I love coming across someone writing about core issues in our field of marketing that you totally agree with, but seldom here discussed in the trenches with actual clients and campaigns.
For me, Alan Mitchell’s March 10th post for Marketing magazine on reinventing marketing is just that and much more. You can learn a lot from considering the way Mitchell explains these six issues.
#1 – Personal information management. People manage their own info today, so organizations need to understand how and why people want and use their info. Different circumstances, jobs, and situations require different flow of info between people and companies.
#2 – Consumer-decision making. It’s more critical than ever to understand how people make decisions. When you do that, you put why we make the decisions we do in the proper context.
#3 – Brands as information services. One way Mitchell offers to reinvent branding.
#4 – Touchpoints. People choose the touchpoints that help them achieve their goals the most efficiently and effectively. As Mitchell says so well, touchpoints are no longer a means to an end, they need to be selected based on the value they provide to the consumer. He also notes that products, services, marketing… all touchpoints.
#5 – Marketing and market metrics. I’ve been saying this forever, but 99% of the industry still tracks things in this very one-sided way. Advertisers measure how much they spend to reach a specific number of a group of people, and what business they pick up. The metrics capturing what happens in between, the consumer’s personal outcomes, are not included. They have to be if you’re going to be able to address points 1 through 4 above.
#6 – Value propositions. Mitchell’s summary is these 5 issues mean value needs to be defined from a people-centric perspective, not a company- or organization-centric point of view.
I not only whole-heartedly agree with Mitchell’s articulation of these issues, I think his explanations and examples make it easy to understand and, hopefully for brands, to apply.
In recent years working with brands who get this control shift, it has been my experience the best way to be prepared to address these “killer issues” (borrowing from Mitchell’s naming) is to more fully understand the way people make decisions. When we’ve studied the stages of a decision-making process, the triggers that activate behavior or response, the outcomes sought, and the influences (or influencers or both) along the way, we’ve been able to help organizations understand where they can add the most value along that journey.
It boils down to being relevant and adding utility so people choose to interact with you. Relevance. Utility (or usefulness). Interaction.
When you think that way, you add metrics to those you track for your marketing efforts. What do you add? The degree to which people, with whom you are trying to connect, reach the outcomes important to them along this journey. When you understand the journey, you can see what people want to think, feel, or do in order to accomplish their goals. More importantly, you know which outcomes make your products, services, or information relevant and useful. Bingo. Track these metrics in addition to how much you spend and how much you gain in business, then you’re tracking what matters in the system. Then you can have authentic interaction with people — real relationships.
Alan – thanks for shedding more light and teaching me a thing or two with your packaging of these very real issues. I’m sure Mitchell has a lot more worth reading at his website.