The brands and businesses that are really making a change today, foster a big idea and work relentlessly to manifest that idea in every way that’s relevant to their customers, over time. Nike is no stranger to the ad awards podium. But its success is based on a long-term brand vision. IBM’s Watson (AI) has already been signed on as a lawyer with Ross Intelligence, made movie trailers, dabbled in fashion and beaten legendary game-show contestants, but its creators note that the cognitive computing platform is “just the first step on a very, very long road.”
I think it’s too easy to think the future is always a few years off, and not realize that before you know it we’ll be living in it. Without noticing your marketing efforts fell behind. Just like that. Marketers are often seen as struggling to review the effectiveness of their campaigns. In fairness, this isn’t all their fault. It’s hard to prove a spike in sales is the result of a new ad campaign, a change of the messaging on the website, or whether it was just because of a big push by the sales team.
But digital technologies provide massive opportunities for more accurately measuring key metrics and seeing how marketing is affecting sales. Calculating the ROI is only possible when you have accurate data on what is driving traffic and conversion rates. Marketers are looking to rely less on acquisition stats and more on ROI (like any consultant would tell you). The ultimate objective of any campaign is to be able to measure ROI. If you can’t, you should be asking yourself, where did we go wrong? No technological breakthrough will come along in the next four years which will let you wave a magic wand and have your ROI calculated for you. Automation is essential for progress in the future, but it doesn’t tell a story, only the information.
The real lesson to learn is that marketing has always been and will always be about engagement. Genuine and articulated engagement. Technology has the opportunity of connecting billions of people together, but it is only an automated process that is directed by opinions and cultural norms. The days of automation are quickly coming to an end. Marketing has to be the quarterback in much of this change and adoption. Engagement will be won on the street level.
The pop up marketing movement is an excellent example of this transitional state. Pop up campaigns disrupt conventions, excite and intrigue, all while engaging with customers on a street level. Tim Horton’s, Google, and several celebrity chefs have capitalized on this unconventional limited time tactic. It may just be a fad in the marketing paradigm, or it could be the start of something new and exciting.
I guess time will tell. Here’s the to the future. Cheers.