Brand ManagementDigital marketing

Getting your marketing priorities straight while embracing the inevitable change

All over the world marketers face numerous critical challenges in their quest to connect with consumers and business buyers. But everywhere marketers are in risk of failing miserably. The reason is that marketers are too busy chasing the latest fad, and unconcerned about fixing the basic components of their marketing ecosystem.

New is the new black:

New attracts most people. New is exciting, it is promising and brings new perspectives, new opportunities and new hope to do better.

A significant proportion of the Egyptian population has embraced the new kids on the block, namely social and mobile. Now many brands are busy making themselves available in these channels.

Yet these new social media activities too often are driven by a mere desire to join the band wagon – to not be left behind, rather than being seen as part of an overall engagement strategy. The results derived from these activities are often poor to nonexistent. For example, we know that 95% of Facebook marketing activities aren’t working. That is, they aren’t delivering tangible value to the businesses that establish their Facebook presence.  Yet marketers continuously pursue the next “like”, the next “share” without any clear plan or purpose.

Odd set of priorities:

What strikes me as odd – in Egypt and most other places – is that most marketers seem to be driven by the wrong set of priorities. Priorities in 2012 seem be driven by a burning desire to be accepted amongst marketing peers, rather than establishing a focus and mind-set to meet business- and marketing objectives.

Sure marketing has become tremendously more complex than it was just 5-10 years ago. True, the change is constant. Admittedly, being a marketer today is quite the challenge job.  And, I think, that is what makes so rewarding.  But as a marketer, you still have to prove that you add real value to your business.

Old objectives still work:

That is exactly why we need to understand what our priorities are. I don’t know about you, but last time I checked, my priorities as a marketer were driven by objectives for acquisition, retention, win-back. Not by “objectives” for establishing a presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube.  That is – in the worlds of a famous British author – “non-sense”.

Now I am not an advocate for any particular channel of communication. I advocate only that brands should be visible wherever customers and potential customers are. And the fact is they are everywhere. Consuming through all of the traditional channels as well as through digital channels; At times your customers are more likely to engage through digital. Others times through traditional channels. The name of the game now is multi-channel engagement, not a play of singular channels.

Getting the basics right produce better results:

There is a serious disconnect going on as most marketers in Egypt and elsewhere aren’t paying attention to the basics. It is sad. Because those that do manage to establish a strong marketing foundation, perform much, much better than those who don’t.

Part of a modern day marketing basics is to research in order to fully understand your target market’s preferences and peculiarities. Another part is to establish an integrated system to manage customer data and communication. These are just two areas that most brands in Egypt neglect. But ask any top modern day marketer, and they’ll tell you; they owe a huge part of their success to having invested in these two areas. They are simply prerequisite for becoming a successful marketer in this day and age.

Easy come, easy go and a puff of shisha:

New channels of communication come and go. That won’t change. And new opportunities will arise with greater frequency than ever before. Most of these new possibilities will fail, a few will last. But the good old ways of understanding what the actual marketing objectives are and keeping focus on that and that alone, won’t.

So if you are committed to marketing excellence, you must address your marketing basics first. Once you have your basics in place, that’s the time when you are ready to embrace change and leverage new channels of interaction and engagement.

With that, I am going to go enjoy a shisha while I check emails, Facebook and Twitter on my smart-phone and possibly read this magazine. I really am a sucker for finding ways to combine the old and new.

Michael Leander

Michael Leander is an award-winning speaker, trainer and consultant in all things marketing. Originally from Denmark, Michael has spoken at conferences and seminars all over the globe sharing his knowledge of marketing and innovation, in which he has 20 years worth of accomplished experience.