I was watching a TED video a few weeks ago, which summarised the reason for the failure of legacy
companies — they fail to create a balance between exploitation and exploration. While a lot of exploration is done in the initial stages, once companies achieve a certain size and scale, exploitation from what has been created becomes the focus.
If one looks closely at the advertising business, the only visible change in terms of consumer connection despite the conversations about changing consumer preferences as well as media landscape, lies in the proportion of money allocated between different channels of communication, including digital, which remains a mandatory tick-box for some. No other significant exploration, whatsoever.
Having had various interesting conversations with advertisers, I genuinely feel senior stakeholders of the advertising business not only need to redevelop their skills of curiosity, observation and radical thinking, but also help build a conducive environment to cultivate a breed of such practitioners at their workplaces.
Start caring for your clients before they start caring for others
I really doubt if clients take cognizance and agencies care enough to advise their clients that the resources being pushed over and over again through the leaky
linear purchase funnel, marketing to consumers, will not deliver any Share of Empathy, even equal to a fraction of the SoV (Share of Voice) chased. All it will do is to produce a mathematical relationship equation between the SoV and SoE (Share of Expenditure).
Are businesses truly transforming?
It is only those with anticipatory thinking skills working hard to convert consumer concerns and insights into opportunities who are the ones disrupting businesses. But some of the legacy client businesses, which need a significant change in thinking, are perhaps just automating their processes and defining it as transformation. No business can ever truly transform unless it cuts the various layers to reach its customers. The essential part of transformation is also about understanding consumers as people.
Is it still eyeballs, profiles or humans?
As a real estate developer, would you care to ensure your customers who booked apartments by seeing the plans on paper are present at the site on the first day of excavation? As an insurance brand, would you care to know how the car or health is after a claim? As a hospital, would you be concerned about the reports after a health check up? As garment brand, would you care enough to know how your customers feel when they make your product their second skin? The list can go on.
Gestures of this nature, based on what the brands stand for, will not only open many connection opportunities for brands, by making consumers far more receptive, but will also help create positive conversations. In addition, content, customer intimacy, community-building and algorithms will get built into the clients’ vocabulary as much as supply chains and profit margins.
What’s the purpose?
By starting marketing when the product or service is sold, contrary to carpet-bombing to consumers today by asking them to buy, the process can be redefined as marketing ‘for’ consumers. It calls for advertisers to embark on a paradigm to create a true purpose for their brands so that it aligns with similar value-seeking consumers, thereby elevating the brand.
Let owned assets sweat more; use data to guide clients
Every brand is sitting on piles of data that’s unutilised. Data can aid agencies in presenting advertising plans to clients, which will have suggestions on how the assets owned by clients can sweat more. The list of assets can go on — employees of the company, current customers, product pack and the price tag are all assets, as are the retail showrooms, websites, dealers, distributors, blogs, content, communities, sponsorships, events, PR et al.
Change is a must, but disruption is not topsy-turvy
I’m not for a minute saying that brand owners and agencies must embrace disruption by forgetting everything that has been practiced over time. My recommendation for brand owners is to look at a
certain part of explainable marketing inputs and reserve the same for marketing for consumer program.
From all our analyses and evidence, just 10% investment from the overall marketing resources, in marketing for consumers program will enable brands to further build their owned assets and many opportunities for earned exposures. A 12-month consistent program with true storytelling at its heart, based on a clear brand purpose, layered with data and other interventions such as technology, potentially creating multi-sensorial impact on consumers, can lead to a measurable difference that is at least twice that of passive advertising, using similar resources. As the program gains momentum, brand owners can actually shrink the quantum of advertising and still gain greater impact, which means saving hard cash.
The author is MD & co-founder, triggerbridge