Giving marketing a rebrand- step 2

Last week’s post on giving marketing a rebrand coincided with a piece on a similar theme in Marketing Week and was picked up and included in their Storify.

I suggested that there are three steps marketers can take to raise their profile, credibility and effectiveness. Step 1 called on them to Fight The Fluff.

English: Oriental Magpie Robin മലയാളം: മണ്ണാത്...

Image via Wikipedia

In Step 2, I’m suggesting that marketers should Manage the Magpie.Some are afflicted by the desire for the latest shiny new thing, whether it’s the latest technology gadget, social media platform or marketing technique. With advances in technology disrupting many traditional business models, there’s no doubt it’s an incredibly exciting time to be in business, never mind marketing.

Yet for many, this excitement causes a common sense bypass! Some are blinded by the brightness of the new thing, whilst others jump onto the ‘me too’ bandwagon to seek the reassurance that if other/bigger/more interesting brands are doing something, so should we.

Expectations and excitement skyrocket as early successes from case studies (most likely from outside your sector and country, but don’t let details like that get in the way) start to emerge as ‘proof’ that the cynical doubters are wrong. But of course what goes up must come down and when the glitter fades and the post-hysteria hangover kicks in, you wake up in what Gartner call the ‘trough of disillusionment’.

Which is why, more than ever before, marketers need to be better at managing the magpie within themselves and others. They should make a focused, objective and dispassionate assessment before leaping in. Yes be curious. Absolutely be alert to changing trends. But always be asking ‘how will this improve the customer experience’.

To put an objective structure around your thinking, try the following

  1. build an informal, cross-functional group from sales, marketing and operations so that you can draw upon the wider experience in the business when a shiny new thing comes along
  2. get them to help you define at least three ways in which it will measurably improve the customer experience.
  3. the harder you find this, the easier the decision not to jump on

Do you look before you leap onto the latest shiny new bandwagon? How do you decide which new technologies to adopt and at what speed? Or maybe you work for a magpie and have some coping mechanisms to share here?

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5 thoughts on “Giving marketing a rebrand- step 2

  1. Thomas Brown (@ThinkStuff)

    Interesting turn of phrase Steve. I agree in part, at least, with the thrust of what you’re saying, but as with most things these days, it comes down to findings the right balance.

    Take social media as an example; CIM’s latest #SMBenchmark research shows many marketers are spending increasing amounts of time and money on social without really knowing why or how to evaluate success. The magpie theory might suggest that such profligate spending damages credibility and is at risk of becoming unsustainable as budget pressures continue throughout 2012.

    On the other hand, if no-one is experimenting, how will we learn? The role of social media as a business tool (and in B2B in particular) is still somewhat nascent. Think back to the early days of TV… if it weren’t for the CPG powerhouses spending and testing, we wouldn’t have developed the investment and measurement models now customary in many businesses.

    So in short, it’s back to balance. By all means, manage the magpie… your three steps are spot on. But I’d also suggest a fourth… ring fence xx% of spend around social (our current example) and call it R&D. Promise no financial returns, but promise answers. Label activities ‘feasibility studies’ rather than ‘campaigns’. Still involve cross-functional teams, but be clear on focus. And report on EVERYTHING, to EVERYONE who needs to hear it, in language they will understand. As a result, you’ll be working to clearer expectations, you’ll have an incubator for future marketing initiatives and, positively, you’ll help raise the credibility of marketers as forward thinking but grounded professionals.

    Thomas Brown | Head of Insights, CIM
    @ThinkStuff

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Giving marketing a rebrand- step 3 | Steve Revill

  3. Steve Revill Post author

    @Thomas You make a number of excellent and highly practical points, thank you. I am not advocating for one second that we stop experimenting, so totally welcome your ringfenced budget suggestion. I’d also add that XX% of a marketer’s TIME should be ringfenced- it also has a scarcity value.

    @Andrew It will be certainly be interesting to see how this plays out, but businesses of all sizes would benefit from the test and learn approach which Thomas advocates.

    Reply
  4. Pingback: How To Do Marketing | small business magazine, small business ideas, work from home ideas

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