Ritualizing The Tough Stuff.

A lot of performance “gurus” talk about habits of the highly successful. I have often wondered how many people try and fail at these impossible standards.  It’s not that these habitual strategies don’t work.  It’s that they aren’t natural to you.

The problem, I’ve found, is that no one can tell you how to get the best out of you with a formula.  This is why diets fail and healthy choices win.

Rituals are habits with a purpose.  Trying on someone else’s shoes just might not fit.  Let me tell you a story about how one of my most important rituals came to be:

I love ideation.  The creation of possibilities for my clients is work that comes natural and easy.  Got a problem?  By the end of the day, I have 13 strategies to offer.  That’s because it’s my natural state.  Paperwork, on the other hand, is the bane of my existence.  I would kick, scream, cuss and procrastinate on any and all “business paperwork”.  This would undermine my natural creative abilities, because I’m also a worrier.  A contract is necessary to a thriving business.  And, paramount if you want o make money.  It wasn’t that I’m not good at writing contracts, I actually have a pretty good head for detail and business operations.  It’s just that I didn’t wanna.  But, I had to.  So, I created a ritual about writing contracts and other business paperwork that took care of my internal, stubborn child.

I became grateful.  I would concentrate on how incredibly lucky I was to be in business, and how much of a gift it was to “do the thing” (run a business and all of the benign tasks it involves).

Turning this pain in the ass to a gratitude ritual was the best thing I ever did for me and my business.

Now, I take myself away from my ‘office’,  to the beautiful patio with a glass of wine and focus on the grateful feelings I get with all the beauty that my business provides.  With each keystroke in writing a contract, filling out necessary paperwork, I say a little “thank you”.  I don’t rush, every letter means my success.

The benefit of rituals, custom made for you, is the ability to get shit done in a pleasing manner.  Borrowing rituals can feel forced and have spotty results.  Diets fail because they are forced rules against your natural state.  Rules don’t typically work very well for the creative mindset.  You little rebel, you.

Make the habits you need to adopt for your business success a ritual in celebration.

Here’s a little secret you haven’t been told.  Nothing works if it is not in it’s natural state.  Not communication, not marketing, not financial health, not physical health.

TL; DR:  You do you, boo.  And the goals you have will manifest like magic.

Multisensory Marketing

More evidence that 2017 is the got damn future. If voice activated home robots, smartphones replacing desktops and shoes that monitor your health doesn’t convince you how fast trends adopt, allow me to shake your foundation again with the advent of multisensory marketing.

No, you can’t smell that delicious food from the Tasty video, just yet. But, augmented reality becomes redefined with sight/sound/movement. According to Facebook’s recent study,  by 2020, over 75% of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video.

As Facebook IQ puts it, “The average attention span is said to now be shorter than that of a goldfish. But that’s only half the story. As people are exposed to a continuous and ever-growing stream of information, our ability to consume it has sped up. And as both findings are even more pronounced among younger generations, the future will be fast.

As our ability to consume information grows, consumers expect more from our communication. Engagement becomes a real-time opportunity through the technology being developed. Imagine skype meets video with customer service. It’s on the way.

More importantly, I want to talk to you about taking advantage of multisensory approach today. When planning a campaign in online media, how can you craft a “true to life” experience for the user? Some ways to do this right now:

  • Use 360 photo and vid tech to give the user a feeling of being there. Users spend 40% more time on 360 than reg vids.
  • Develop adaptive micro-sites based on experiences instead of stagnant content.
  • Ramp up your video strategy ASAP! Focus on 3 second previews and run multivariate tests to capture a longer-viewing audience. The latest studies show that video connection is biological. People stare at video 5x longer than any other content.
  • Sound is important to a multisensory strategy. Music, voiceovers and the like should be paramount to you now.
  • Mobile first. It goes without saying. But, if you design on mobile only, your chances of capturing the right buyers dramatically increases. And, no, I am not talking about responsive websites. That is so 2004.
  • Try to capture your brand’s humanity. If your campaigns, engagement and communication is personified, the assets you put out will have a better chance of brand recall.
  • People can recall content after only seeing it for 0.25 seconds! Use tech to speed message delivery.
  • Focus on delight. You want to surprise your viewers, entertain them. Several years ago, I talked about advertainment as a must in online strategy. The problem? Agency workflow isn’t set up to connect creative and media as a seamless process.
  • Run media in good times, not desperation. When that click must equal a sale, the desperation comes out in your communication. It stifles possibilities and crushes creativity. A lot of companies run tight and don’t have a planned “innovation” marketing budget. Innovating scares a lot of bottom-line marketers. Should you see results? Hell yes. But, what kind? These trends call for a redefinition of return.

I could go on and on about the sensory experiences available. They are going to continue to explode and no doubt, the social media platforms like Facebook will be the ones ushering them in. On the last point I made, I would like to drive that home for you.

Innovation is problem solving with acceptable risk.

Just as Google lets employees spend 10% of their work time on whatever idea/project/innovation they want, you need to carve a budget out for the same.

Dear YouTube, are you *sure* you want to do that?

Another major shift in an Internet giant points to a classic mistake of following the money.

Unless you live under a rock, you probably know about the YouTube Ad Apocalypse. If not, here’s the TLDR version:

YouTubers gain a huge following by creating content people want to watch. (no surprise). Sometimes they say things that are controversial. (yeah, got it) Brands who spend millions in ad spend got scared they would get flack if their ad ran on said videos, and pulled their ad budget. (uh, oh) YouTube did two things, and the Internet lost its mind. 1) They converted new video content from major YouTubers into ‘restricted mode’, aka can’t be viewed. 2) Subscribers to said channels were unsubscribed and could not resubscribe to their favorite channels.

With me so far? Good. Seems pretty logical on the surface. Revenue was threatened, teach those wiley YouTube kids that they need to stay in line if they want to use “free speech”.

When people (or corporations) start to make an insane amount of money, the primary focus is protecting and growing that money. Often losing sight of “where they came from”. The breakdown in this business model shift is the fault of the platform and the advertisers.

First, why is this a bad thing? “I mean, c’mon Jenn, there’s some pretty nasty content on YouTube and we need to protect people from being exposed to anything that’s not “PC”. OK, George Orwell, calm down. Do you think YouTube blew up because users only uploaded videos of kittens and rainbows? Admittedly, I’ve watched my fair share of cat vids. But, the titan blew up because it was an unfiltered user-generated television channel. In short order, people learned how to create content that people loved and YouTuber became a very lucrative job. See ya, ‘starving artist’. I see this spanking and content censoring a very bad thing. These guys have millions of followers. Let that word set in, ‘followers’. If content and entire channels take their views and videos somewhere else…they will probably take those viewers, AKA potential customers of advertisers with them. How valuable are those advertising video views going to be when you are losing content and viewers? Admittedly, that’s a dystopian view of an internet brand as much a household word as their owner, Google. But, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that market share could shake. The internet is still, at it’s heart, a place for people to gain access to new media entertainment. When something stops being cool, the people of the Interwebs just leave.

In this point summary, this is bad because censoring free and popular speech makes it less cool. And, content creators who now are making 1/2 a paycheck bc subscribers and views took a dive, will move and take the fans with them. After all, “mess with my money, you mess with my emotions”

Second reason this is a bad thing? Advertisers need to get a clue. If you are using behavioral marketing, your target audience just might be watching a PewDiePie vid on a topic they are curious about. Demographic, overly-managed demo targeting didn’t work. We tried it, and we found out the individual does not live in a neat, little box. Sometimes, behavior is erratic and not associated with “boxed research”. I don’t care what my customer does on the web, I want to be in front of them if they’ll be a good match for my product. Here’s why: all money is green, it is not my place as a marketer to judge anyone, and business/politics/religion/free speech do not mix. By pulling your ad from website or video that you don’t agree with, you are judging your customers. And, people don’t buy from judgy-mcjudgerston.

Bottom line: YouTube made billions by owning nothing on the backs of user-generated content. Now, they are taking millions out of their pockets in order to appease and keep more billions from brands who can’t understand an ad roll does not mean endorsement. It’s been 20 years for these brand dinosaurs to learn about digital marketing. I understand a learning curve, but get your sh*t together, fr.

This is 100% personal opinion and I am not saying don’t use or advertise on YouTube. I’m just saying, it might go vanilla and the world wants sprinkles.

What is a futurist and do I need one?

Futurists are the most endearing of the geek family. Some of us are your card-carrying sci-fi fanatics, the we-are-going-to-live-on-mars, robots-will-take-over, we-will-all-be-chipped-by-2021 daydreamers. And, the get-your-butt-in-gear-and-don’t-miss-it variety. I tend to be the latter. Pragmatic prognosticators understand the business case of futurist work. Futurists can provide C-suite execs advice that will help them avoid disastrous strategies.

Let’s start with the first question I get all the time, second only to “Can you make me go viral?”.

What does a futurist do?:

  • They tap into their experience in a field of work and notice the patterns that make their next bet a pretty sure thing.
  • They coach out the old. Often, a futurist will reduce risks of a competitive edge shift or market shift for a client.
  • They find, address and reorganize missed opportunities for client growth.
  • They help with clarifying goals and realistic actions for the clients near and long term needs.

Do you need a futurist?:

  • If your strategic plan has or does not include a “disruptor” factor.
  • If you *think* you are on top of your marketing game, but don’t have the empirical data to prove it.
  • If you do not have at least one risk goal and dedicate 10% of your team and budget to it.
  • If you still care about your website.
  • If you or your team has been in this job for 5+ years.
  • If you aren’t the disruptor in your industry.
  • If you want to test your strategies against market shifts.

Of course, I’m never going to tell you there is a situation that wouldn’t benefit from a second opinion from an experienced futurist. But, you should be clear on why you are hiring them and for what specific purpose. We do not read crystal balls, and predictions are only about 5% of what a good futurist relies on.

The best way to put it is this:

Futurists are strategists that have enough experience to look ahead 5 or 10 steps.

When I receive resistance from a client, I often find out it’s because of fear. Getting a strategy audit feels a little like getting called into the principal’s office. Your internal monologue may go a little something like this:

“They are going to “find out” everything your organization is missing, messing up on. And, they may ask you to change. I mean, hell, don’t you work hard enough already and haven’t you added on 17 new media outlets in the last 18 months already. There’s only so much a human can do! So, back off with your challenging, easy-for-you-to-say strategies. I’m doing just fine at keeping my job as is, thankyouverymuch!”

Here, have some truth: You are not meant to just pay bills and die. In between “keeping up” and being a market leader is a damn fine career you can be proud of. A good futurist will understand the fear and find solutions based on your situation. We are not going to ask you to change gears and start selling flying cars (but wouldn’t that be cool?).

What a futurist is not:

  • They are not a “guru”, only entry-level punks use that word.
  • They are not your parents. If you give an excuse not to do something, they are not going to write a note to the “powers that be” to get you out of gym class.
  • They are not “growth hackers” Another buzzword I loathe, why on earth would you want the word hacker associated with a professional career.
  • They are not soothsayers. Looking back at my trend prediction scorecard, I’ve missed a few due to the fact that I’m not psychic (which would also be cool, btw)
  • They are not tacticians. A lot of the time, when a fururists job is done, it’s easy for the client to ask the futurist to do the work for them. Nope, nope, nope. Stay in your lane. You can’t see the forest for the trees, and all that jazz.

To close out this little futurists are viable consultants manifesto, I will tell you why I am a futurist. I’ve done the work and managed it, delighted and disappointed clients, won and fell on my ass, done the never-been-done and fulfilled the overlooked. I pay homage to my path, because I demand that of myself. My experiences have given me a special talent to foresee strategy in an unique way, to understand client fear and limitation, and the path to clear up and move forward on any directive. I do it to honor those who have worked with me. I do it because that’s the talent I’ve been bestowed. I do it because I cannot live life any other way.

 xoxo, jb

In advertising, we trust.

In recent surveys, it turns out that 61% of Americans trust the advertising they see, and 72% view all advertising as honest.  A 16% jump from the last two years.  Meanwhile, only 32% of Americans trust the news.  The NEWS.

*sources:  Gallup, Axios

What does this mean?

Below are my predictions:

  • Media costs will skyrocket, again.
  • PR will be less effective.
  • Video ads will be the big winner.
  • Promoted content on news sites just lost ALL ITS VALUE.
  • Impressions mean something.  Remember the poll was about advertising they “see”.  The messages are getting through and they are deemed as truth.
  • Real-time metrics will become less meaningful.  Clicks this hour will not represent attention or trust.  They’ll be a reversal of economic impact measurement while the market works out the buying cycle to trust.

The advice:

  • Saddle up with emotionally connected, honest campaigns.  Really invest in high production quality.  Try hiring a consultant who can pull together a Cadillac crowd-source of talent.
  • Choose disruptive platforms.  Streaming shows with uninterrupted commercial time is a good bet.  Re-marketing pixels that deliver believable benefits on a repetition.
  • Double down on media spend.  Media buys should be your number one priority of the moment.  Shift budget from sources that are viewed as untrusted.
  • For the love of Pete, hire a media strategist that has been in the trenches longer than Facebook.  With this type of opportunity on the line, you should not be taking risks.  Just because someone knows how to push the buttons for your media campaign, does not mean they know “why” someone will or won’t respond.
  • Strategy and measurement will be very important.  Hire an agnostic party who is a media veteran and can guide and measure the process in a more modern way than web traffic, clicks and shares.

Good luck, it’s about to get real crazy out there for advertisers.  As always, if assistance is needed, give me a shout.

~~~~~~~

Jennifer Barbee is a 22 year media veteran and advertising futurist.  She’s been named a Female Entrepreneur of the Year in Advertising & Media by the Stevie Awards and a Top 20 Mom in Business by StartUp Nation.

The Revolution will not be Televised.

Five years ago, the technology of today seemed like science fiction. In the late 90s and early 2000s, when I was young and attempting to sell websites to businesses, I received a barrage of negativity that the web was “just a phase”. As recent as 2008, an executive told me, “I don’t understand people who spend 10-15 hours a week on the Internet, but then again, I don’t understand pedophiles.” What the WHAT?!? Did this man just discount the web and call me a pedo in one breath?!? I should tell you he went on to be one of my biggest fans and wrote one of the most compelling, sweetest reference letters of my career. He just needed patience and empirical data to shift his perspective. I was happy to provide.

Let me now spill the tea. What you think you know about the next 5 or 10 years in communication and advertising is completely wrong. Dead wrong. Even futurists are conservative in their prognostications, in my opinion.

Smartphones have reached the masses, this means the trends are about to shift. Already, the desktop is an accessory to the smartphone. The iOT (Internet  of Things) is rarely understood, but already plaguing our daily lives.  I interviewed 37 destinations and businesses over the summer of 2016, and NOT ONE had plans to use iOT as a marketing channel.

Augmented Reality (AR) seems a kitchy buzzword to many, reserved for the “geeks” who play Pokemon Go.  BIG MISTAKE.  HUGE.

Before you can steer your marketing spend in the next direction, consumers will already have adopted AR in a natural habitat.  The world, with a lens of information.

The future is deviceless.  And, it’s not 20 years away.

You meet someone for the first time and AR delivers their social profiles and cv to explore.  You stand outside a restaurant and can view a layer of customer reviews, menu and daily specials.

The next (near term) phase of technology and communications will come on so naturally, smartphones will be viewed like the 80s brick cells. And, you won’t be ready because you are still catching up on digital marketing that you began too slow.

I’m not even going to get into the “robots” and AI (artificial intelligence/machine learning) that has already become so standard, you might not even recognize it’s all around you.

Here’s some brutal truth you need to hear:  Your search strategy is shit.  Your social media marketing is mediocre, at best.  And, you are going to miss the boat of another tectonic shift in communication because of fear.

Imagine if Destination Marketing Organizations had understood and heavily invested in websites/Internet in the 1990s.  There would be no OTAs, DMOs would enjoy, not only market capitalization, but booking fees to fund their smart city.  Instead, DMOs are behind the market, fighting for bed tax not collected  by the OTA d’jour.

I implore you, to look at shifting strategy NOW before technology out paces your media plan.

As always, I’m available for counsel with my fellow rebels with a cause.

Yours in tech solidarity,

Jenn

The Need for Destinations to Invest in Local Businesses Now

Traditionally, DMOs have helped local businesses market to tourists in a myriad of ways:  co-op campaigns, premium exposure on DMO owned media, ads and listings in travel guides and sales missions.  The “trickle-down” marketing strategy has run it’s course.

With self-run, low cost digital promotional opportunities, the small local restaurant has just as much of a chance of over-booking travelers and capturing brand attention as, well, the destination itself.

The problem is, by relying heavily on advertising and marketing service agencies, most DMOs don’t have the capacity, the trade secrets or the incentive to properly train local businesses.  This is unfortunate, and leaves local businesses to rely on their own budget to market, often with costly mistakes.  Even with self-published media sites like Facebook and Google, a lot of ad budget can be wasted if the nuances of closed loop marketing, remarketing and drip marketing are not fired or understood.

I’ve spent a career (hell, almost a lifetime) of 20 years educating, innovating and leading DMOs to their digital success.  In that time, I’ve been fortunate enough to gain access to practices and tools that are not widely talked about outside the halls of global media firms.  At that, very few marketing service firms for destinations employ many, if any of them. I desperately want to shout to the DMO community what a disservice they could be doing to themselves…and if you’ve heard me speak – you know I do!jenn_speaking

I fully realize after working with over 400 DMOs and their stakeholders, that the most effective way to gain a competitive edge for their destination is to make each and every one of their local businesses an absolute powerhouse of digital marketing.  Teaching those businesses how to *actually* connect ROI to earned media, how to pitch and land media exposure every time and the trade secrets to sponsored media opportunities that yield 300x return will give your travel marketing a boost so significant, your board won’t believe it.

Imagine your city/region/state with dozens or hundreds of self-contained digital marketing media shops.  Instead of a stakeholder complaint about a listing or co-op media, imagine the praise lauded by a business owner whose profits have doubled due to the training gained.  Sound too good to be true?  Let’s talk about Destination Amp Camp.

B2B lead warming process in 5 foolproof (but not so easy) steps.

The Holy Grail of content marketing is securing B2B lead marketing permission.  The Rule of 7 is often touted, I’m presenting you with the Rule of 5.  Quicker, easier and infinitely more manageable.

So, you’re gathering emails in hopes of snatching a service sale.  Do you *really* think downloading your white paper means they ‘re ready for  used car pitch?  Nope nope nope.  C’mon.  Did you ask your significant other to marry you on date one?  And, actually – providing your email address for gated content isn’t even date one.  It’s a glance across the room.  You have a lot more work to do, buster.  Thankfully, I’ve done a lot of that hard work for you.  And, while Mamma taught me not to give away the milk for free, I know the real strategy and hard work is in the execution of these steps.  So, I’m quite happy to give you a leg up in your B2B strategy in exchange for your subscription to my blog. (READ:  SUBSCRIBE HERE NOW)

The key to B2B lead nurturing in your outbound communication is service without expectation.

If at any time during these steps, the prospective company happens to be in search of a service you provide, you’ll already be top of mind.  No need for a barrage of hard sale.

You get the gist.  These steps will keep your prospect locked with interest.  They’re at a big party and (if done correctly) you’ll remain the pretty girl in the corner they want to approach.

These steps are nicknamed “The Drip”, “The Funnel”, “The WarmUp”.  Heck, you can call them “The Paper Plate”, just get to using them!

  1. B2B Lead warming outreach
    • If in an email, start with a thank you and deeper introduction.  This needs to come from a human being in your organization (even in automated marketing process).  Explain what inspired your company to provide the said content.  “Our mission is to solve X problem for companies like yours.  Here’s some other information you might like….” Offer them to connect socially.  DO NOT send them to your generic company branded social channels.  Ask them to connect with YOU, human being, through your LinkedIn profile.  After LinkedIn individual connection, feel free to send the other social links to corporate accounts.  This lead does not care about your 586 cat videos and this ain’t that kind of party.
    • If the lead warming is a phone call, your only goal is to warm the relationship.  DO NOT try and sell of offer anything.  This is a thank you call and a little about why you do what you do.  If your call gets returned or you follow a voicemail with an email you *might* go as far as asking for 10 minutes for feedback on downloaded content purely for market research purposes.  If the rapport is instant, I leave it in your capable hands to decide how far to go.  Stranger things have happened than the purple unicorn that is a sale on lead warming calls.
  2. B2B lead Value outreach #1
    • Hey, I just met you..and this is crazy.  But, here’s something else for free…so call me, maybe?
    • This should be email drip #2, it is about them, not you.  If you are already tapped for content you think they might want..recycle!  Turn those words into multimedia (Infographics, PowerPoint slides, Video) with one point from the content expanded or boiled down.
  3. B2B lead Value outreach #2
    • Based on how good your marketing automation is, this step can go down in a few different ways.  Preferably, I already know what you’ve clicked on in previous outreach and if you happened to visit other pages or content on your journey.  The best option is to trigger segmentation based on those habits.  Joe clicks on content then repeatedly goes to your careers page – Joe wants a job, he’s not a potential client.  However, David and Sally click on content, about us and services – they get segmented in to value outreach that gives them more reason to cut out all this flirting and get a proposal from your company.  If the rest of the list didn’t click anything, send them on through this cycle – then rinse and repeat until the timing is right.  On the other hand, you have a competitor sneaking into your gated content, kick that impostor to your own brand of “no more communicado” list and stop training them.
    • It’s going to take a little data science and evaluation on your part to plan these value outreach steps in  meaningful way.  Based on actions, you should know what kind of value your (now segmented) prospects will really appreciate.
  4. B2B lead warming:  The non-paid Offer
    • This step is very important and requires you to really know your list and habits by now.  Should you offer a free 30-minute consultation on X problem?  Maybe a mini-analysis so you can demonstrate future value?  Possibly, it’s just a chance to attend a webinar that’s invitation only.
    • Be strategic, make it count.
  5. The ASK, B2B lead warming’s final step
    • Finally, you say, we can sell something!  Maybe, maybe not.  If you haven’t had any chance to actually talk to this live person yet – you are not selling in the ASK, you are still qualifying.  In my 20 years of B2B sales, the more delayed the sale – the easier the close.  Anticipation makes the heart grow fonder, but I digress.
    • Your ASK goal is to have a reason they will talk to you.  You’ve given them lots of great stuff by now.  You may ask for 20 minutes to get their opinion on X industry or, for market research, like to know what are the top 5 challenges their business faces in light of X market shift.
    • Your ASK is telling them that their brain is valuable to you.

 

If at any time during this process, you get an email, clickstream, phone call or smoke signal that indicates true sales potential, by all means, call THEM.  Set an appointment and put them in the pipeline.  If you do all of this, and still not seeing response…then, honey, the dog didn’t like the dog food.  Suck up your pride and find out where you lost interest.

 

I hope this is helpful to developing your B2B lead process.  It’s very time consuming, but pays in spades for brand perception and top of mind awareness.  When you get really good at these B2B lead warming steps, you’ll be able to predict income from the first point of contact.

 

Radical Strategy

In the world of strategy, there are two camps.  One who play it safe and look for incremental improvement.  And the other who rebukes status quo, and is not afraid to “break the system”.

It’s no secret that I’m part of the radical strategy crew.  If the same effort can be applied and the results are drastically different…why even bother with lukewarm benefits?

Radical Strategy employs these rules:

  1. It breaks the system.  
    • Breaking has a negative connotation, in some views.  But breaking a system ignores fear of competition.  If Zuckerburg were afraid of MySpace…well, you know.  Competition is an advantage in breaking the system.  You can be first, or you can be best.  Let the first guy bear the problems, perfect the issues and provide something better.
  2. Hyper-Responsive becomes the new snooze.
    • Responding to trends is the ol’ standard.  I see it, now I’ll apply it.  In radical strategy, predictions become as germane as reading the daily news.  If someone else is doing it, you are too late my friend.  Predicting the problems of your customers is the super highway to radical strategy.
  3. Failure is it’s fuel.
    • Most strategy is designed to mitigate risk, no failure roadmaps.  That’s a pretty childish approach, IMO.  Failing fast is invaluable knowledge.  If moving fast (see above rule), failure becomes market intelligence, allows for strategic predictions and reevaluates the customers needs by ruling out those tactics.
  4. Collaborate or Die.
    • The mad-scientist/genius approach is a thing of the past.  The brain trust in this modern world means ideas and perspective of a collaborative environment far surpass the “hero” needs of yesterday.  Radical strategy re-imagines competition as collaborators, finds value in the ideas of every team position and looks to unrelated industries for unique partnerships.
  5. Kill the cow.
    • Radical strategy isn’t afraid to compete against itself.  The standard sales in a company becomes competition.  The next generation of greatness does not come from the last decade of sales. (See prediction point #2).  Killing the cow calls for solving customer problems in other categories.  And solving problems is the lifeblood of radical growth.

I challenge you to investigate radical strategy.  Hey, you can plot it and not even take action if fear is your motivator.  That’s your safety net. (^^,)

 

It’s the 4th quarter..I invite you to kick ass. Let me know what your radical is jennifer@jenniferbarbee.com.  Or drop me a line if, you know, you need a radical strategists opinion.

Jenn

You missed the exit.

Dear friends, the shift has hit the fan.

And, your proverbial ass is on the proverbial line.

While you were attending board meetings, tending to operations and only buying media that pitched to you….well, this happened.  We have officially gone past the tipping point in omnichannel communications.  Search has been revolutionized, some even say it’s dead.  Swipe has replaced clicks, as once again the romance industry tells us what’s up.  Banking on your smart phone has increased a bazillion percent (OK, actually 560%, but who’s counting).  Big data has mystified the most seasoned marketers.  Ad agencies are closing doors faster than you can say, “But, the client said…”

So, you didn’t see this coming so fast, you still rely on your cousin/friend/dog sitter because they are “techy”.  Pull up your big girl panties, because I’m about to tell you how to pull this s*** show back on the rails in three (not so easy) steps.

  1. Ruthless Accountability.  You know why it’s easier to sell painkillers than vitamins?  We are quick to go to the doctor when it hurts, but we are (mostly) negligent in preventative care.  You buy into new concepts IF a sales person calls on you, and you make large commitments to the “it” thing.  That doesn’t make you hip.  That makes you lazy.  But, it’s OK.  A little marketing exercise will get you back to Olympian status.  Here’s the straight dope:  You need data-driven decisions. Google Analytics is anecdotal.  Your site traffic is anecdotal. Social listening is anecdotal.  Know what’s not?  Live studies (dare I say Big Data again) that cultivate possibilities instead of history reports.  Stop doing what doesn’t interest anyone.  Start doing what scares you. Kill that crappy site; use Facebook, Pinterest  even SnapChat as brand/store fronts.  The Internet is addicting because it’s fun.  Sales suck because we know you want our money.  Get the data right, give yourself a break then do the thing that scares you the most….breakup with your questionable vendors. Every. Single. One.
  2. Take back control.  Marketing was so much easier when the channels were finite.  Those damn kids have ensured that new marketing channels are infinite.  Television, movies, radio and print have forever changed.  So, how do you control media when the outlets grow an exponential percentage daily.  Yes, yes I said daily.  And, even that is slow as hell in communication that never sleeps.  Hire the smartest people you can find.  Hire them, make them happy, challenged and keep them!  Bring it all in house. Tap into SMEs (subject matter experts) to guide your team, go through them like tissue paper to stay fresh.  The secret to control is marketing that’s not marketing.  Put the trends first, sales second.  When you commit to this strategy, the magic happens.  Taking major risk leaps in media has a payoff either way.  Either you succeed or you learn.  Executing a tactic once or twice and scrapping it because it didn’t impress your boss, isn’t prudent…it’s a lack of faith.  My mentor used to say, either it’s a competency or commitment problem. 
  3. Hyper-responsive is the new snooze.  It’s not enough to “answer” your customers or follow your competition.  Being responsive in marketing is no longer doing your job.  All the while you are building database driven websites, you’re waiting for that brand audit and tweaking your PPC, someone is revolutionizing your industry.

You see, responding to trends isn’t good enough.  Creating trends is your only chance for survival.

OK, so if you have a large enough budget, you’ve probably fooled yourself into thinking you are doing omnichannel media.  Betcha’ a nickel, I can find 10 holes in 15 seconds flat.  Because it’s never “done”, it can’t be done because innovation will never be done.

This may turn some of you off, you might think it’s “preachy”, I prefer to call it persuasive.  I’m that good friend that tells you that you do, indeed, look fat in those jeans.  But, I’ll also shop all day with you and a bottle of good cab stashed in my bag to help you find the ultimate look.