5 Steps To Freedom: The Key To Being A Rapid Marketer
How can marketers react to events as they happen, delivering instant digital gratification to consumers? Columnist Brian Rigney offers some tips.
Consumers are living for the moment, because time is an increasingly precious resource. The same applies to marketers who are trying to tap into those consumer moments as they happen.
In fact, nearly 70 percent of marketers feel challenged by time, with a third considering a lack of enough time their single biggest challenge. And this content marketing crunch is a significant impediment to delivering the essential instant digital gratification that today’s consumers demand.
Part of this time challenge faced by marketers is a result of the ever-growing array of marketing technology options that they have to rely on to deliver the experiences and richness that consumers expect.
With nearly 2,000 different marketing technology vendor options available today, is it any wonder that 21 percent of marketers now spend 15 or more hours managing services from vendors? And the ones that choose to forgo exploring outside vendors are often faced with similar time constraints managing their own internal IT and technology teams to deliver the content and campaigns they need.
We All Want That Oreo Moment
All this makes the idea of mastering “in the moment” marketing a real challenge.
Every marketer wants to deliver the Oreo cookie Super Bowl effect — when the lights went out at Super Bowl 2013, the Oreo marketing team almost instantly got a tweet out picturing a cookie and the tag line, “Don’t worry, you can still dunk in the dark.”
Power out? No problem. pic.twitter.com/dnQ7pOgC
— Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) February 4, 2013
Every marketer wants to follow Oreo’s example and react to ongoing events as they happen, updating Web and digital properties with timely images and relevant messaging. And as some brands, such as Oreo, successfully do it, so consumers have come to expect it.
But for most marketers, they can’t deliver that rapid response. They are straitjacketed by long technology implementation cycles and then exhaustive learning times to master the tech once it is in place.
Most have to rely on front-end IT support to run the complex marketing technology which requires coding experience to operate. All the changes and implementations of their marketing ideas happen in the dark and forbidding rooms of the IT department and might as well be magic.
These technology issues — the lack of control and the skills to actually operate the systems — hamper marketers greatly, are an impediment to reactivity, stymie collaboration, and make on-the-fly updates impossible.
They are stopping brands from living for the moment or even performing basic functions like reacting to inventory fluctuations or changing consumer demand. Worse, they are making the instant omni-channel experience that customers expect difficult to deliver.
Five Steps To Freedom
So what do marketers need to gain the freedom to market in the moment and deliver that rich instant digital gratification to demand consumers? Well, there are five key things.
1. Awareness – Marketers need to know what is going on. Put simply, they need to be aware of what is happening out there so that they can react to it.
So, take the Oreo Super Bowl example again: Oreo’s marketing department was clearly on top of what was happening and able to collaborate and make the posted ad happen. All marketers need to have the time and freedom to be able to do the same so that they too can use events to shape their content to the moments that their audience finds itself in.
2. Simple ways to create – To react to events and to create the moments that matter, marketers need to be able to create the content and experiences they need as they need them.
This is where the missive “create don’t code” comes in: Marketers, aware of events, know what they want to create — but often they can’t because it needs coding and careful designing, and this can take days or weeks. In an instant world, marketers need the technology to help them realize their vision instantly.
3. Freedom from IT and developers – Building on this ethos of “create don’t code,” marketers need the tools that can not only let them realize their vision, but also bring it to life — without having to scope it out as a wireframe or, worse, on a raft of Post-it notes, and then hand it over to the IT department or external Web developers.
Marketers who want to be in the moment need tools that they can use to actually create the content they want, when they want it, and make it live the same day.
4. Easy collaboration – To make this process work, marketers also need tools that let them collaborate and build these experiences with their colleagues on the fly. Two or more heads are always better than one — and they need to make sure that their quick-fire content is perfect the first time, as you only get one hit at this.
They also need to be able to instantly share content with managers, directors and CMOs to accelerate the approval process and get to market fast.
5. Fast deployment – Of course, the real key is that marketers need to be able to publish what they do instantly across every channel they need to reach. This will get their relevant content into the market in the moment for maximum impact and capitalize on the situational awareness that this process started with.
Here in Massachusetts, our New Hampshire neighbors have a license plate that boasts the state motto “Live Free or Die.” While this may be a bit extreme for our purposes, marketers need to heed these same words.
In today’s fast-paced environment, marketers need the freedom to rapidly iterate and create marketing in response to what their customers are experiencing. The ones that find their path to marketing freedom can quickly reach new customers and earn their attention.
Rapid marketing is about taking off the straitjacket and having the freedom to innovate, to try new things, to create — not code.