When you work in marketing today, or its subset—advertising—you’re no longer a simple pitchman. You’re a maker. A weaver of brand tapestries. I say this with a wry smile, fully cognizant of my own role in the promotion of high mindedness when it comes to brand communications.
But before I get too excited about enthusiasm for radical industrial change, let’s take a look at how sharply some critics cut when presented with an ad carcass.
@davidburn advertising is probably the most canned, programmatic, speculative industrial model out there. There are exceptions, not many.
— Gunther Sonnenfeld (@goonth) January 28, 2015
Even the ad game’s top players are looking for new answers to old questions. Rob Reilly, who recently left Crispin Porter + Bogusky for McCann told Adweek that his biggest challenge in the new job is:
Finding talent and keeping them. Creative people are motivated by what great things they can make. My goal is surrounding them with those opportunities. I want this place to be known for a commitment to evolving the industry beyond what it currently is.
Is this how an industry morphs? Through conscious evolution? Or is it more by fits and starts?
Jeff Pundyk, vice president, content marketing and strategy, at The Economist Group hints at a more holistic future for marketing “that blends brand building, customer experience and transactions.”
In order to better meet their customers where they live, marketing departments are building new capabilities that focus on digital engagement, marketing operations, and technology. They also are seeking significant investments in technology that facilitates both smart engagement and the analytics to understand and optimize the customer experience across multiple channels.
When I became a copywriter in the mid-90s, I never imagined that I would be “optimizing the customer experience across multiple channels.” We used to call it integrated marketing in those days, and it was about taking one common brand message and delivering it cohesively and consistently across many channels. Now, the idea of one brand message for all is quaint, at best.
You want someone’s business today? You need to know more about your prospects and customers than shallow brand personas allow. To truly connect, it is incumbent on the brand to show it cares about people as individuals. Know the person’s name at the very least; better yet, learn to honor their buying and contact preferences. You can do this heavy lifting face-to-face, or use technology to help. The point is marketing is not a cold calculated science. Marketing is the art of connecting humans with products and services, and we use a bit of science to achieve our desired ends.