Future of Marketplace Complexity
Marketers say, “you had me at hello” when the conversation is about complexity in the marketplace. No one doubts that there is more diversity among consumers, more fragmentation in media consumption behavior, more marketing choices and more ways to buy. And, no one doubts that the pace of change is accelerating.
How has the media industry responded? Publishers are busy scrambling to find business models that work. Agencies and brands divided their attention, but they didn’t conquer. On the digital side, agencies and brands make mad dashes from one popular site de jour to the next and embrace a “test and learn” approach. Yet, on the traditional media side, they remain rooted in the long, slow march of annual planning.
Does anyone still honestly doubt that on-line and off-line media work together to influence consumers’ purchase decisions? That today’s silo-ed, opinion-driven, marketing planning is disconnected, disjointed and dysfunctional? That because the market is moving more rapidly, marketing plans needed to be updated more frequently? Or, that marketing could be more effective and more efficient if data were somehow used to inform all marketing decision-making?
That’s easier said than done. There are all kinds of data, including digital advertising data, social media data, mobile data, tagging data, clickstream data, customer data, CRM data, marketing automation data, media planning data, market data, demographic data, point-of-purchase data, market research data, and more. We even have Big Data, which may be all of the above or none of it – no one really seems to know.
Over the past few years, many ways to collect, store, report on and visualize data have been developed and proven. Most give us looks in a rearview mirror – they tell us what already happened in a small part of the world. But, despite increasing demands for accountability, we rarely use data to look ahead to see, via broad or narrow views, where we should go. Simple historical reports with counts and averages by tactic and for all the customers in the database, even if they are presented in a whiz-bang dashboard, may be easy to understand; help make the next campaign a little more efficient; or prepare metrics for the next monthly report, but they don’t supply the information decision-makers really need in today’s complex world, much less tomorrow’s.
It is possible now to employ an agile, objective, cross-channel marketing planning process that uses the readily available data and new types of advanced analytics to provide the forward-looking information marketers need to develop an effective and efficient annual marketing plan that spans all consumer groups, all types of marketing, and all channels, and to adjust that plan throughout the year as the market changes – even if doing so means going outside our collective comfort zone. Because the market has changed and continues to change, and because data is the new currency of the realm, the media industry must embrace data and technology not only to improve tactical efficiency but also to inform marketing strategy.
Mark Battaglia, CEO of ThinkVine, Inc.