Why brands consider a new Marketing Communications approach.

Those who know me or read an article on this blog before, know I’m not really a fan of traditional marketing. My reasoning behind it is that “traditional marketing” is often narrowed down to promotional bullshit or advertising. That’s not how it works. And I don’t see any future for advertising as we know it today. Not even for the hot & trendy “native advertising”. I’m a firm believer in marketing as a value creator. Bullshit has hardly any value, unless we’re talking green fields here. But marketing can only create value if it starts thinking in a different manner. My Point-of-view here is that technology might help in transforming your marketing communication but that, on the other hand, you need to understand “why” so to avoid the “fool with a tool” effect. I had the chance to detail this through a seminar talk recently and I want to share that slideshare with you. You can find it below. Hope you enjoy it.

How CMS helps to change marketing communication because the world, the consumer & consequently business and marketing changed.

Marketing Trend 2014 (& way beyond): Back 2 Basics.

It’s that time of the year again. End of year is always a good time to look back. But more importantly, it’s a moment to look ahead. That’s what most of the trend reports do. They predict what’s going to “trend” in the upcoming year. And that’s exactly my biggest issue with trend reports.

Trends are not limited to a small time span of one year. So basically, all trend reports are talking about what’s going to “hype” in the upcoming year. That’s a shame. Because a hype is not structural. A hype is not significant. A hype can project a wrong image. It can be torn apart from the deeper parameters that are the rationale behind a trend. And yeah, marketers just love jumping onto hypes – for better or for worse.

Back to Basics Marketing: 2014 – 2020

I’m not willing to look cocky here but since a couple of years now, one can notice marketers who drastically alter the way they think, see and do marketing. What’s more important, they’re being successful while doing so. It’s my personal believe – and hope, if I may be that naïve – that as from 2014 this way of thinking, seeing and executing marketing will become dominant.

Back to Basics Marketing has an in-depth rooted hate towards the artificial distinction of Digital Marketing vs Analog Marketing. It doesn’t really matter what media holds the content. The medium is not the message. Marshall McLuhan was wrong. Oh wait, he was right when he coincided the phrase. Today’s media evolutions prove that he’s wrong.

Back 2 Basics Marketing

In practice, back to basics comes down to the fact that “content marketing” is “media agnostic” – it can be online, social, print or face-2-face. The real question is who your target community is and what’s the best way to reach out to them. There’s e.g. less clutter in print marketing today. It means an opportunity for your business to get noticed. Is going back to “older, traditional” marketing matter the true meaning of “back 2 basics marketing”? No it’s not.

Back 2 Basics Marketing is not so much about going back to adult media

Back 2 Basics Marketing goes way back in time. Back 2 Basics Marketing deploys the tactics that were valid in the age of the cavemen. Those are still very powerful today because we all still have cavemen brains.

Throughout mankind’s evolution and consequently the evolution of communication media, marketing altered those tactics in favor of quick wins though. But as evolution continues, those quick wins disappear. The very essence becomes more important.

Back 2 Basics Marketing

Back 2 Basics Marketing

The essence of Back 2 Basics Marketing

To describe characteristics of Back 2 Basics Marketing, one can look at how “Marketing” worked in the age of the cavemen. Let’s dig a little deeper into that.

Cavemen initially had no media except for their own voice. Speech was important. It was the manner to transmit information from one to another. This not rarely occurred in “community gathering” fashion, to know, gathered around a fire.

It was the perfect moment to inform people about specific skills, knowledge and expertise another community-member possessed. The way information was transmitted was mainly through telling stories. Stories are easier to remember, pass through, etc. than e.g. bulleted lists.

Furthermore, discussing one’s “business” ( = something he could provide to the community) in a public forum (the fire) resulted in a strong focus on delivering quality and servicing customers. Successful cavemen entrepreneurs made sure their quality & service was endorsed over and over again by customers around the fireplace. Today we call that customer advocacy & ambassadorship.

Finally, because of the above context, there was no single cavemen offering “crap” to the market. Crap couldn’t survive very long. All products and services had value that exceeded the pure financial one. Crappy products, services (and hence brands and enterprises) were put to flames during the community gathering.

Expanding Lean, Mean and Agile: from Dev. to Comm.

Lean, mean and agile communications.

Lean, mean and agile communications.

I’ve been active for about 8 years now within the IT industry. And I always envied developers up until very recently. They could work in a lean, mean and agile way. We couldn’t. Marketing and Communication professionals not rarely fall back to “methodologies, tactics and strategies” that proved their power in the past. However, marketers and communication professionals taking this road are about to experience “armpit ponds” nobody has ever witnessed before. They’ll sweat. They’ll have to start working. Instead of talking. But why?

Digital Technology revolutionizes the communications business.

Art and copy have a new partner, technology, and it’s revolutionizing every part of the communications business. It lead to a new mindset. The idea of being ready to fail quickly, to be more agile in a consumer-dominant culture. How can you as a brand or enterprise communicate in a great way in this new, consumer-driven, multi-channel, fast-paced context? By getting as lean as developers!

Lean, mean and agile for Communication and Marketing

Developers learned us that we need to be open for an early failure. It’s better to realize early that something doesn’t work than to invest people’s time in further elaborating and researching an action that won’t deliver the results.

As marketers have more and more to do with platforms and OS, they need to understand their thinking and processes might need a big shift. They need to work, get things to market and learn fast. They are forced to do it cheaper, leaner and more collaboratively. They need to find ways to operationalize hacking and experimentation. This requires flexibility. Especially in one’s mind!

How to organize for Agile Communications?

Well, first of all. Get rid of your old school marketing thinkers. They’ll only slow down the process because mostly can’t cope with the uncertainty. An agile communications process begins with a ‘minimum viable brief’ (MVB). This dynamic document covers only as much as it needs to provide a framework of insight and inspiration. It shows the big idea but is chopped into smaller building blocks, allowing to get sprint and iterate accordingly. That’s being lean, mean and agile: mock up ideas fast, test assumptions and generate reactions in real-time.

Agile Communications: re-aligning strategy after launch. Adapt & respond.

Agile Communicators are always open for change, if there’s an opportunity to change for better results. This can be followed-up easily after launch. The next step is focus on what’s working and what is not. And consequently experiment with other bets based on what was successful. Adapt and respond. Or die.

Dude, that’s not even possible. The role of values, vision and stories…

We heard a lot of marketers stating that this is not possible for brands and that it would harm your brand in the long run. Well, let me tell you something: not transforming into a lean communicator will harm your brand even more.

You can only act as a lean communicator when you have uncovered the core of your brand / enterprise. You must establish your core values up front and remain authentic. That’s why you need to catch the very essence of your brand. What’s the core story? What are the core values?

A core story and storytelling are a precondition for lean communication

Despite the ever-increasing need for flexibility/agility, brand-building is still about consistency. We must catch our core values and remain authentic up front

In today’s fragmented, information overloaded environments, getting real with audiences is a challenge. But that’s exactly why you need to start fast and collaboratively and adjust along the journey. Getting in the office the day after and completely altering the entire project? Hooray!

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