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.

 

Destination NOW: When “content” planning steals the magic

I’m a big planner, my lists have lists.  I like to know what I’m doing and the warm feeling of predictability.  I frequently speak and coach on the power of storytelling and encourage my clients to think forward.  Recently, I have discovered how damn wrong I’ve been. Don’t get me wrong, you can plan around events, happenings and themes (like Holidays), but pre-writing social posts for a month (as some clients ask agencies to do) steals the authentic communication between you and consumers.  Social Media experts may have guidelines to promote a product, but you can’t predict brand banter, fan shares or – God forbid – crisis communication.

The power of NOW is the key to engagement.

The Internet moves as fast as the Internet.  If your content planner can accurately predict a month out what’s hot online; please have them call me – I’d like lotto numbers.

You need hyper-reactive master communicators to really glean the best interaction with your followers/fans/friends.  A bit of a sense of humor doesn’t hurt either.

WHAT YOU CAN PLAN:  Blog posts, press releases, events, special deals and offers, campaign themes

WHAT YOU CAN’T PLAN:  trending hashtags, news stories, daily banter, fan shares, anything that needs authenticity

Getting into the Now of communication is the key to dating your audience.

And, that’s what you need – someone excellent at dating:  listening, flirting and closing the deal.  A measure of trust is required, because you aren’t 100% sure what’s going to post next.

Down the line of dating, think back (if you’re my age) – you know where you are going and how you are going to dress – but I know you haven’t planned out the conversation like a script.  If you have, please get help.

“Content”, which is such  boring word, should be natural, curious and respond to your audience.  Think Journalism vs novels.  Journalists respond and listen, novels are a one-way communicator.

So, before you buy a “pack of 50 social posts” from a vendor, ask yourself what you are really paying for?  Stop buying yesterday and invest in now.  Let your fan base guide your process.  Stay curious, keep listening, joke, play and respond until they let you put a ring on it – aka – convert to buyers.