Key #8 of 10 to Inspiring Action: 10 Keys to the Future of Marketing. Download our summary poster of the 10 Keys here.
I led a brainstorm with a new client just the other day.
Their list of “growth blocks” was so like what other marketers have said, I thought I’d share them with you (and let you in on a powerful solution):
“We have the goods, but we don’t connect with the audience as well as we should,” admitted the COO, who had previously been the CMO.
“Seems like there are two kinds of creative people — those that understand the product and those that are great at talking to the audience. Unfortunately, we’re having a lot of trouble finding the overlap,” said the marketing director, still working through the grief of the recently ended agency relationship.
The internal creative director continued: “Most people don’t define creative excellence the way we do either. To us, it’s all about results first, and yes, being true to our brand. But that doesn’t seem to inspire or hold the attention of the best creative people. Plus, how do you literally put two messages into one communication. Isn’t that going to hurt results? I’m confused …”
Prioritize Creative Excellence.
What works better for growing a brand and business: great creative or powerful sales activation?
Here’s an intensive analysis of all 700 cases in the files of London’s respected Institute for Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), which found that companies with both outperformed those with either by a wide margin.
In fact, they found the two most important factors for success were advertising spend and creative excellence (as measured by, believe it or not, awards). Of those two most important factors, creative excellence even edged out size of budget as the most important factor.
In an increasingly crowded marketing landscape, great brands win. Great brands are built by great experiences, amplified by communications that move people powerfully. Smart marketing organizations are full of great strategists and brimming with great strategies ready to be tried. Most simply fail to be executed with great, on-strategy creative.
Connecting great marketing to winning creative isn’t easy, which is why it’s not normal either. Getting two very different tribes to work together to transcend the ordinary takes specific values and skills. Check out my Inspiring Action in Creative Teams: Seven Strategies for Prioritizing Creative Excellence.
-Mark DiMassimo, Chief
Key #7 of 10 to Inspiring Action: 10 Keys to the Future of Marketing. Download our summary poster of the 10 Keys here.
One of the best things about doing my Inspiring Action Interviews has been the opportunity to have deep conversations with several of my most successful clients.
These are the CMOs that CEOs worship – marketers who have been highly successful again and again.
A common theme came up as we talked about the formative experiences we’d shared.
“Since that time I’ve been what you’d call a Brand Direct marketer.” – Ty Shay, CMO LifeLock
“That methodology has become the methodology I’ve applied ever since.” – Leslie Dukker Doty, CMO the Reader’s Digest Association
I first wrote about “brand direct” publicly almost twenty years ago. Since then the direct economy has taken over our lives, and just about every industry has been disrupted by it. This has mostly been a very good thing for me, as our clients over the past two decades have been doing more than their share of the disrupting.
Drowning in data, today’s marketers cry out for coherence. Even with programmatic trading desks, dashboards and optimizations, incremental improvements are only detectible to sophisticated machines.
Significant, meaningful, ongoing improvements in marketing efficiency are still possible, however. They simply require more than mere visual and verbal consistency.
The answer begins with a journey of discovery. The path of that journey is the customer journey itself. Together, we learn to see things from the customer’s point of view, from the prospect’s perspective. We uncover the insight – the inspiring idea – that will change and organize everything.
Then, together, we mine that inspiring idea to accelerate growth by up to ten times. Of course, this also dramatically alters the marketer’s journey!
Let’s alter your journey too!
-Mark DiMassimo, Chief
Key #6 of 10 to Inspiring Action: 10 Keys to the Future of Marketing. Download our summary poster of the 10 Keys here.
One of my clients once told me about The Wall.
“The Wall” is what she called it.
“I’m squeezing my brain, my team, my budget and every hour of the day to build this thing, while all around us there are new services gaining market share with little or no advertising.
“My product is dated and it shows – yet I’m in my marketing silo and don’t have the power to change it.
“I know total marketing success requires a product that does a better job of selling itself, but what do I do without the power and the tools to make that happen?”
I told her that she wasn’t the only marketer facing The Wall. Yesterday, the best marketer with the deepest pockets won. Today, everyone is a click away from customer comments and reviews. That means the best customer experience wins.
Fortunately for my client and others like her, customer experience isn’t just about function. It’s not even primarily about function. It’s more about emotion and meaning. Which means that marketing is as much a part of a winning product as the product itself is.
My new client and I determined to work with our teams to do two things:
1) We would determine the emotional meaning of her brand.
2) We would use every lever, every touchpoint, to enhance that meaning.
We remade the aspects of customer experience that she could influence. And then we measured the results.
Based on those results, my client quickly developed the reputation of a “fixer” in her company. She was given responsibility for overseeing the website – effectively the core delivery of the product – in addition to marketing. Extending our insight about the emotional meaning of the brand deep into the customer journey yielded still greater incremental results.
Today, my client can work just about anywhere. Fortunately for us, she’s extremely happy and highly valued right where she is.
Key #5 of 10 to Inspiring Action: 10 Keys to the Future of Marketing. Download our summary poster of the 10 Keys here.
Imagine you’re marketing a limo service and you get Uber’d.
Or you’re trying to put travelers in hotel beds and you get Airbnb’d. You run a car dealership and you get Tesla’d. You’re a travel agent, a financial advisor, sell insurance, or – heaven forfend – you publish the yellow pages!…
I know real people in these situations, and I can tell you this about every one of them:
They never saw it coming!
But Nike saw it coming. Starting with their own brand story, they got ahead of change. Nike didn’t see themselves as an athletic shoe company – they saw themselves as a company that inspires athletes. While other athletic wear companies may have seen the coming age of wearable computing as irrelevant, Nike saw it as an opportunity to inspire. In creating Nike Plus, they got ahead of the curve and developed a way to get to know their customers like never before.
You don’t have to BE a new economy business to WIN in the new economy. You just need an inspiring idea that guides you, and you need to be able to connect that idea to better experiences for your customers. American Express (founded 1850) has done it, reinventing the core of their customer relationships many times over. JetBlue (founded 1998) has done it. Apple (founded 1976) is most certainly doing it.
We call these companies Inspiring Action brands. They share a common point of view. They see things with their customers’ eyes. They know what the people they serve aspire to be and do. They know what their devotees love about themselves with them. They’ve mapped the customer journey and have found ways to intercept and change behavior.
You are what they do.
Your audience is just people trying to inspire action in themselves. If your service works better, you win.
Think Outside In. It’s really that simple and that challenging. Understand your inspiring idea from your customer’s point of view. Map the journey and work out effective ways to change behavior and create new habits.