Marketing planning has changed little in the past century. It's essentially a linear process built on the development of rigid 12-month plans built around brand and channel metrics. This approach is coming increasingly under strain as the combined effects of the growth of digital marketing platforms and a volatile economy demand marketing plans that deliver clear business outcomes and can adapt and improve to meet evolving market dynamics.
Over the past 12-18 months, we have come across several marketing organizations that have decided to do something about this situation and look for new ways to improve their approach to marketing planning by adopting some principles borrowed from a relatively new methodology originally conceived for software development efforts: agile development.
From the interviews that we did with marketers that are experimenting with this new approach, several of the key principles of "agile" development looked particularly relevant to innovating their approach to marketing planning:
A clear definition of business outcomes and associated business metrics
Would you classify your marketing organization as "highly accountable"? What I mean is, are you always able to accurately measure the true business value of your marketing efforts, and do your senior leaders trust the results? If you're like most marketers, the honest answer to that question is a resounding "no". Proving the business value of multichannel marketing is getting progressively harder—and more important—because:
Traditional marketing measurement practices are rooted in stable but inflexible tactics that leave marketers ill-equipped to keep pace with the real time nature of channel digitization.
CFOs wield ever-more influence over marketing budgets, which is driving your CMO to lean harder on you to measure business results with scientific rigor.
Your customers are in control; uncertainty and unpredictability are the norm; and marketers that can't adapt appropriately are doomed to fail.
This is where you come in. I believe that Customer Intelligence professionals are remarkably well positioned to address these challenges head on, and improve marketing accountability across the enterprise. Why? Because you sit at the cross-section of unfettered access to mountains of customer data from a dizzying array of online and offline sources. "Big data" as the recent article data, data, everywhere in The Economist puts it, is big business. CI professionals are right in the middle of it all helping firms capture customer data, analyze it, measure business results, and act upon the findings.
Nick Johnson the VP of Multimedia Sales for NBC Universal shared some great data and lessons learned from NBC's "ownership" of the Beijing Olympics.
He called the Olympics a cultural phenomenon -- and for more reasons than their presence in China and all of the political hullaballoo that brought about. From a media perspective, the games brought about significant behavior change among American consumers:
76% stayed up late to watch events 48% changed their routine in order to watch events when they were on 36% delayed doing things in order to watch events
On top of the high volume of television watchers: 56 million unique users came to NBC's site to watch events, get content, see replays NBC saw 12.3 million video downloads, AND it saw 16.4 million unique mobile users
Johnson's conclusions from the research NBC conducted following the Olympics:
1) Television can still be king. The Olympics were hugely successful at driving a mass audience for NBC
I got an email last week from a marketing firm that was different than most of the briefing requests I get. This firm, Milk Media, partners with dairies to place branded advertisements on the back of the individual-sized milk cartons served at lunch time in schools around the country.
Interesting to me, is that the email (see below) calls out how similar companies have been chastised by the FTC for marketing to kids in a controlled environment. Milk Media, it claims, is an a-ok marketing environment because milk promotes a healthy lifestyle.
I wanted to take just a moment of your time to introduce you to MilkMediaand their unique niche marketing with Milk Rocks!
Mark Taylor followed Jaap by discussing a new take on Wunderman's long-term strategic approach to relationship marketing. Specifically, he mentioned marketers must acknowledge the shift to "The age of influence marketing" by embracing two new channels:
1) The Channel of Me and 2) The Channel of Us
Both channels actually leverage the *consumer* as a marketing vehicle as well as as a target audience.
Greetings from Forrester's EMEA consumer and finance forums in Barcelona! We've just finished the first two speakers of the event: Forrester's VP and Research Director, Jaap Favier and Wunderman's Chief Marketing Technologist Officer, Mark Taylor.
The presentations were an excellent introductions to the themes for both the consumer and the finance tracks: Share Your Brand (for the consumer track) and Beating the Competition With Superior Customer Experience (for the financial track).
Jaap had a few particular soundbites which I thought really crystalized the current state of marketers today, and also the changes they need to make in order to accommodate the growing influence of user generated content and virtual communities.