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Five Marketing Trends That Only a CMO Contemplating Career Suicide Would Ignore

by Tom Shapiro  |  
November 7, 2011

In this article, you'll learn...

  • Five digital marketing trends you can't afford to ignore
  • How to adapt your marketing efforts to customers' behavior

Marketing is changing and evolving at a rapid pace. To keep up, chief marketing officers (CMOs) need to consistently look into their crystal ball to keep their companies in the spotlight—and ahead of the competition.

Here are five major changes taking shape in 2012 that only a CMO willing to commit career suicide would ignore.

1. A Return to Strategy

The marketing world has been abuzz about every possible digital marketing tactic in the book, including mobile couponing, augmented reality, and real-time bidding by digital media exchanges. Many CMOs become entranced by those bright and shiny digital marketing options. However, the smartest CMOs understand that tactics come and go, and those CMOs are going to be the ones leading a movement back to strategy.

Focus on the right strategy, and you'll develop a winning marketing formula. Look at successful companies such as Apple, Procter & Gamble, and Nordstrom. Their clear strategies get real business results—regardless of the tactics they employ at any given moment.

One national food brand invested in every imaginable new marketing tactic to drive traffic to its website. However, the site experience was so out of sync with what site visitors wanted that they never returned. (Analytics showed a dismal 1:1 visit-to-visitor ratio for the brand's site.) Consequently, the company's marketing campaigns delivered a bad brand experience, doing more damage than good. Ironically, as the company implemented more tactics, it did more damage.

Instead, the food brand needed to thrill customers and prospects by showing—on its site, in its ads, and at the supermarket—how it helped them achieve their goals. And that starts with a clear strategy. Follow the lead of companies like Apple: Unlock what thrills your customers, and your tactics will be much more effective.

2. Channel Integration

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Tom Shapiro is the CEO of Stratabeat, a branding and marketing agency. He is also the author of Rethink Your Marketing: 7 Strategies to Unleash Revenue Growth.

Twitter: @tomshapiro

LinkedIn: Tom Shapiro

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  • by Addie Palin Mon Nov 7, 2011 via web

    This article does a great job of capturing all of the complexities that a marketer faces today. Navigating that landscape definitely starts with strategy--but strategy can't be abandoned as soon as it's determined.

    With so many different channels to address, marketers often with more than one partner in order to execute their campaigns--be they agencies, digital partners, promotional partners, etc. It's the CMO's responsibility to ensure that every single partner, no matter how shallow their role may be, understands the larger strategy and how it affects their output.

    As an agency, we are often working side-by-side with our clients to set strategy and develop the subsequent creative campaign. We respect, and even embrace, our clients' need to engage other partners to ensure the best possible execution. But it pains us to see--and we see it all too often--a lack of communication about the core campaign strategy to those partners, resulting in many of the disjointed customer experiences mentioned above.

  • by Ian Henderson Mon Nov 7, 2011 via web

    Another technology coming up in popularity is QR codes. But again, they only are effective when used as part of a strategy and deliver quality content. As every on the web, quality content is king. Thank you for a really good article.

  • by Ken Mon Nov 7, 2011 via web

    This is the type of old content cluttering the internet. This stuff is 30 years old, actually older -- back to the late 50s on Madison Avenue. Adding the word "mobile" or phrase "social media" doesn't present new thinking. If this is intended for recent graduates, then it's helpful.

  • by Gordon Plutsky Mon Nov 7, 2011 via web

    Very nice article. Many marketers lose sight of strategic objectives and get lost in tactics and jumping on whatever new wave is the flavor of the month. Also, good point on multichannel marketing and online/offline integration - no consumer ever makes a decision based on only one media platform or type of content.

  • by Howie at Sky Pulse Media Tue Nov 8, 2011 via web

    Many valid points here. But the biggest is CMO beware. Advertising and Marketing Agencies make their money convincing you to spend money with them whether it is a good idea or not. They do not make more by helping you be smarter. Quite the opposite.

  • by Michael Baer Tue Nov 8, 2011 via web

    To me, it's not a "return to strategy" (although having a strategic foundation is important), it's a merger of strategy and brilliant execution that I call "stratecution". Smart, creative, business-driving strategy that nails execution across channels and drives the right consumer behaviors/actions. Check out my blog:

  • by Tom Shapiro Wed Nov 9, 2011 via web

    Many thanks, everyone, for all of your comments and feedback. Greatly appreciated!

    Addie - Thank you for your comments. Totally agree with you that partner integration is critical for the success of any marketing strategy.

    Ian - Thanks. Agreed that QR Codes are popular now among certain marketers. Consumer usage numbers are still relatively low, but we'll see how it all takes shape moving forward. And agreed that QR Codes, like any tactic, need to map to an overarching, effective strategy.

    Gordon - Thanks for your comments. Yes, agreed, multichannel marketing and online/offline integration are absolutely critical now.

    Howie - Many thanks for your input. Great point about the need to help clients become smarter. Good marketing agencies do that.

    Michael - Thanks for your comments. Love the idea of "stratecution". Great stuff. Thanks.

  • by Jan Wed Nov 9, 2011 via web

    Good article and should be mandatory reading for any marketing student. Same message thatís been in marketing for eons, but now we have the thrill of multi-platforms. Like the word "stratecution" but would rather use ďsyncecutionĒ because if we donít sync up the central strategical message across all platforms, itís just a waste of time and money for everyone.

  • by Misty Young Fri Nov 11, 2011 via web

    Great article. I'd love to see several one sentence definitions of strategy - not the dictionary version, YOUR versions. Ready, set, go:

  • by Bob Sanders Wed May 30, 2012 via web

    Good overview of the changes, but doesn't this require that marketing structures change as well?

    Simply adding new layers and titles isnít enough anymore. Just as the advent of television created the need for whole new structures, the challenges will drive change throughout the traditional marketing arena, including traditional roles and responsibilities.

    The role of leadership is to help create the vision and to make it happen. If this means changing the structure, roles, responsibilities to best take advantage of this then so be it.

    I wrote about this here:

    Bob Sanders

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