Watch Out for Strategy Bubbles
Marketing isn’t the only profession to obsess over the latest trend or “next big thing.” For the past five years, I have been the editor Target Marketing’s sister brand — Publishing Executive — covering the media and publishing industry. As of January 2019, I added the role of content director for Target Marketing. Many of the same trends and buzzwords marketers have endured crossed my desk in the media space in those past five years as well; whether it be social media, mobile or big data.
Not one of those “next big things” turned out to be the cure-all or kill-all.
So what’s the lesson in this? First, that we should be cautious about devoting too much mental bandwidth to any single phenomenon. Otherwise, we end up with marketing strategy bubbles that absorb an outsized measure of our attention, and which have major opportunity costs. This isn’t to suggest that social media or mobile haven’t had a tremendous impact on marketing — but in hindsight, we can probably admit we’ve allowed the bright shiny object to distract us.
Second, past hype cycles should help us realize that we should be striving for strategic equilibrium, where all of the components of our brand strategy, talent and technology resources, and business objectives are aligned. It’s not one specific thing that will determine our success or failure; but rather, how we align all of our tools and strategic focus.
The idea of “marketing connectivity” — bringing together various functions within the marketing team itself and acting as the glue between other parts of the organization — explores some of the key areas marketers should focus on in order to achieve unified brand experiences. Disruption will continue to occur in ways we can’t know. But those brands that have the right tools, people, culture and systems in place in anticipation of future disruptions will absorb change much more smoothly.
Denis Wilson was previously content director for Target Marketing, Publishing Executive, and Book Business, as well as the FUSE Media and BRAND United summits. In this role, he analyzed and reported on the fundamental changes affecting the media and marketing industries and aimed to serve content-driven businesses with practical and strategic insight. As a writer, Denis’ work has been published by Fast Company, Rolling Stone, Fortune, and The New York Times.