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Four Mistakes That Can Kill Your Brand Campaigns

by Mark Grilli  |  
December 4, 2015

It's no secret that the days of just "the three screens" are long gone. When that world died, the old wisdom of targeted, by-the-numbers ad buys died, too.

So, instead, these days we hear a lot of talk about brand-centric conversations and always-on marketing. And the people using those buzzwords often have no idea what they mean. I know that because I regularly see marketers ignore the implications of those concept and go right on making branding mistakes that undercut their marketing goals.

Here are four of the biggest mistakes I see, and some thoughts on how to fix them.

1. Forgetting the 'Always' Part of 'Always-On Marketing'

At Adobe, we talk a lot about the idea of always-on marketing—the idea that it's now impossible to control where and how customers interact with your brand.

We used to be able to control at least some of those interactions from the brand end: You'd present your message on traditional channels, such as TV, or conduct face-to-face outreach programs, and you could generally lead the conversation from the top down. The Web, in general—social media, in particular—has shifted that paradigm: Now, maybe 10% of the conversation is led by marketers while the rest takes shape from the bottom up, from the customer base itself.

The upshot is that your brand conversation needs to be open to adapting to these customer-led interactions. Staying "on-message" is counterproductive if that message isn't resonating with customers—or, far worse, if it's leading to mockery of your brand.

That's not to say you can't help guide the conversation. You can, to a small extent: When those unexpected online conversations happen, you need to show up, add value, be transparent, and say something clever or useful. Otherwise, you're shooting your own brand in the foot.

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Mark Grilli is vice-president of product marketing for Document Cloud at Adobe, where he is responsible for worldwide marketing strategy and implementation of Adobe Document Cloud and Acrobat DC. Prior to joining Adobe, he was a co-founder of an e-learning startup.

LinkedIn: Mark Grilli

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  • by Corey Livingston Fri Dec 4, 2015 via web

    Hey Mark - Good article. However, I am fond of using the phrase 'always on' marketing to describe my team's digital and integrated marketing vision. Always on is not at all a buzzword in my company given the outdated marketing ideas that persist in our culture. When I talk about always-on campaigns, my internal stakeholders connect viscerally with the idea. I'm not sure who exactly you are referring to when you assert that people using those buzzwords [always on] often have no idea what they mean". In my case, we're all about aligning our marketing with how people buy - versus how we want to sell - and ensuring near real-time optimization of our campaigns/conversations based on buyer response/engagement. We refer to this as a responsive, always-on marketing/campaign architecture.

  • by Mark Grilli Tue Dec 8, 2015 via web

    Hi Corey

    It sounds like your team has really embraced the concept and put it to action. What I have seen is that it just takes a while to truly embrace and adopt the practice of "Always on" and that it can be more buzzword than action in some cases. For us, it is a rally cry for change in how we do things.. not question.

    thanks for the comment and feedback! much appreciated.


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