2015: A year of innovation, investigation, initiation, integration


In the world of publishing, media, and advertising — in which I have lived, breathed, and thrived for more than three decades — the dynamic, constantly changing, inconsistent, and unpredictable nature of its eclectic DNA never fails to excite and intrigue me.

Marketing as a discipline is neither an art nor a science. And it continues to challenge practitioners the world over to adapt, change, try, learn, innovate, experiment, and, in the scheme of things, strive to bag enough winners on the run.

For most, you are only as good as your last product launch, advertising campaign, on-ground activation, pricing scheme, publicity stunt, in-store promotion, channel strategy.

The uni-dimensional era of yesterday has, within a very short period of time, exponentially evolved into the full-blown multi-dimensional universe of today. Education, exposure, and experience have spawned more than a slew of high-pedigree professional marketers the world over.

The four Ps many of us learned in business school have morphed into eight, nine, 10, or more. People don’t merely read newspapers or watch television. They embrace compelling content.

Advertising is no longer a full-page, full-colour piece of artwork printed on newsprint. It’s whatever is necessary to connect your product and brand with targeted consumers of choice. Media is now expressed as paid, owned, earned, shared, converged, and more.

Face it: We live in an integrated world. Singularity is excruciatingly passé.

Our customers demand full-fledged solutions that offer function, value, convenience, and gratification. Breadth of delivery with depth of accountability is now the natural order of the day.

With the privilege of a full arsenal of modern day marketing armaments at our disposal – targeted technologies, business models, communication channels, Big Data platforms, intelligent dashboards – there seem to be no more excuses left for marketing pundits not to achieve their ROIs.

As media specialists and consultants operating across this 21st century stage, my colleagues and I have long positioned ourselves as valued partners alongside the folks with deep pockets and ad moolah – our advertisers!

Making it as seamless as possible for our valued clientele to share the “delight” their products or services brings to consumers at large has been our fundamental focus.

As the largest publisher and media owner in our part of the world, we strive to present to brand owners an extensive range of qualified consumers, comprising loyal readers of our print titles, avid listeners of our radio stations, regular viewers of our outdoor screens and video channels, etc.

Having instated client-service version 2.0, the obvious progression is to build upon this consultative approach and extend it beyond its current touch points. Bearing in mind that our B-to-B “customer” is not just the one person, intentional working relationships must transpire between us and all linked stakeholders.

It is mandatory that we remain vigilant and mindful of the fact that the effort to “acquire” must feature as importantly as the drive to “retain.” The white spaces spotted across our customer matrix must seriously be addressed, as opportunities often lie in these less-than-obvious crevices.

In this day and age, where business is so much harder to come by, ideation must feature high in everyone’s agenda. However, inventive thinking alone will not guarantee results.

The proof of the pudding comes from being able to successfully translate these ideas into powerful and efficacious applications that lead to effective and infectious conversions. More than a mouthful? You bet!   

Stark reminders for 2015? Stop selling boxes, start selling solutions. Stop selling media, start selling ideas. Stop transactional selling, start consultative selling. Adopt the C.O.D. (change or die) protocol! And recite this rhythmic incantation to kick off each work day, preferably in the style of Gregorian chants: “Innovate, investigate, initiate, integrate!”

And as a parting shot, I’ll leave you with my favourite quote from Steve Jobs, which speaks for itself: “Let’s go invent tomorrow instead of worrying about what happened yesterday.”

Here’s wishing you a fantabulistic year ahead!

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