Be Prepared for the Rapidly Changing Marketing Landscape
I had a colleague ask me “what challenges do you see facing marketers over the next few years”. That of course is an excellent question, one that all marketers should ponder on a regular basis.
When I answered his question, I mentioned that one of the ongoing marketing challenges is to stay true your plans despite the ebbs and flows of the technology and tactics supporting those initiatives. Upon further reflection, I decided to expand my answer in this blog post.
Marketing has always been and always will be rooted in understanding the needs of your target, and addressing those needs in a manner that is beneficial to them and consistent with your objectives. This is fundamental and will never change. What does change are the specific the tactics and tools marketers use as they execute their marketing plans.
Another fundamental element is the need to clearly understand the objective of the initiative you are undertaking, with a pre-defined set of success criteria. In other words, “if we undertake this initiative, what does success look like?” Like all other goals – this has to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, etc). It cannot be vague, such as “Increase market awareness” or “Build brand loyalty”. An example of a clearly defined objective could be: “The purpose of this e-mail campaign is to increase the incidence of repeat-purchases from the current level 24% of our online customer base to over 30%, in the next 90 days”.
So how do you best prepare yourself for the upcoming challenges as a marketer?
- Stay very current. Know what marketing tools are available for you to use to accomplish your objectives. Read blogs, join Linkedin marketing groups, and monitor your competition’s activities. Be aware: It is easy to postpone this and let the “day’s grind” consume all of your time/energy. If you do this you will quickly lose touch with trends and opportunities. Unfortunately this will compromise your effectiveness as a marketer. See Steven Covey’s Quadrant II (important, but not urgent activities).
- Know your intent. Every initiative, large or small should have a clearly defined objective before it is incorporated into your marketing plans. With this robust repertoire of tools at your disposal, it is critical you define success upfront. Don’t get caught in the allure of the latest tactic or trend without considering the objective it will serve.
- Expect failure. Embrace failed marketing endeavors as stepping stones to future success. Armed with the knowledge that failures are inevitable, make them small – and frequent. Test – measure – adjust – retest.
Keep these thoughts in mind as you craft your marketing plans so you are always prepared for the unknown but inevitable challenges that lie ahead.