How to Move from Talking Multi-Channel Marketing to Doing It
The president of a marketing technology firm recently observed that today’s marketing environment is very unique. Marketers understand the need for cross-channel marketing, they recognize that cross-channel marketing is possible, they talk the cross-channel talk but for the most part, they simply unable to do anything about it.
It’s true. To a large extent, when it comes to cross-channel campaign execution, corporate marketers are paralyzed. They don’t need educated. They don’t need convinced. They’re just stuck.
While there are may be many reasons causing today’s marketing paralysis, three seem key.
First, marketers organize and think channel. Even though they know consumers don’t.
In most cases, marketing is structured incorrectly for today’s environment. Teams and agencies are organized in silos and around channels. And while integrated marketing is far from a new concept (Northwestern’s Don Shultz has been brilliantly preaching it since the 80s), few within marketing give it anything beyond lip service.
Consumers, on the other hand, don’t think about an interaction in terms of email marketing, social marketing, out-of-home, or traditional marketing. They think about it as a conversation they are trying to have … one that often seems confused at its different interaction points.
The new marketing era requires a new approach. For many, that’s paralyzing.
Second, change feels too big.
Frankly, the change needed is big. You simply can’t be cross-channel, engaging and real time with current marketing processes. The new era marketers find themselves in requires a new platform approach to marketing communications. It’s big.
The challenge, however, is not in how big of a change is needed, it’s in marketers not being able to see and act on the small steps that are needed to begin the change journey. Instead, they throw new tactical technologies and new siloed teams to support new channels, applying old systems and hoping to address new realities.
The first step to overcoming the feeling that change is too big is to identify the small, manageable steps that get change started and take them.
Third, systems and platforms feel like foreign words to many marketers.
In spite of all the current attention on measurability, analytics and data, marketers still are not systems thinkers. That doesn’t mean they don’t love and consume new technology and embrace new ways to communicate with their target audiences. It just means the mindset is not one of platform based, repeatable, scalable process. But that’s what the new marketing era is asking for.
You simply can’t throw enough creative talent and project management together to create meaningful, personalized, cross-channel, analytics driven, location-influenced, engagement-based marketing. Without a marketing platform, it’s just too hard to build and run the kind of campaigns today’s customers expect.
It all seems make sense, but it’s not a language most marketers really understand.
Breaking free from paralysis
Breaking out of the paralysis that is preventing effective cross channel marketing is wholly a mental issue. Certainly, rethinking teams, systems and approach takes work. But none of it can start without a fundamental shift in how one thinks about marketing. And it starts with the courage to take the first small step. For some it might be to begin moving to a dynamic content creation approach. For others, it might be implementing cross functional workflow. For the brave, it may be diving headfirst into a full marketing platform. Whatever the direction, taking the first step is the hardest. It’s also the most important and, ultimately, most rewarding.