Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Welcome to the era of NIMBLE MARKETING...

And so it hits me in the waiting room of the car dealership while getting my car serviced...the problem with marketing is that it is slow-moving.  Slow based on the timelines of a TV ad or a print ad.  It is a system that precludes a finite conclusion.  We set out to do this piece of marketing and then it's done.  It's about the end and not the means to an end.
The reality is that this system doesn't line up with the pace of the world.  Or the pace of the consumers living in this world. Now, I am not advocating throwing the baby out with the bath water.  What I am advocating is a dual-layered approach - one that takes into consideration long production times and another that creates its own system of nimble marketing.
Nimble marketing itself comes in two flavors:

  1. Nimble Activation: A platform that creates - in real time - new consumer engagements where they are, when they are, in the media they use.
  2. Nimble Content Creation: A platform that empowers consumers to create - in real time - their own engagements with the brand...their interpretation of their brand.  Not yours.
The reason nimbleness is so important is it accepts the reality of the playing field in how consumers really engage with brands.  They don't just sit back and accept what is being given to them, they want to be an active participant in their relationships.  As goes for human interactions - the healthy ones being built on a common understanding of mutual give and take - so goes for the human/brand interaction.  Each is allowed, encouraged even, to express their own opinion.  The biggest hurdle to this is that brands don't often own that last stage of the "one-on-one" interaction to both seal the deal and provide the comfort of a personal relationship.  (This was the awakening for Apple to close the loop of the brand experience by owning the final stage of the sale by opening up the Apple store.)
This is where the digital interaction pays huge dividends in being able to efficiently aggregate and accommodate a personal dialogue.  I, get to profess my love for the brand.  I, get to vent about a problem I had with the brand.  I, get to engage with other lovers of the brand so WE can have a mutual admiration society for our greater intelligence and better taste BECAUSE we are brand lovers.  I, get to hear from the representatives of the brand to fix my disappointment and turn it into delight.  Now, the solution is not always a digital engagement that will function as a proxy for a personal relationship.  Sometimes it is a personal phone call or an invitation to a special event, anything that makes me feel special again for choosing you instead of another to be a part of my life.

So the reality of a brand today is to build into their marketing plans an interwoven platform (one that blends long-term projects and one that creates a real-time feedback loop on continuous dialogue between consumer and brand) that empowers the pursuit of a personal relationship by accepting the nimble nature of consumers by being nimble themselves.

My question then is this: What part of your marketing platform is nimble?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

So I took a hiatus...

It's been over a year since my last post which pretty much coincides with my time at a digital agency.
First, no hard feelings.
Second, my hunch was is the future.
Third, digital is the future IF creatively well executed around a big idea.

So here's my evolution on the definition of marketing:

Marketing is about masterminding one huge ripple effect of feedback loops where one brand interaction MUST lead to another and another...intentionally.

Marketing has gone from 8-track to 7.1-THX-certified-surround-sound-3D-smellavision.  The marketing paradigm is shaping to be a chaotic mass of traditional marketing, shopper marketing, social marketing, guerilla marketing, word-of-mouth marketing, mobile marketing in need of the simplicity and clarity of a tight, elegant and inspiring strategic idea.

We have an unlimited universe of media and tools to bring a brand to life – to seduce and engage consumers, shoppers, buyers, tweeters, facebookers, bloggers, mashers, artists, teens, tweens, moms, HCMs, blue collar and white collar dads, young and old singles, brand evangelists…by tapping into their passions with the power of big ideas, attracting them with amazing design, inspiring them with a compelling and evolving product/brand story and engaging them with ongoing relevant social currency to keep them coming back for more.

So new rules about what I believe in.
I believe in...
  1. Integrated. A successful brand integrates across all thouchpoints.  So think laterally.
  2. Choicefulness. Activation across all touchpoints is a choicefull strategic process. So figure out first what EMOTION you are REALLY SELLING.
  3. Emotion as driver. Form follows function follows feeling.  So start your project with the feeling you wish to evoke.
  4. A new reality. Digital/mobile has become the glue that connects the engagement points of a big idea.  So figure out how one interaction builds on AND feeds the next and the next.
  5. A feeling. A big stonking idea is a feeling you get in your belly.  So listen to your gut.
  6. Creative in, creative out. The more creative the research and approach to a business problem, the greater the creative output.  So think first, do second.
  7. Looking elsewhere. If you are looking in the same place everybody else is, expect vanilla strategy.  So start from scratch EVERY TIME knowing that each business problem is ALWAYS different than the last.  
  8. Knowing the differences. Understanding consumers is to differentiate what they say from what they think from what they do from what they don’t do.  So figure out where along their journey they opt out from fully engaging with your brand... and fix it.
  9. Strategy and tactics. To create a great strategy is to validate against great tactics, big ideas need both to work.  So stress test the big idea AND the execution against both sides of the marketing brain.
  10. Being right. It’s about being at the right place at the right time with the right message in the right media for the right target.  So make it everyone's job to be a Connections Planner.
  11. A beginning. A brand is built from the shelf out (off- and on-line).  So look at the world from the vantage point of the packaging at shelf.
  12. The experience. A brand is how we feel about it based on how we experience it.  So create theater, theater, theater...
  13. Sensuality. We shop with our senses first, our minds second.  So leverage more than one sense to bring your brand to life.
  14. Two kinds. There are inspiration shoppers and mission shoppers.  So create for both sides of the brain.
  15. Favorite wins. We buy our favorite brand over the best brand. So make it your mission to always make them fall in love.
So my question is: are we overcomplicating the overcomplicated?  Are these rules simple enough to create simplicity?