I’ve built my career on providing creative, strategic solutions to marketing problems. I’ve worked with small and sometimes a bit larger groups of intelligent and creative professional marketers to craft interesting and effective advertising, promotions and marketing campaigns. But it’s a whole new world out there!
Engaging with consumers and, importantly, consumer influencers from bloggers to random, but witty, social media users has changed the way marketing professionals develop and execute campaigns. From video responses to consumer Facebook posts that go viral to backpedaling on poorly thought-out tweets, the “audience” plays a much larger role in honing the final message that is delivered to them than ever before.
Harnessing that power upfront, and using it to develop the initial campaign is the too-often overlooked opportunity.
Brands have always conducted focus groups and gathered consumer input before holing up in a room to sift through information and formulate strategy. What’s different now is the opportunity to involve large groups of consumers in the creative development of marketing programs – which inevitably leads to more creative and more on-target campaigns.
The marketer’s role is changing. From “thinker-upper” of exciting and successful ideas that deliver the brand message, the 21st-century marketer needs to be the curator and collaborator with the consumer on ideas. The 21st-century marketer needs to have the contacts and the skill set to involve the consumer in the final message and delivery method.
For brands who work with moms, the fields are fertile. Mom bloggers, brand influencers, moms who visit Pinterest (a lot) and those who post on brand Facebook pages (even more) are all a treasure trove of ideas that can turn an ordinary promotion into a wow of a winner. Yet, far too many marketers who are more than willing to spend time with other creatives, spend too little time cultivating consumers.
This would be far too much old school “Mad Men”-type marketing. As much as we like the show, today’s “click away” consumer requires much more engagement at every stage of the game.
That’s why I’ve changed the way I write RFPs and present proposals to include much more of “what are your ideas?” That’s why I often answer my brand client’s Facebook messages with personal banter and reach out to consumers on my own Twitter account. That’s why I email or tweet or pick up the phone to talk to consumers. Consumer interactions, formerly relegated to accosting random purchasers in the grocery store, have now become developing personal relationships with moms who provide exciting and relevant ideas on a regular basis.
Far from making the role of the professional marketer irrelevant, the ability to take this fire hose of ideas and craft a coherent and effective message is more important than ever.