We are a society that measures everything we do, and size truly does matter.
Last week saw the release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. It’s BIGGER, faster, and the screen might even be stronger. Apple sold 10 million of these bad boys in three days. If the iPhone came out with the new software but in the same size as its predecessors, everyone would have been disappointed. The truth is, simply put, we like ‘em BIG (our phones, of course).
Speaking of size, I remember when this whole industry was less than $1 billion in ad spend. As a matter of fact, I remember when this whole industry was less than $100 million in total ad spend. According to a recent stat I saw from eMarketer, digital ad spend is positioned to overtake TV in 2018. Even more shocking, mobile ad spend is positioned to overtake desktop in 2016.
In advertising, size matters, too. For years we debated whether digital should (or did) have a seat at the BIG boy table for strategy, but we are quickly shifting to a state where digital actually sets the strategy for most brands as they shift to become customer-centric and data-driven. There’s no better demonstration of that fact than simply looking at those numbers, and they sure are BIG!
The tipping point for this business is literally right now, focused on accountability and revenue. We are literally witnessing the evolution of digital from cost center to BIG business driver, and the next two to three years are when most of the trends and hot-button issues facing our business resolve into a single, cohesive strategy. The BIGgest elements of this are:
Being data-driven means identifying signals for both audience and performance and leveraging them to create efficiency and drive higher ROI. Being customer-centric means organizing your process, communications and teams to structure around the needs of your customer and the ongoing loop of feedback they provide. Addressability is a function of outbound efficiency, and accountability means limiting wasted efforts against non-potential target audiences. Attribution is synonymous with analysis and means providing a weighted value to every interaction with the audience driving them down the path toward becoming a customer. Marketing Technology is the tool that can unite all of these functions outlined above into a single, streamlined system. And for all this to work, you need scale, so you need to create an enterprise that goes BIG.
It’s a great time to be in marketing, if you like solving these kinds of challenges. It’s an amazing time to be a marketer, if you like math and doing things in all-new ways. There’s a BIG set of challenges, identified by some BIG trends, and solving them requires time, leadership and dedication to making it work. Leaders should empower their teams and to allow for mistakes or mis-steps along the way. It’s impossible to expect perfection in systems that have never been integrated previously, and in a category that is still being defined. So while expectations are high, the opportunity for success is just as BIG if you are patient.
Where are you on your journey, in your own company, with the team you have? Are you tackling these kinds of issues, or are you putting them off till later? Are you starting to do your homework, or are you afraid to make a BIG mistake? If you wait too long, I think that’s exactly what you might be making: a BIG mistake.