As Benjamin Franklin put it, change is the only real constant in life. For today’s marketer, this has never been more true. With new challenges often suddenly popping up everywhere in our constantly changing environments, we are forced from our comfort zones and into new opportunities. For it is through change that we experience growth.
What was true for Benjamin Franklin over 300 years ago remains true today. The field of marketing in particular, is one that’s ever evolving, iterating, and reforming.
We used to rely on traditional advertising methods to share information about our companies and the products or services we produce. Print ads, radio jingles, tv commercials, billboards… I can still quote many of the advertisements I grew up hearing. I’m sure you can as well! They are imprinted on our memories. They worked. But there are so many more ways that today’s consumers ingest information.
When was the last time you picked up your phone? Better yet, when was the last time you put it down? We spend a good chunk of our day browsing and swiping and clicking, as we access the information we need. As good marketers we want to be part of that. The great marketers are already there. They have embedded themselves into their targeted audience’s lives so that they can promote and sell their products.
It’s a must to know our customers and clients. In a way, the script’s been flipped; no longer are we trying to create material that appeals to as many people and situations as possible (aka, the masses). It used to be that we spent our energies trying to convince our potential clients to use our product. We wanted to inform them that it was superior to our competitor’s. Their lives would be vastly improved by using x or y or z. That still remains a goal, but the focus has shifted.
Our marketing starts and ends with our consumers’ specific needs. We are personalizing our campaigns and putting ourselves directly in our clients’ hands by meeting them where they are and giving them what they want. Our presence is in their apps, in their social media, and in their inboxes. We’re establishing a presence and then tracking the data and engagement so we can adjust our efforts. This data harvesting is what gives a strong ROI to our marketing and allows for better outcomes.
Our campaigns are becoming more economical. We’re reaching more potential customers, at a lower cost, and conversion rates are getting so much better! No longer are we limited to the local market, we can go global in just seconds.
And now for the elephant in the room – AI. No, it’s not going to make you obsolete. You are not going the way of the typewriter. You are so much more than AI! Not a robot! You’re creative and bring emotion and storytelling into your campaigns in ways that AI cannot–and will not–replicate.
AI should be harnessed as an incredible tool. Let me introduce you to your new unpaid personal secretary. It can take over all the data mining and number crunching, which frees you up to have more time to do your marketing shtick. AI can also help with generating ideas and digital assistance. (Sorry, you’ll still have to get your own coffee.)
And now for another favorite quote about change, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” The more things change, the more they stay the same.
As much as I am always adjusting to my ever-evolving daily life, the constant truths are still present. Meals need to be cooked and laundry has to be washed. Relationships need maintaining and nurturing. Dedication, integrity, and passion will always remain the foundation of a good work ethic.
The field of marketing is based on some founding principles, and those need to stay at the forefront of every strategy and advertising campaign.
We need to understand our target market. Let’s get to know the people that are most likely to want our goods and services. What do their lives look like? What drives their purchases? We want to know their ages, incomes, locations and interests. I’m a middle aged (but young at heart) mom of four who enjoys long walks and trying to replicate exotic foods in my home kitchen. Who are you?
We need to know our products and services. That means having a clear understanding of what the item or service is. It also means knowing exactly what the company is offering and how it can be valuable to customers. Finally, we have to be familiar with all the features of the product so we can best match it to the market that needs it.
We need to collect and measure data, to define and devise the metrics, and use various tools to harvest it all. That means understanding our data and proficiently measuring the success of (or lack therof) our campaigns, learning from the findings, and then adjusting accordingly.
But we are member-driven. We want to put their satisfaction first and let their needs, wants, and habits be the driving force of our efforts. We will harness the power of technology to work for us so we can better meet our goals in a more sophisticated and tailored approach that yields high results.
Marketing has always focused on matching the right products and services to the right markets and the right time. And that has NOT changed.