When human insight meets technology we call it humanology.

 Jan Kelley

Jim Letwin

Executive Chairman

Marketing in 2018 & Beyond: Practical Ways to Stay Ahead

It’s never been more challenging for progressive marketers to keep pace with the ongoing changes happening within both B2C and B2B marketplaces. There are three major forces at work in 2018 driving this change:

  1. Noise:
    • Until 2007 businesses were the primary generators of content and marketplace noise
    • Today consumers are the primary generators – by the end of 2020 there will be 7 devices for every human (Source: @msweezey)
  2. Time
    • 53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load. For every second of delay in site load time, conversions fall by 12% (Source: Google Think Research)
    • Time compression has become so severe that convenience and transactional ease are some of the largest drivers of marketing success. The average web micro-journey takes 70 seconds and involves 4 websites.
  3. Technology
    • 211 million online interactions occur every internet minute – consumers now have all the power in choosing when, where and how they will interact with content (Source: @LoriLewis and @OfficiallyChadd). Getting buyer attention is more difficult than ever.

The good news is that we know at least some of the content tools we should be relying on to try to grab and keep that consumer attention. The main content forces in 2018 are:

  1. Video
  2. Podcasts
  3. Infographics
    • When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.
    • Infographics are “liked” and shared on social media 3X more than other any other type of content.

As we plow through 2018, disruptive technologies continue to emerge, marketing performance expectations continue to escalate and the need for data-driven solutions continues to grow. The impact of artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IOT) and Blockchain on digital marketing tools and practices will continue to manifest as the year unfolds. The main impact of this technology is expected to be:

  • Continued disintermediation – the reduction and even elimination of “middlemen” (retailers, salespeople, distributors and dealers) in a growing number of sectors and, eventually, with the impact of Blockchain, disintermediation of many of the current digital media platforms
  • Deeper understanding of customer experience and the gaps that need to be filled
  • Automated systems for faster/easier/more relevant and timely content deployment
  • Opportunities for more data-driven marketing decision making

Keeping up with all this is hard. Martec’s Law predicts that the gap between change in technology and the change that organizations must undertake to keep up will continue to grow.
Martec's Law

The need to create an organizational structure and performance evaluation system that supports learning, experimentation and the adoption of new technologies has become a marketing imperative. At Jan Kelley, we have implemented agile marketing teams and have adopted agile marketing methodologies. At first, this change was not an easy one – but we are now making significant progress using the agile model. Short sprints, rapid deployment and optimization based on early feedback takes both great effort and courage. But we have found that persistence pays – we’re getting better results, faster.

Although what we want as marketers hasn’t changed, the work we need to do to get what we want has changed dramatically. In order to keep up with new tools, technologies and approaches, marketers need to transform themselves from planners, consumer researchers and “big launchers” into scientists, analysts, technologists and agile digital sprinters. It’s important to understand that efforts to adopt new technologies and approaches fail not because of the approaches and technology themselves, but because of organizational culture and structure. Skilled marketers have always found better ways to do things. The difference today is that marketers aren’t simply being asked to do the same things in new ways – they are being asked to do new things.

This is intimidating because the perceived consequences of failure are high when your job is to generate and nurture new leads, help maximize conversions and achieve stretch sales targets.

To Achieve Big Success, Learn How to Fail Small

  • Marketing success today is not about change, but about transformation.
  • Your challenge as a marketing leader is to make risk safe by turning marketing experiments into learning opportunities.
  • Don’t define boldness solely in terms of go-for-broke, giant-leap projects; start small, using pilot projects and gain momentum. Your goal should be to make it easy for marketers on your team to do things that have never been done before, to test bold ideas and take calculated risks – together.
  • Encourage your team to upgrade their knowledge and skills and support them with time and money as they endeavour to do so. Demonstrate the power and benefit of shared learning & experimentation. Reward learning and innovation, even – or especially – when it “fails.”
  • Encourage members of your team to “own” their future by pursuing new learning.