Seven modern misconceptions of strategy
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Seven modern misconceptions of strategy

We live in a very different world from 20 years ago. That means some previously accepted – and effective – rules and models for marketing strategy are no longer relevant. Here are seven examples of strategies that have been misconceived, and that the modern marketer should avoid.

1: Campaigns should be planned as far ahead as possible

Antoine de Kermel, MD EMEA at moment marketing company TVTY, says: “Brands have historically based marketing campaigns on what they think is going to happen. When these predictions aren’t right, it leads to an inefficient use of budget. Now marketers can launch campaigns depending on exactly what is happening at a particular moment.

“Taking away the guesswork, moment marketing allows brands and marketers to launch campaigns based on specific triggers – for instance, a change in the weather, the score of a football match, or the screening of a major TV ad campaign.

“However, moment marketing should augment and not replace ‘traditional’ media planning – making marketing more effective and, ultimately, more engaging.”

Takeaway: Reach customers in the moment using multichannel platforms.

2. A fancy TV ad, radio jingle, glossy brochure – job done

Marc Swann, organic search director at Glass Digital, says: “These are no longer enough to ensure you’re targeting your customers throughout their entire purchasing journey. Social media, organic search, paid search, email marketing, affiliate marketing and mobile apps are just a few of many emerging digital channels that allow marketers to engage with their target audience at multiple touchpoints. Smart marketers will understand the importance of having an effective presence in those channels relevant to their industry and audience, and also how to attribute each channel correctly.”

Takeaway: The complexity of the customer’s purchasing journey requires a similarly smart response.

3. Disciplines in marketing should be separate

Tim Collin, VP and managing director EMEA at Marin Software, says: “Marketing departments have traditionally been split into rigid silos, with little interaction between them. Our annual industry census found more than two-thirds of digital marketing managers believe more still needs to be done to integrate different digital marketing disciplines.

“For marketers to have a complete understanding of the path to conversion, these barriers must be broken down.”

Takeaway: In a multichannel era, marketing teams work better together.

4. Use the same content on different platforms

The first TV ad – for Bulova watches – was aired in 1941. At that time, creatives didn’t know how to write for this new channel, but they had to adapt.

John Hobson, head of content at isobel, says: “Some 75 years later, we have more platforms to choose from than ever, yet our social media newsfeeds are full of repurposed TV ads. Rule is to always write and create content for the channel you’re targeting, and to think about the way in which consumers use it. There is a huge difference between how Facebook and YouTube work, and we all need to understand how and why people use these channels specifically.”

Takeaway: The more platform-appropriate your content is, the more effective it will be.

5. Grow your marketing list at all costs

Jon Cano-Lopez, CEO of REaD Group, says: “Up to the late 1980s, companies would do anything to get customers onto their marketing lists. Data collection and usage was seen as a free-for-all for those who understood the commercial value.

“Today, in the multichannel era, consumers are far savvier about protecting their data and these dodgy practices just don’t wash. The modern consumer can’t be duped by misleading consent forms with small text and confusing language. What’s more, with the new EU data protection laws right around the corner, businesses can no longer get away with producing them, either.”

Takeaway: Openness, honesty and transparency is the only way forward.

6. Launch one big campaign to target the masses

Fred Joseph, COO of mobile adtech startup S4M, says: “New technologies – such as programmatic and artificial intelligence techniques – are allowing advertisers to target potential customers on an individual basis on their mobile devices. This brings enormous potential for advertisers and agencies that embrace the technology and partner with the right experts in the field.

“But a word of warning: as an industry, we must consider this new ability to communicate with our customers in such a targeted and personalised way as a real privilege. As the mobile advertising market matures, publishers and advertisers must resist the temptation to flood their mobile endeavours with a 'spray and pray' approach.”

Takeaway: Respect your customers or they will ad-block you out of their lives. Less is more.  

7. “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don't know which half” – John Wanamaker

This famous maxim may once have held true, but wastage is no longer acceptable in the age of social media, says Olly Honess, partner at social agency Cubaka: “Although things have improved since Wanamaker’s day, wastage has generally been accepted as a norm in marketing because it's an unwritten rule that not all of the marketing budget will be put to effective use. Some say as much as £17bn a year is wasted by so-called experts.

“In the digital era, if waste is defined as delivering a carefully honed marketing message to the wrong audience, there is no longer an excuse. The sheer depth of data available through social media allows us to identify and ring-fence audiences based on interests, attitude, age, sex, location, occupation…to name but a few.”

Takeaway: This should be an age of marketing economy.

Phil Lattimore Freelance Journalist CPL
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