What marketers can learn from The Shawshank Redemption
By Mitchell Weisman, Founder & CEO, Revjet11 September, 2018
They’re loathe to admit it. But behind all the promotional bravado, marketers and their CMOs know exactly what’s expected: craft and deliver high quality, personalized, measurable customer experiences in a scalable production-worthy way - across every marketing touch point throughout the entire buyer journey. And do so on an evergreen, always-on basis.
They also know they’re failing to deliver against this modern marketing requirement – at least with respect to digital advertising touchpoints. After all why else would that “personalized shoe ad” a marketer created continue following a consumer around the internet, long after that consumer already bought the darn shoes?
In fairness, the challenge is bigger than it may seem – because unlike owned and operated websites, apps and other marketing touchpoints where marketers control the whole show, each and every digital advertising customer experience involves real-time orchestration of dozens of loosely interconnected 3rd party technology systems.
This means crafting and delivering a single customer experience for a digital advertising touchpoint literally involves navigating an endless parade of stakeholders – be they marketers, agencies, media buyers, publishers, supply-side platforms, exchanges and auction systems, demand-side platforms, bidding systems, ad servers and verification systems, just to name a few.
So the marketer’s mandate is clear: operationalize modern, always-on customer experience management for every touchpoint at scale. But so too are the challenges - especially within the complex, $250+ billion per year digital advertiser portion of the buyer journey.
For marketers, it wasn’t supposed to go this way. After all, this is marketing’s long-promised golden era of data abundance. It’s finally here, and the marketing possibilities were supposed to be endless.
Instead, 2018 represents a cold new reality for marketers. It’s the age of iPhones and Amazon, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. There will be winners and losers. Marketers will be promoted and fired. Losers will fade away. Toys R Us was a great company once. Now they’re gone.
Nowhere to hide
No, execs aren’t generally expert technologists. But they do know that the right tools (and data) now exist to operationalize modern digital marketing experience management in a scaled up way running on a 24x7 evergreen basis.
This means occasional demonstration projects and one size fits all customer experiences are no longer acceptable. It also means marketers’ old excuses about customer experiences don’t wash anymore, because the C-Suite knows full well that a competent modern marketer can, with the right technology, deliver marketing transformation.
Pick your own path
The choice now facing marketers is stark, perhaps best summarized by Andy Dufresne in the movie The Shawshank Redemption:
“I guess it comes down to a simple choice really… get busy living or get busy dying.”
The latter path means staying the course with great mediocrity. Marketers choosing this path will miss opportunities, their companies will become less relevant to the consumer and they will indeed die… eventually losing to Amazon, Google, or you-name-it tech giant.
Alternatively, marketers can select the bolder and seemingly less-traveled road where customer experience is the priority. On this road efforts are committed to providing better and more effective marketing and advertisements – not how many ads were delivered to which audience and at what effective cost-per-x.
Every customer experience is personal, from the brick and mortar store to the website to the first touchpoint of the advertisement. Make no mistake – this path is as challenging as it is essential. But with today’s technologies and data, it’s entirely doable, and the rewards are vast.
The punchlines?... there are two. First, in the hands of a modern digital marketer, digital marketing experience management can and will be operationalized at scale - by any means necessary.
Secondly, it’s now time for marketers to pick their own path.
I know which road I would choose.
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