In this opinion piece, Melotti Media founder Christopher Melotti (pictured below) explains how marketers can keep up with the rapidly evolving industry landscape one bite at a time.
There’s no doubt about it – marketing is changing so rapidly that it’s almost becoming an impossible evolving enigma. Gone are the days when all that was needed was to print a pretty picture onto a page and show it to a mass audience to get them to come to you.
Today, we have an ever-growing list of new and expanding marketing tactics, including: automation, smartphone applications, augmented reality, conversion rate optimisation, big data, live streaming, blogging, digital, social media, neuromarketing, retargeting, SEO, content management, tracking pixels, post boosting, sponsored listings, AdWords, relationships, viral… the list goes on and on.
So, it’s no wonder why marketers these days are immersed and overwhelmed; it’s both an exciting time to be in the profession, but also a daunting one. Every marketer should always strive to be on the cutting edge of our practice, but there are only so many hours in the day. It’s like you need a clone of yourself to be doing the day-to-day while you sit and study every new technique invented that week just to keep up.
It really is up to us as marketers to keep ahead
Naturally, not everything that pops up is always relevant, effective or useful, but a lot of it is, and as marketing professionals, we are solely responsible for keeping up to date with our craft. It’s not only that it’s expected of us – we also expect it of ourselves too. I practice many forms of marketing every day and employ different tactics all the time, however, I always get that one client emailing me asking if I know what some new XYZ is and how can we use it in the new campaign. It’s extremely embarrassing when you have to admit to both yourself and them that you have never heard of this XYZ they speak of.
The only way to truly keep up to date with these new techniques is to subscribe to journals and marketing blogs to at least be made aware of what’s new and upcoming, and then take the time to research and perhaps even adopt them if they fit. But, granted, it’s a mammoth task.
So, how do we deal with this?
We’re only human after all, and if your role is anything like mine, you’re already stretched pretty thin keeping up with your own marketing projects, let alone investing time everyday learning what new product Facebook has introduced to help better track your ad spend or what paper is being released on a new approach to neuromarketing. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed.
Worse still, marketers tend to be results and project-driven, which means we want to implement several different things which all sound amazing, and we want it done yesterday – and in doing so, we find ourselves in a stressed mess on the floor.
There’s hope… one bite at a time
It really comes down to that good old cliché: how do you eat a (marketing) elephant? One bite at a time. It truly is the only way to keep abreast of the profession and hold your sanity in check. One of the best pieces of advice I give to colleagues and clients is: of a list of 30 new marketing tactics, pick two or three that are most relevant to your organisation, and get them right first, before looking at the next thing.
If you do that, then you’re already winning! It means that you’re already ahead of the game, and doing it well. It’s better to focus on getting a few approaches up and running strongly and reaping solid results, than spreading your efforts poorly across too many projects at once and failing across the entire board.
For example, it would be overwhelming to adopt a massive new marketing automation platform like Marketo into a new business while at the same time, implementing a new marketing to sales support system. Sure, both would be valuable, and perhaps there will be some overlaps, but your resources and focus will be so divided that you’ll end up with an under-cooked and ineffective version of both. It’s best to assess which few tactics best align with your overall marketing strategy and utilise your assets into launching those specific programs well to produce tangible results.
No organisation’s marketing is ever perfect, but you will certainly be pushing it in the right direction by not becoming inundated, but by being selective and open to new technology and approaches as they come available.