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INsight #170 ADDICTION

Addiction: The fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity. Another definition suggests that “Addiction is a brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences.”


This INsight began with one addiction in mind. DATA. A week ago, I attended a trade association State of the State presentation about its 2020 plans and a heavy focus was on “data.” This association is at the center of mental, behavioral and chemical healthcare and delivery of services to these communities of addiction. That’s when it dawned on me that organizations are addicted to data.


INsight #1: Marketers are addicted to data and many more marketing related areas. Let’s briefly touch on a few, realizing each of these could be a blog post. Last week’s INsight proclaimed, “Think Boldly.” As you do, consider your level of addiction to these topics.


DATA: All kinds, all shapes and sizes; internal and external. Marketers have an insatiable demand for more data. We don’t have enough data scientists to compile it. And most marketers wanting the data either don’t really know what they want or, when they get the data, they don’t know what to do with it. We always talk about marketing strategy. Now, we have to begin talking about data strategy.


This is not brain surgery. Common sense and a clear vision are most important. Overthinking a growth opportunity will usually produce unfavorable results. I believe in simple over complex. I believe marketing needs to take the complexity out of complex. This is especially true when working with data.

Yet, suppliers promote more complexity. John Copeland, VP of Marketing and Insights at Adobe said, “Using data to understand what customers are doing, or what they are trying to do, and meeting those needs has never been more prevalent. Tech infrastructures now allow companies to consolidate their data into a single view of customers and act on it quickly – in an agile manner.” I would ask Copeland how this knowledge helped Target, as they missed 4th quarter sales targets, and struggling brands like Kraft Heinz, Bed Bath & Beyond and Nissan.


NEW TOYS: Marketers love new toys/technology. The shinier it is, the better the technology. At least, that’s what the technology sales person wants you to believe. Marketers are addicted to the belief that the next new technology will solve every marketing challenge.


Jason Heller from McKinsey says, “In 2020 marketers and CX (Customer Experience) professionals will create content in tandem with artificial intelligence (AI) platforms, driven in part by natural language generation, which will augment the quality of content and predict how effective the content will be for specific customer segments. This is a great example of practical applications of AI that marketers can use today. The technology has matured to the point where AI platforms can understand the emotions that specific words and phrases can evoke, and can even extract metadata about an image or a video without that metadata actually existing.”


Are you following this? There will be a quiz later. The tech folks will do well; the rest of us in the marketing trenches may not do so well.


OURSELVES: Marketers are addicted to looking inward and focusing on the products and services the brand produces, rather than the buyers that consume them. Too many marketers do business in the Age of Yesterday, when the focus was all about a product’s features and benefits. I call that Marketing 1.0.


SILOS: Marketers have been talking about tearing down the walls for the last two decades. We are still searching for Gabriel (and the walls came tumbling down). Adobe’s Copeland says, “Expect to see IT, marketing, customer service, product design/marketing, and other departments collaborating to enable the unification of these disparate sets of data to form complete, real-time, living and breathing customer profiles in 2020.” Copeland calls this the magic combination of sales and marketing touches.


MILLENNIALS: Marketing continues to be addicted to this cohort. It is time to recognize that the Gen Zs will account for 40% of American consumers by the end of 2020, and not forget that the Boomers still have the spending power. It seems when marketers are addicted to something, it restricts understanding the evolutionary process.


INsight #2: Each of these addictions are curable. The cure is to step back and prioritize your brand potential and identify where the gaps are. Then, define your EndGame strategy and the steps needed to fill the gaps and grow.

Stay focused. Remember, it’s not the customer’s journey with your brand that’s important. It’s your brand’s journey with the customer that creates loyalty and repeat purchase activity.


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

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