There is a lot of talk about big data these days: How do you possibly store, manage and derive intelligence from the flood of transient data and sources, online, offline and market level data? Big data is a new way of exposing flaws in how marketers make campaign, program, brand, market and financial decisions.
We are a product of our own success. The industry has masked scale problems and hidden behind terms like “attribution” or “optimization.” The challenge is, we have the same amount of resources we had last year, and while technology has advanced and everyone’s in the cloud (or their heads are), decisions have not gotten easier to make. It’s not about big data, or the cloud, or even analytics, it’s about making decisions faster.
Consumers and businesses are transforming how they consume information, what they expect from brands and a protocol of connectivity to a brand. The marketing and advertising functions need to transform, but true transformation isn’t about solving problems, it’s about redefining the problems.
So, what is the real problem? Velocity!! How do you slow down enough to go fast? The old cliché of “fail faster” is true, but I always presumed that meant you didn’t know what to fail at in the first place. I prefer the phrase. “Be smarter in how you fail.”
Enter the new age: Connecting departments, connecting channels, democratizing decisions and maintaining a culture of rapid decisioning. Is it about tools? YES! Is it about richer analytics? YES. Is it about infusing a new speed and accountability in your partner organizations that provide services to you today (call that the supply chain)? Yes.
I think of the future through several lenses:
Performance marketers live large? You get paid for results, period! In order to do this, you must have several things in place. For one, you must have the ability to track what’s important -- not everything, but what is critical to making decisions. You must be able to control to some extent the consumer experience. If you feel like a victim of another channel, remember point one -- you get paid for results, so negotiate your success. You must have the ability to optimize and streamline things that work, which brings in a new discipline of interpreting insights from a variety of forms. You must be able to reconcile every last action/expense from a financial standpoint. Think eCPM, not CPM, think customer lifetime value, not conversion.
Democratize decisioning! Democratization doesn’t mean everyone gets a decision, it simply means there are levels in the company that own decision rights for different decisions. You must enable similar decisions to be made in similar ways (governed), but with the creativity of an open market. Some marketing organizations are set up better to isolate decisions internally, but at the speed this market is changing, democratization will have to extend to your supply chain (partners, vendors, agencies).
If you believe that transformation comes from redefining the problem, then my response to an article like this is: Your problem is not how to match all the shifting consumer trends and new forms/volumes of data, it is how do I apply decisioning throughout my organization in a coordinated fashion.
I recall a great quote from years ago, “Pray that success will not come any faster than you can endure it” -- Elbert Hubbard. We are at a point where we don’t know where all our money is spent, it takes too much time to get things done, we have too many partners and we have too much information to make sense of. This puts us on the defensive, and the last thing you want in a marketing organization is someone in defense mode. Be a coordinator of decisions!