What we found is that this in the age of the customer, the marketing funnel that used to work so nicely in a world of one way advertising is really getting turned around, and CMOs have to think more about the relationship that the company has with the consumer, and more importantly, what the consumer’s expectations are of the company looking from the outside in.
So what you find is that versus a marketing funnel that a CMO would apply certain metrics to get somebody from awareness all the way down through purchase is actually a much more fluid environment that the customer may interact with any piece of the marketing message, or the product or the service as they go through their daily behaviors.
And by not appreciating that, the marketer risks not marketing to the consumer in their context in a world that’s been complicated by things like social media, and many different formats of advertising. So the goal of the CMO is really to think differently about the marketing effort being one of how do I engage the customer in their mindset rather than how do I engage the customer with the mindset of the company and the advertising that I’m trying to put out there?
CMOs actually feel the pressure of losing control of their brand. Consumers talk to each other about brands. They have the ability to change people’s perception of brands by what they say in social media, what they experience through an app, or just even being in the store and recognizing that a price on a product doesn’t necessarily drive their behavior. They may just buy it on Amazon while they’re in the store.
So consumers have control over the brand in ways that CMOs are not comfortable with, and certainly impacts the way they’re going to execute on their next round of marketing efforts. What we have seen is that consumers’ expectations of the brands, even the ones that they do like have grown tremendously along the lines of do they provide an additional level of value beyond just the product that they’re purchasing?
So the expectations have gone way up in terms of things like, do they provide a societal contribution? Do they create something that I’m willing to share with my friends because I believe in the values of the company?
Which aren’t necessarily driven by the devices and the access, but they allow the transparency of the brand to come through, and for consumers to then make a decision about, is this a company I want to do business with at a much broader level, and a more fundamental level about brand than they have before.
The challenge that I think CMOs have additionally is that everything is being campaign driven. And a campaign is a major launch that happens over a period of time and, it’s a marketing effort that’s very messaging driven. But customers receive those messages in so many different formats now that understanding the context that they’re receiving that message is where the value is really going to lie going forward.
They could be receiving the same message in the same room, but on two different devices and have a totally different understanding of what the message is supposed to be there, or it could be that they’re in the context of a work mode during the day, but they’re receiving a message on their mobile device, which is a distraction versus when it’s Saturday afternoon and they’re sitting back and relaxing, and they get that exact same message, but it’s in a more relaxing state.
So understanding the context of where they are and location wise, their context could be that they’re outside and it’s a beautiful day, and they are getting a message for lemonade versus it being a rainy, cold day and they’re getting the same message, the content could be completely wrong for that marketer. Understanding what data provides you, and being able to respond to that with the appropriate message helps make the message that you spend and the money that you’re spending on marketing much more effective in the long run.