities a campaign needs a beginning, a substantial middle (including customer interaction), and a next phase that builds on the current one. If we are indeed to talk about conversation, a blitz may become a mere blip on customers’ radar. How do we create momentum and sustain it?
Part of it is being willing to invest in small things to get to the big things faster. Test an idea, shed that fear of failure, and see if it works. Fail fast, fail often, fail in small things. And you will learn to get it right for the big initiatives.
Changing the company culture when it comes time to implement innovative ideas is a big issue. People tend to slip back into their comfort zone, what worked in the past.
Many of the issues above can be helped if marketers learn to speak the financial language of senior leaders and do a better job at educating and communicating with the organization.
What other external challenges and internal obstacles do you see?