Beyond The Marketing Arms Race
Over the past 10 years, there has been a veritable arms race in marketing technologies. But is it really giving you a competitive advantage? A dazzling array of capabilities have emerged in four distinct classes that promise to make marketing more scientific, efficient and profitable, unlocking the holy grail of loyalty and ROI:
Digital: First it was email, SEO/SEM and blogging tools such as Hubspot, Blogger and Wordpress. Now, content aggregation tools like Curata and Paper.li allow companies to become publishers, sell ads and measure response rates.
Social: Hootsuite, Twitdeck and other social media monitoring and distribution tools let any company monitor, react in real time, and engage influencers and followers on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Mobile: Mobile advertising platforms such as Voltari give marketers the ability to precisely profile users by device, location and buying history to present geo-targeted and real-time offers.
Data, Analytics & Control: Inform.ly, Marketo and other data-mining and integrated campaign-management platforms help extract ever-more detailed audience profiles from all the above touch points to coordinate and target campaigns and messages as buyers move through the sales funnel.
This arms race promises to give marketers the unprecedented ability to put the perfect offer in front of the perfect person at the perfect time on the perfect device or interface.
There’s just one problem: EVERYONE has access to the same tools and tactics. The technology itself has given everyone the same advantage, which means no one has an advantage at all. And with everyone possessing such enhanced communications firepower, we've created a marketplace so filled with noise that audiences are naturally driven to tune out. Or worse – leave – as soon as another company with a better data or price-driven offer comes along.
So how can marketers leverage the power of these technologies with real and lasting competitive advantage? The answer lies in deploying them upon two foundational elements: (1) a brand that stands for something greater than your product or service… something the buyer can connect with emotionally and that is a reflection of them as much as your company; and (2) an operational culture that is aligned with that brand, where everyone lives the brands values and displays them in every interaction with every audience, be it customers, prospects, partners or employees.
Then and only then will marketers realize the full potential of these marketing technologies: not simply to create a one-time transaction but to strengthen and remind audiences of the bonds that connect them… and to ward off the attempts of others to breaks those bonds with a one-time transaction.