As sun sets on the horizon and curtains fall on my busy schedule, I realise that this has been another day attempting to find answers to those perennial marketing questions – How is the campaign performing? What are the new avenues to target customers? Is the messaging right? Are the vendors on track with their deliverables? Are metrics that we track really insightful? And yes, here comes another tool and technology that I need to understand and get trained.
The life of the modern marketer has become a continuous juggling spree, managing multiple aspects with adept physical and mental skill sets, while trying to remain sane in this dynamic, ever changing and confusing world. As we take time to make sense of our surroundings, things change. Are we as marketing human beings always in a catch-up mode? What are those key forces that are impacting the current marketing world? And how can we overcome the fears to tackle these forces?
There are 3 key forces that affect a marketer’s life on a daily basis. And these forces are exponentially increasing year over year, introducing more complications and probably mayhem in those tiny brain cells.
Channels (Routes leading Nowhere?)
Let’s start with the obvious one – the evolution of marketing channels. Traditionally, from 1950s to 1990s, direct selling, retail stores and physical distribution channels have been the dominant ones for sales while Print, TV and Radio for advertisements. And then in 1990s and 2000s, Internet announced its arrival in the business world. Internet gave rise to multiple channels – be it social media, online portals and marketplaces.
Some time back, I came across this excellent representation of a marketing map, depicted as London Tube by B2B Contact Marketing. With multiple channels, criss-crossing at various terminals, the design of this map itself is like a large puzzle, urging marketers to solve it.
The modern marketer’s job has evolved to understand the varied nature of these channels and study the customer behaviour for each. And here is where the second key force enters the picture.
Technologies (Robotic Tendencies?)
The proliferation of digital medium has given birth to a number of tools and technologies that proclaim to enable us, ‘poor marketers’, to do our job. However, the number of technologies, variants and the products are ever increasing, be it in Email Marketing, Social Media Monitoring, Marketing Automation, Website Tracking, Analytics, Data Management et al.
In the past 5 years, the number of marketing technologies has grown from 100 to 3800+, according to the Marketing Technology Landscape published by Scott Brinker of chiefmartec.com every year. I will not be surprised if most of us are using more tools and technologies than the number of customers we serve.
The findings of a recent survey that we, at Augentia conducted, indicate that 87% of the marketing professionals who responded were using any of the above technologies on a regular basis. In fact, more than 55% use more than 2 tools. Awareness, understanding and usage of these tools and technologies has become mandatory in today’s marketing world.
A caveat though – Do not blindly start believing what the technologies show. Heavy reliance on tools and technologies may harm the original thought process. You will need to use your analog brains along with digital data to arrive at meaningful inferences.
Data (Swim to Stay Afloat?)
Today’s pet-child of the digital world – Big Data. Volumes of data are being generated and I presume that these can cover all the 5 oceans in the world. More has been written on the Big Data than the generated data itself. Reams of paper have been filled, enough to overwhelm a space scientist, forget the mundane marketer.
Domo publishes an interesting chart every year that shows the amount of data generated within a minute. According to the latest one in 2016, Google translates 69.5 mn words, Facebook users share 216k+ photos while Amazon makes 222k+ USD sales every minute.
And to analyse such voluminous data, more tools originate [such as Data Management Platforms], creating a vicious cycle of tools and data.
Consequently, there is a high possibility of loss of focus on the priorities while swimming in the vast ocean of data. In Fluid Marketing White Paper by Augentia, we have suggested certain methods and mechanisms to manage the vast data while not losing the sight of objectives.
Two hands, Three balls, Endless Effect! (A Lifetime Performance)
Everyday, modern marketers need to juggle these three key forces while maintaining a balance and poise. However, the challenge for the modern marketer is to analyse the enormous data of complex customer behaviour, generated through various channels while leveraging contemporary tools and technologies.
Often, in an order to catch up on operational aspects, we lose the overall customer focus and spend significant time and effort spent on non-important priorities. How can we not get overwhelmed, while keep up with latest trends and still maintain our sanity?
- Divide and Rule – Adopt a divide and rule strategy. Isolate any new channel, technology or data set and understand it fully before studying the overall impact. This will narrow down the learning area and bring your undivided attention to that particular aspect.
- Keep customer at the center – The tools, data and channels – all should follow the customer. Every day, whatever you work on, be it executing multi-channel strategies, tracking buyer behaviour or measuring metrics, always ask the question – how does this relate to my target audience? Answer to this question will provide a contextual relevance to whatever you are doing.
- Have an integrated view – Even though you adopt an isolated approach to learning things, have a cohesiveness in your approach. Where does your work fit in the overall puzzle? There are multiple touch points between a business and customer and you as a marketer needs to be abreast with those.
Ahoy Marketers – simplify your life, keep customer at the core of everything and spend time in evaluating your priorities!
Do not lose sight of these key forces, juggle at your own speed, and entertain the world. Remember, we, modern marketers are all jugglers and our audience will applaud only when we effectively juggle all the 3 forces together – data, technology and channel.