Andy Lark: Marketing Needs a New Scorecard

Andy Lark: Marketing Needs a New Scorecard
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Forget the old P’s of marketing. The game has changed so much, a new list is required, says Andy Lark.

Marketers need a new scorecard to chart their course and performance through a landscape in a near constant state of change.

Just listen to the learnings from Cannes this year. While most media companies knew mobile was going to big, none realised it would be this big.

Video is the new go-to medium. Where we grew up on CNN, our kids will grow up on VICE. Geeks and data freaks are the new recruiting focus. And those technology companies driving all this change – they are really media companies in disguise.

So much more of equal importance didn’t surface at Cannes. Sensors – which now generate more than 50% of the world’s data – are surrounding us at an ever-increasing pace.

Wearables will be this Christmas’ hot gift. Sophisticated attribution tools are upending traditional ROI-based marketing models. And marketing platforms for everything from engagement to productivity are the new black. 

While it’s unlikely that anyone other than the biggest budget holders will anoint a chief marketing technology officer, nearly every marketing team will have a marketing operations specialist orchestrating technology platforms.

Today’s marketer is largely ill equipped to deal with the pace and volume of change. Budgets are in a perpetual nosedive as expectations of growth continue to climb. Armies of consultants hunting for productivity gains are reinventing the structure and role of marketing with little understanding of the function itself. Most boards are devoid of marketers. The traditional ‘Ps’ of marketing are increasingly split across a multitude of functions outside the purview of the marketer. Take ‘product’ which has become a discrete function; or ‘pricing’ which is now often found within sales or merchandising.

A new scorecard will enable marketers to navigate this shifting landscape, and it will have five indicators to vector planning and strategy off. More importantly it will provide marketers with a tool to explain to their business partners a new world in which products will be sold and customers served.

First, ‘participation’ through content, communities and collaboration with consumers will drive engagement. Those that engage through rich media win. Smart brands like Coke recognise that they are also a media company – and their sites are being rebuilt to reflect that. To date the majority of the content in places like YouTube isn’t generated by them, but rather their fans – and the odd detractor.

Participation will be automated. Marketers are switching on to the power of marketing automation platforms to connect with customers in new and old ways. Email still delivers the majority of link traffic but social is growing fast. Twitter in particular is becoming a rich platform for consumers to share and express.

Second, ‘proximity’ puts mobile at the centre of not just campaigns but also redefining customer experience. Two key factors are forcing marketers to reappraise the roles of their brands.

We must develop a deeper appreciation for MODs – moments of doubt, dissatisfaction and desire. Unaddressed MODs provide the wedges for new brands to disrupt old markets through digital. Think what Uber and GoCatch are doing to the traditional taxi business in our cities.

Then we must simplify services as most consumer activities shift to being something you do while doing something else. Think about paying bills, while watching The Voice, and chatting to friends on Facebook.

It’s technology combined with Proximity that is causing us to rethink media. Sure Game of Thrones has been a blockbuster for television. But it’s been an even bigger blockbuster for viewing on the iPad and other connected devices. As the number of screens around us doubles from three to six, we will find new ways to consume the content we love. And that will be at the expense of traditional channels. Just watch what Spotify does to radio, or how VICE grows to become a mainstay of our news lexicon.

Third, ‘predict’ makes data a foundational marketing capability – and underscores the broad industry shift from marketing as an attention drive profession, to one based on intention.

Today’s budget allocation models largely reflect legacy investment patterns. Tomorrow’s budgets will come to reflect what one CEO of a major agency network viewed as his future revenue split – 40% from data, 40% from data and 20% from other. How much of your current budget is going to ‘other’?

Data harvesting will become the new marketing imperative. Simply put, to find a needle in a haystack, you need to start with a large haystack. Too many marketers are still looking for the haystack. This will force marketers to establish new ethical boundaries for data use.

Fourth, ‘play’ will drive engagement in new ways. The fact that for many the majority of the time they spend in social media is spent playing games, is secondary. What is important is that across these screens we expect to be entertained and engaged. Old tricks – from competitions to sharing – work well. Smarter games are afoot though. Businesses are gamifying everything from forms to application processes to hold attention and ignite virality.

Fifth, ‘purpose’ requires that we use our reason for being to not just drive creative, but also business decisions. Purpose-driven brands outperform other brands on nearly every metric – and by some margin. They share a passion for a central metric. But most importantly, they use purpose as a lens through which to make decisions on everything from hiring employees to which products to sell. CVS, a large US pharmaceutical retailer, has a clear purpose – helping people on their path to better health. Recognising that selling cigarettes was inconsistent with pursuing that purpose led them to drop a more than $1.8bn in revenue.

Participation, Proximity, Predict, Play and Purpose provide marketers form the new indicators through which marketing trajectory can be assessed. More importantly, they provide a guide to change marketing at speed.

And marketing must change, or die.

Andy Lark will be appearing at Marketing Week in SA. 

Marketing Week

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