Some Marketing Institute guest speakers have a go at cracking today’s big marketing questions
We’re delighted with the lineup of fantastic speakers from various backgrounds and industries who spoke at our DMX Dublin conference on 8th March.
Remembering that The Marketing Institute’s purpose is to enable marketers to build great brands and great careers, we decided to pick the brains of some of these thought leaders on the big questions and trends that arise in marketing in Ireland today. Here are their insights.
Forget “Digital Marketing”, let’s get back to the basics
Digital has opened up countless opportunities for marketers, and the pace it’s moving at means we’re constantly on the lookout for the next big thing. Yesterday was all about live video; today we’re talking AI, AR and VR… But are these shiny new tools distracting us from the bigger picture, and the true role of marketing?
Peter Kim (Lego), notes: “Marketers have taken an approach to digital that has loosened up from what made it so awesome 10-15 years ago. These days what consumers see is a lot of clutter, irrelevance, and interruption when it comes to advertising in digital.” So how do we go back to the core of marketing?
It’s time to take a step back and look at the brand, the objective, the audience, and how we achieve long-term success. Marketing Consultant Shane O’Leary explains: “We need to be less focused on complexity and get back to what marketing really means: driving sales and business objectives rather than focusing on the tactical minutia. Digital is causing us to focus more on the short term than the long term. We focus more on effectiveness rather than efficiency. We tend to not extrapolate these short term metrics back to how they re driving business.”
Once we are clear on business objectives, then and only then can we look at the tactical options that are available today. Because as Matthew Stockbridge (Mondelez International) stated: “There’s no “new media”, just media. It’s about what’s the right media for a campaign to get messages across, based on what the creative idea and the audience are.”
Use Big Data to understand the consumer… but don’t overdo it
The amount of data available today means that “you can better serve your customers by knowing and then predicting what they want” (Karen Boswell, Adam & Eve DDB). And that’s great news for marketers, right?
However there is a dark side to big data. Mark Earls (Herd) notes that “people are beginning to feel uncomfortable about the amount of data that’s available and how it is used”. They are increasingly reluctant to share their personal data. They want to know what way it’s going to be used, and will only share it if we provide enough value in return. As Nicola Millard (BT Global) puts it: “If I share data with you, what am I going to get back? Do you make life easier for me? Do you personalize stuff? Do you remind me of things that I really want to be reminded of?”
And then there’s the ongoing argument between data and creativity, the fear that algorithms and programmatic are making marketing dull and predictable. Consultant Michelle Goodall illustrates: “We live in a bubble through social media and our search habits. Nobody is delighting me anymore! I’m getting stuff around my age […] but I don’t want that! I want to be surprised and delighted! So how can we continue to surprise and delight people, but also give them what they want?”
The answer could lie in Shane O’Leary’s suggestion that “it’s not about data OR creativity. The value is in the overlap. Data needs something built on top of it. Creativity needs some data to give us that insight.”
Improving customer experience: AI Vs. Humans
If there’s one thing all marketers can agree on, it’s the importance of customer experience. “Marketing isn’t just about what you say, it’s about what you do. About every single touchpoint that customers have with your brand. It’s the smallest thing you fail to think about, that is the thing that undermines your product, your brand and your business” (Scott Morrison, Think Sprint). Marketa Mach from IBM iX adds that “it’s a focus on customer experience that’s going to lead to differentiation. CX pays in business performance as it does in customer satisfaction”.
The question that arises today is: will new technologies such as AI help brands improve CX, or are they deteriorating it by removing human interaction?
One thing that AI does well is fulfilling the consumer’s increasing need for instant gratification, for example in retails where AI can assist customer service, as highlighted by Karen Boswell.
On the other hand, social media marketer Amanda Webb observes that “being human and trustworthy is what people are looking for now. We’re going back to doing business with the local shopkeeper”.
Either way, Lisa Wood (Atom Bank) acknowledges that “we need to start thinking now about AI and what it’s going to do to the marketing landscape, because it’s going to be a different skillset and a very different engagement with our customers. AI is changing how we interact with customers”. Matthew Stockbridge adds that it’s still unclear what is a clever or a terrible use of AI, and opinions on specific campaigns are often divided. But he argues that “as long as trends are causing conversations and dividing people, those are the things we need to be aware of”.