The Modern Marketer [Infographic]

Through my posts on Brand Manager 2.0, I have written quite a bit about how technology is changing the job of a marketer today.  Of course, that means I was quite a fan of this infographic from Pardot which talks about a Modern Marketer being part artists and part scientist.  In their words, a modern marketer must master:

  • Written Content
  • Visual Assets
  • Social Media
  • Email Marketing
  • Performance Tracking
  • Budgeting and Operations
  • Analytics
  • Campaign Performance

Courtesy of Pardot, an Exact Target Company

Five themes of Brand Manager 2.0 [presentation]

Over the past year, I have written several times about a trend I call “Brand Manager 2.0″  Whether it’s becoming a Marketing Technopologist or facilitating conversations with consumers, Brand Manager 2.0 is about evolving as marketers to the changing landscape around us. I put the together the below presentation to talk more about this trend of Brand Manager 2.0 and to showcase examples of companies and brands who are doing it well.

Now is the time to become a Marketing Technopologist

On July 1, 1941 the Bulova Watch Company ushered in a new era when the first television advertisement in the United States was broadcast on New York City’s NBC station.  Over 65 years later, television advertising is the dominant form of marketing with over $70 billion spent in the United States alone.

For the traditional Brand Manager, television advertising has been king for a long time.  In fact, TV is so central to the marketing plans of most Brand Managers that it is the vehicle everything has revolved around for decades.  In fact, at many companies “TV Copy Training” is the first class that new marketers attend as new hire.  And as a result, Brand Managers have become expert Mass Marketers.  They have made a fine art out of investing in mass media that will deliver a common message to the most people possible.  Brand Managers have built entire brands, even companies, on the concepts of reach, frequency, day parts and wear out where sales and ROI are closely predicted and measured.

But the days of the Mass Marketer are waning thanks to multi-tasking consumers and the emergence of ad-skipping technologies.  Jupiter Research estimated that $12 billion dollars worth of TV advertising was blown away by TiVo and similar devices in 2007.  That means over 15% of TV advertising that Brand Managers bought in 2007 was completely wasted, without even accounting for the number of ads that were missed by multi-tasking or that reach the wrong consumer.

Something has to change for the Brand Managers of tomorrow.

In my opinion, the change that needs to take place is for Brand Managers to develop the skills of a Marketing Technopologist.  So what is a Marketing Technopologist?  Well first consider this fact.  According to the social media writer Paul Gillin, “It took 40 years for the TV to reach 2/3 of homes in the US.  The Internet did it less than 15 years.”

This means marketers need to master a tool that wasn’t even in existence 15 years ago but today is a dominant form of media.  Thus, a Marketing Technopologist (a term coined by the Wall Street Journal) will bring together the strengths of marketing, technology and social interaction.  They will be a person who combines the skills of marketer, technologist, and social anthropologist to study how digital advance are changing culture and media.  They don’t walk away from the traditional tools of marketing and Brand Management, but instead embrace breakthrough digital tools to create a new way of doing business.  A Digital Marketer will be as comfortable talking about new technology as they reviewing creative with their agency.  This new breed of Brand Manager 2.0 will lead marketers away from tools based on mass reach and instead act as Digital Marketers to understand the convergence of media and technology in new, ever-evolving ways.  They will invest in brand experience and brand utility, using digital to create meaningful interactions with consumers.  Simply put, they will stop shouting at consumers.

Fact:  Only 24% of U.S. marketers consider their firms to be “digitally savvy”. –eMarketer

For the marketer willing to evolve into Marketing Technopologists, there is tremendous opportunity.  If eMarketer is right, 3 out of 4 companies (both brand companies AND agencies) are not ready for this new world of Digital Marketers.  So the Brand Manager that is willing to lead the charge will have an invaluable competitive advantage…but for their brands and in their own careers.  Seth Godin summed up this opportunity when he wrote that:

“I think a new divide has opened up, one that is based far more on choice than on circumstance. Several million people (and the number is growing, daily) have chosen to become the haves of the Internet, and at the same time that their number is growing, so are their skills….Today, though, the Net is far more robust and far more ubiquitous than it used to be. And it’s bloggers who are setting the agenda on everything from politics to culture. It’s bloggers that journalists and politicians look to as the first and the loudest….As a result, your most-connected, most influential customers are part of the digerati. They can make or break your product, your service or even your religion’s new policies. Because the Net is now a broadcast (and a narrowcast) medium, the digerati can spread ideas.”

Brand Managers who embrace the mindset of a Marketing Technopologist have the opportunity to become the “digerati” of their profession.

The new job of a Brand Manager is to facilitate conversations & community

What we really need is a mind-set shift…that will make us relevant for today’s consumers.  From ‘telling and selling’ to building relationships.” – Jim Stengel, Former P&G CMO at 2007 AAAA Conference

One of the most glamorous parts of a Brand Manager’s job has always been creating television advertising.  In fact, it ranks up there as one of the top reasons many became marketers in the first part.  After all, creating a television advertising campaign was something you could be proud of.  It was something that others would see and congratulate you about.  It was the part of your job that your mother would actually understand.  And arguably most importantly, creating a breakthrough advertising campaign was the single best way to grow your business.  If you could orchestrate an effective advertising campaign in the hearts and minds of your consumers, you could guarantee your brand success for years to come.

Recognizing the power of advertising campaigns, Bob Garfield and the folks at Advertising Age published a list of the Top 100 Advertising Campaigns of the 20th Century.  In doing so, they used criteria that included:

  1. If it was a watershed, discernibly changing the culture of advertising or the popular culture as a whole.
  2. If it itself was credited with creating a category, or if by its efforts a brand became entrenched in its category as No. 1.
  3. If it was simply unforgettable.

The list included such memorable campaigns as Nike “Just Do It” (#4), DeBeers “A Diamond is Forever (#6) and Burger King “Have It Your Way” (#24).  Interestingly though, only three of the campaigns in the Top 100 were created after 1990 (Got Milk, This is SportsCenter and Coca-Cola’s Always).

Even in 1999, this should have been a sign that times were changing.

Consumers were growing tired of fancy TV advertising campaigns and were beginning to tune them out even years before DVR’s started to penetrate households.  So while the leading advertising publication was celebrating the past, consumers were starting to look towards the future.  The glitz and glamour of orchestrating traditional advertising campaigns was starting to tarnish.

“Though consumers may be adept at tuning out traditional, top-down marketing messages, they’re proactively using technology to conduct their own brand research to decide whether or not to pursue a relationship…In addition, whether spurred by a user review, a Google search, a brand site or a mobile application, technology has created multiple entry points to engage with a brand. And although it may be hard for marketers to predict that entry point, it’s a safe bet the interaction will be digital. In fact, consumers’ first interactions with brands are commonly through digital technology.” – Bob Greenberg, AdWeek

If the time of orchestrating carefully managed advertising campaigns is coming to an end, what will fill the void?  As I’ve written before, the answer of course is digital and the ability it creates to facilitate conversations and community.  In the new world, Brand Managers will play the role of a moderator in the brand’s community.  These communities will help us co-create our brands while we incorporate their voices into brand-building activities to communicate a balance of performance and emotional attributes.

“Brands have to look at themselves as offering a service to consumers. What you do as a brand is going to be more important than what you say. In the world of Mad Men, the brands were the ones that told the stories about themselves. In this world, the best brands let the consumers tell the stories—and they talk back.” Nigel Morris, CEO, Isobar

A change in who tells the story

For the past 65 years, brands controlled the storytelling.  It was easy to push messages to people because we had a captive audience sitting in front of the TV.  And people put up with our commercial interruptions because in return they received entertainment.  But now, thanks to technology, consumers have taken back control and they are the ones telling the stories about our brands.  A new breed of Brand Managers recognize this fundamental shift and instead of fighting it, they embrace it.  They are joining in the conversations and using those conversations as the foundation for a community around their brand.

This requires a different skill set for today’s Brand Manager.  In the old world, we were trained on managing our agencies, writing creative briefs and evaluating communication ideas (ie TV spots & print ads).  In other words, we were really good at telling other people what to do.  But thanks to the power shift driven by digital, we need to stop talking and start listening.  And once we have learned how to listen, we need to strike up a conversation.  The shift is going to be in how we have that conversation.  We can’t show up at the party and just talk about ourselves and why we are special.  Instead, we need to let consumers talk about what they like and express their feelings.  Even better, we need to let consumers tell each other what they think without us interrupting (take a look at how Zappos uses Get Satisfaction for a good example).

The story they tell each other will be more credible and more believable than any story we could ever hope to tell them through advertising.

Take for instance the case of Innocent, makers of what they call “little tasty drinks.”  This is a company that is built upon the concept of facilitating conversations and community with their consumers.  As they tell the story of their founding:

“In the summer of 1998 when we had developed our first smoothie recipes but were still nervous about giving up our proper jobs, we bought £500 worth of fruit, turned it into smoothies and sold them from a stall at a little music festival in London. We put up a big sign saying ‘Do you think we should give up our jobs to make these smoothies?‘ and put out a bin saying ‘YES’ and a bin saying ‘NO’ and asked people to put the empty bottle in the right bin. At the end of the weekend the ‘YES’ bin was full so we went in the next day and resigned.”

Since that fateful weekend in 1998, Innocent has continued to make their consumers feel as if they have a vested interest in the company.  In fact, Innocent does everything they can to make people feel like employees of the company rather than just consumers of the products.  Take for instance these examples of Innocent facilitating conversation and communition:

  • Every year Innocent hosts an AGM (known as an Annual General Meeting to big companies…or A Grown-Up Meeting to Innocent fans).  At the AGM’s, hundreds of passionate Innocent fans have the chance to learn more about life at the company headquarters.  They spend the day talking about the business, letting the attendees vote on recipes to launch and even answering tough questions about carbon footprint.  At the end, the AGM is a celebration of the Innocent community.
  • In December 2008 the company enrolled the “wisdom of the crowds” in their traditional” advertising when they reached out to their fans through the Innocent News e-mail newsletter.  In the newsletter, Innocent asked fans to look at rough versions of ads and “Vote for your favourite, or tell us that you think they’re all rubbish and that we should do something with a dog dressed up as a sailor on a trapeze.”

But have these efforts to build community translated into a successful company?  Well in 2008, the company was selling over 2 million smoothies a week and had a 72 percent market share (according to IRI in August 2008).  Sounds like a brand can succeed without orchestrating expensive advertising campaigns.

Innocent is just one of many companies leading the change in how Brand Managers need to think about building brands.  The fact is that all of us need to understand that building a successful brand in today’s world means playing by a different set of rules.  It requires us to embrace facilitating conversations and community like never before.  It is a change that won’t be easy for many, but will be necessary for all.

Brand Managers Need to Practice Consumer Collaboration

Several weeks ago, I had the honor to write a guest post for the Google CPG Blog.  If you aren’t familiar with this blog, it is a highly recommended read for anyone on the brand or agency side working in CPG.  Below is a repost of my thoughts on Brands and Consumer Collaboration.

Brand Managers have historically been reliant on Consumer Research such as focus groups and surveys to be “in-touch” with consumers. But in this day of 24/7 access to consumer opinions from blogs, Twitter, and Facebook, Brand Managers need a new approach for understanding why people buy their brands. One of the most powerful ways to do so is through Consumer Collaboration. In its most simplistic form, Consumer Collaboration is about monitoring and participating in the conversations around our brands, listening to changing opinions in real-time. It is about tapping into what Google calls the “Database of Consumer Intentions” to gain a new sense of what our consumers are thinking each and every day. In fact, Google is a company making it easy for marketers to be in touch with the “database of intentions” every day through tools like Wonder Wheel, Insights for Search, Blog Search, and YouTube Insights for Video.

But true Consumer Collaboration is about going beyond that, giving marketers a chance to tap into the passion of consumers and collaborate with brand advocates. The world of digital gives CPG Marketers the chance to harness the energy of consumers to build remarkable brands.

In that regard, the need for moving towards a mindset of Consumer Collaboration is driven by three facts:

  1. Consumers are sharing their opinions about the brand, with, or without, a Brand Manager’s blessing.
  2. Consumers will be heard whether or not companies give them an outlet.
  3. The amount of information about our brands (and access to that information) has never been greater.

Today’s Brand Managers must recognize a new approach to move beyond research and instead focus on collaborating with our consumers and your most passionate fans. This means we should invite consumers to collaborate with us to improve our brand. Scott Cook, founder of Intuit and Board Member of P&G, eBay and Amazon calls these “User Contribution Systems.” As Cook pointed out in the Harvard Business Review:

“Every day, millions of people make all kinds of voluntary contributions to companies — from informed opinions to computing resources — that create tremendous value for this firm’s customers and, consequently, for their shareholders.”

This fact has not been lost on CPG Brand Marketers. Whether it is Tide using the services of Get Satisfaction, or Hugo Boss Fragrance tapping into consumer creativity with HugoCreate.com, brands are starting to see the true value of Consumer Collaboration.

However, one of the best examples actually comes from a non-CPG company: Starbucks with their program, MyStarbucksIdea.com. Launched in March 2008, the site arrived one year after Howard Schultz famously wrote an internal memo that said “[we] desperately need to look into the mirror and realize it’s time to get back to the core and make the changes necessary to evoke the heritage, the tradition, and the passion that we all have for the true Starbucks experience.” MyStarbucksIdea was a way to regain that heritage and passion by inviting Starbucks loyalists to collaborative on reinvigorating the brand. As Starbucks describes the site:

What would make your Starbucks experience perfect? We know you’ve got ideas – big ideas, little ideas, maybe even totally revolutionary ideas – and we want to hear them all. That’s why we created My Starbucks Idea. So you can share the ideas that matter to you and you can find out how we’re putting those ideas to work. Together, we will shape the future of Starbucks.

When the site first launched, the critics classified it as nothing more than a “glorified comment card.” But over the past year, Starbucks has shown that they are truly committed to making the site much more than that. In the spirit of Consumer Collaboration, Starbucks enrolls people throughout the lifetime of an idea. At the heart of the process is a team of Idea Partners – Starbucks employees who are experts in their respective field. These Idea partners read all ideas and comments on the site, but also guide ideas through the Starbucks organization. And just as important, they keep consumers up to date via the Ideas in action blog where Starbucks writes about the ideas that are recommended for implementation and details where they are in the process (Under Review, Reviewed, Coming Soon or Launched).

This is consumer collaboration at its finest. Starbucks isn’t inviting consumers to a two hour focus group where they give ideas and never talk to the company again. Instead they are inviting people to give their opinions and providing an outlet to do so. The result is that consumers are acting like part-owners of the company because their ideas are being heard. More brands need to follow the lead of Starbucks in this area, leveraging the power of digital to practice true Consumer Collaboration.