Friday, December 23, 2016

Marketing Today: "What Works?"
Avoiding the Weeds

As marketers it’s easy to get mired in details and find yourself deep in the weeds.

“What Works?” and evil twin, “What’s Working Now?” are always on our minds. Internet advice is free. Top 10 lists and clever infographics abound. We are told ad nauseam, “Advertising is dead.” “Social media is king.” “Content is king.” “Video posts perform higher.” “Big data solves all.” “Just download our eBook.” And a hundred others. Still a gnawing gut feeling remains.

The goal of our “What Works” series is to target a weed-less big picture.

Tactics and execution matter. Yet drivers are key. Our first posting in this series promised a look at foundational thinking. Beliefs that offer informed direction no matter a brand’s business challenges—and, we might add, opportunities. We aim to make good on that pledge.

Our next posting will take up with #1 of a small set of core marketing beliefs. Beliefs to which my agency teams—and clients—turn. Because we find they work. Time and again.  Across industry verticals. Generating needed marketing solutions, creating fresh opportunities and satisfying business objectives with real-world results. Replacing worries of accountability with celebrations minor and occasionally major.

Stay tuned. Feel free to agree and disagree. We never claim all the answers. Your path may have paved similar and different directions. Great for you! So share. The marketing community is competitive and supportive.

As amends for my meanderings, a hint. Belief #1 ain’t tactical. It gets right to the heart. Meanwhile, let’s both try to avoid the weeds.

Paul Hydzik
Brand Catalyst

Image and blog © Paul J. Hydzik All rights reserved.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Marketing Today: What Works?

Over spring rolls and Pho at a neighborhood Vietnamese mom-and-pop, a new client asked a deceptively simple two-word question about marketing today. She asked,

“What works?”

Actually, this may be the question for all modern marketers—especially with ever-expanding social media options and data-driven marketing’s ascendancy.

We chatted for an hour discussing numerous what-ifs based on her blue chip client-side leadership and my mix of big agency and client-side work. Among our shared successes we proposed dozens of sure things. Brilliant branding. Smart strategies, tactics and tools. Audience insights and segmentation. Creativity and content. We discussed brand culture and the roles of talent, innovation and risk-taking. Plus data, predictive analytics and marketing automation. Sophisticated marketers and aspiring ones. Big and tightly-focused budgets.

Our discussion’s wealth illuminated too many factors to be foundational thinking. So I set about to capsulize a modern set of core marketing beliefs. Beliefs that would offer informed direction no matter what a brand’s business challenges.

Funny how fundamentals become automatic—like an athlete’s muscle memory. Until jogged, we can forget foundational thinking is something our clients crave from their agency partners.

Between assignments, I penned, tossed out, fretted with clients and reimagined a core of seven modern marketing beliefs. Adding rigor, I tested them against current process and results—and went back to the well to ensure some measure of future-proofing—until comfortable they reliably drive client success.

Look for our next postings as I share these beliefs. Meanwhile, challenge yourself, your marketing team, your creatives and your social media and brand agency partners.

Ask, “What works.” Then ask, “When and why?”

Paul Hydzik
Brand Catalyst

©2016 Paul J. Hydzik  All rights reserved