CMOs and marketing departments have a clear mandate: create new customers, new revenue and new relationships – cheaper, better, and faster. The expectation is unequivocally to demonstrate business value and show direct contribution. If they can’t, the best case is reduced marketing budgets and irrelevance to the business. The worst case – you’re fired!
To meet this new mandate, CMOs and their team of marketers are NOW focused on creating their own attention, their own audience, their own content – effectively becoming media companies. A big shift from just relying on clever advertising messages, industry trade shows, and traditional media buys to build awareness with passive readers/viewers/attendees.
Marketers are paddling as fast as possible to combine paid (content syndication, advertising, lead gen) with earned (social, PR, community) and owned (web site, thought leadership, content marketing) marketing and media channels to build their own attention. To underline this tsunami of change, Outsell, Inc. research says that more than $72B in marketing spend has shifted from traditional media to investing in company’s own web sites, own content and own digital systems. You may recognize some very wealthy benefactors of this trend – Google? Facebook? LinkedIn? Eloqua?
The paddling has resulted in many companies investing in super-powered web sites, social and landing pages galore, and growing libraries of content all expected to feed the investment made in sales CRM and marketing email systems. But marketers are quickly discovering they don’t have the fuel to power these new shiny engines they have spent big bucks and time building. That fuel is a sizeable target audience to discover and nurture prospective customers. CMOs and their teams are frustrated by the complexity and lack of progress. Their agency partners – called to answer the bell - are handcuffed by the inefficiency of working across tens of thousands of sites, hundreds of ad and content syndication networks, and unpredictable pricing models, let alone trying to understand the needs of finicky consumers and business professionals who want to interact on their terms.
A very seasoned experienced CMO in the Telecomm market shared his frustration, “…we built the Taj Mahal of marketing systems and spend big bucks on performance marketing and online and mobile advertising, yet we are not consistently getting the right kind of traffic or leads to our sites or from our programs. Weak visitors means we have almost zero chance to achieve our goal of creating new prospects and customers. It’s a numbers game we have to figure out.”
The ad tech industry hasn’t been much help at any kind of scale, yet. Despite genuine intentions, the industry is swimming in a sea of acronyms and algorithms horse trading with each other to generate traffic and impressions. The result has been a lack of transparency and fragmented data that marketing and media pros can’t act on. Today’s options are simply not meeting the demands to help brands build the attention and audience they need to succeed.
Having lived the good, the bad and the ugly sitting in the center of the collision of marketing, media and technology, I see tremendous potential for marketers in this new era. I recently joined Integrate as CMO to focus on empowering marketers and media pros to cost effectively plan and maximize investments in performance and online marketing. We believe the joystick and control needs to be directly in the hands of marketing and media pros charged with generating audience, courting prospects and creating customers.
I look forward to hearing where you and your team are on this journey and comparing notes on the fastest path to master the “build your own attention” mandate. I can be reached on Twitter @ScottAVaughan or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.