Marketing has evolved a great deal over the past several years. More channels, more devices, new technologies, more data — the list goes on. Marketers have become used to being highly adaptive to keep pace with change.

Most marketers I talk to discuss all the things they do to keep up with the changing landscape and tend to look at themselves as pace-setters in the space. But I think most of them are missing one of the biggest changes in our space: the imperative of marketing to meet the needs and desires of the customer.

In this post, I’ll explore what’s clouded the vision of today’s marketers, how the true mission of marketers has been obscured and what we must do to address it.

Let’s get started.

The rise of data in our space is gold. It’s what allows us to understand KPIs (key performance indicators), hit CPA (cost per acquisition) targets and drive revenue for clients. It allows us to get a better understanding of which channels are working and how customers are engaging and converting.

Marketing organizations now have data analysts spending 100 percent of their time looking at data and determining how best to take advantage of it.

Data, overwhelming as it can be, is a good thing. But its rise has had one critical and unintended side effect: Marketers and brands have become so dependent on driving strategy from data that they have lost sight of what marketing’s mission should be.

The mission of marketing is to delight the customer, to inspire someone to become emotionally connected to a brand, to motivate and encourage, to evoke feeling.

Let’s go back to the days of “Mad Men” marketing. Let’s take a look at the days on Madison Avenue where some of the greatest advertising of our time took place.

These marketers didn’t have data — not in the sense that we know it today. They put together campaigns based on what they felt and what they thought would inspire and delight the customer.

Those days were gold, and it showed us the value in “feel” marketing and not doing everything based on a data point or dollar sign.

(Now, let me be clear: Marketing needs to drive revenue. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t use data and hit specific acquisition KPIs. I’m all for that. I’m just arguing for more balance. But back to the sermon.)

So where does this problem exist the most? ...

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