We hear it all the time, “We're different”. And we often hear from marketers, “You're all the same”.
It was such a great panel… all of us were outspoken and all of us have quite a different network and client-base. Jeb has a fantastic service-based agency with clients that love him, Gail is running an international, highly-regulated medical parts manufacturer, Brian leads world-renowned animation and development shop, and George has a premiere product branding agency. Some large, some small, some established, some new… making the conversation (and small episodes of debate) eye opening.
As we head into 2014, there were some finite take-aways that I believe impact every marketing leader – whether you're at an agency, a startup, or a large organization:
- Inbound marketing, social media marketing, and even content marketing isn't the be-all, end-all panacea of marketing. There's no single answer to that which identifies your message, where your message needs to be heard, nor how it should be heard. Some companies still rely on a strong salesforce with educational product marketing documentation. Others are performing well with great branding and promotions.
- Connecting the prospect with the product or service through great storytelling hasn't changed. Whether it was a company developing a traditional media strategy, or a company developing a series of animated shorts for online review… disseminating a story that connects emotionally with your audience is much the same now as it has been for decades.
- Consumers and businesses looking to make their next purchase are researching online and finding the information they need from their social networks and through distributed content. You can run, but you can't hide… companies who are not being honest will see the impact of their dishonesty. Perhaps not today, but someday.
As I drove home, what occurred to me is that the activities all of us are taking as marketers is really the same – but the audience and the paths that we take to get there are quite different. Jeb may help develop communities that drive the story to market, George may develop the overall brand and tools to tell the story, Gail may be developing the product documentation and distribution to tell the story, and Brian will translate and literally illustrate the story.
Each of our processes have different people, time constraints, and resources… but we all are focused on getting measurable business results for our clients. Not eyeballs! Acquisition, retention and upselling of clients is how serious marketers measure their success.