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INsight #175. Marketing is complex. It's so complex that most marketing teams try to carve their own paths, rather than follow the paths that market dynamics have already created. Latch on and keep up with the ball.

This marketing game is tough. As we speed into the 2020s, it is not getting any easier. Everything is in motion – and it’s not all moving in the same direction. I have always believed that the customer journey is not linear. It’s a pinball machine. However, the customer journey is just one part of the greater marketing landscape. INsight #1: Marketing’s bouncing ball seldom bounces the same way for very long. Therefore, marketing teams need to slow down their speed game. Each team has a different set of criteria for doing this based on their business category, and where they are in their journey to attract, maintain or reconnect with new, current, or lost customers. As this process of following the bouncing ball continues, here are five two-word thoughts to incorporate into the execution of your marketing campaigns:

PAY ATTENTION. There’s lots going on and it becomes so easy to be drawn into the shiny new toys of technology, and become too focused on one or two cohort demographics. Marketing is a lot more complex than one or two focuses.

KEEP UP. There are so many moving marketing parts that it is easy to stumble and fall behind. Create a plan that will allow your team to keep up with all the changes impacting your brand.

BE PREPARED. This will only happen if you pay attention and keep up while looking ahead and trying to understand what’s next. Just know that there will be another “next.” You can’t predict it, but you can prepare for it.

ALWAYS LISTEN. This may be the toughest one of all. Marketers love to talk, sometimes before we should. Here’s an interesting philosophy about listening from my friend and longtime INsight reader, Jim Hartfiel. He calls himself an “enthusiastic listener.” He listens deliberately and intently. He formulates his thoughts and then responds enthusiastically.

DON’T BLINK. The 2020s are all about speed. Remember my old clarion call to watch pattern shifts? There are six living and active generational cohorts doing business with every brand. How will marketers stay relevant to all of them, at the times with all the right messages?

INsight #2: If you think the bouncing ball is going to slow down and start rolling, you are terribly wrong. Data points are shifting; trend lines have blurred. Too many marketers are treading water, especially the small and midsize brands. This is beginning to define 2020s marketing, and it shouldn’t. I believe there are brands that are running at full throttle, but are losing their energy and sustainability. Their thinking is clouded and their vision is blurred. They are keeping up with the status quo and not asking the right questions to follow the bouncing ball into the 2020s. Consider this a wakeup call, and begin planning your new EndGame strategy now.

The EndGame: New thinking. New vision. New energy.©

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