A few weeks ago I sat and watched with great interest at the Internet Summit a panel of venture capitalists as they gave their forecasts for when the economy would turn around. There were 4 panelists, and their answers started out with 12 months, 18 months, 24 months… And then it got to the last person, and I could kick myself for not remembering who he was… “I have no idea” was his response.
Finally! It is ok to admit that nobody knows… So why is everyone so intent on trying to guess what 2009 will bring for Madison Avenue? After 13+ years in this industry, you’d think that I’d understand that it’s just the “big guns” trying to sound intelligent, and the reality is all of us in the trenches who are actually defining the industry are still focusing on delivering tangible results for our clients. So with that in mind, I’ve created a New Year’s Resolution list for Chief Marketing Officers everywhere (regardless of whether ad spend in 2009 will go up or down in each channel):
Test something new: I still believe 20% of your budget should be set aside to test new campaigns, technologies, solutions, etc… And by “new” – it can be something that is simply new to you – you don’t always have to be the first out the door launching your new Facebook Connect campaign. But if you know text ads work for you, maybe give SMS ads a try in a controlled environment. Just keep testing, as people’s wants and needs are changing every day – so too should your testing.
Marketing through Search: Yes – I say this a lot… It is Search Engine MARKETING – so test different products on different keywords, test pricing and discounts, test in-store promotions… Some of you that stayed awake in Marketing 101 are starting to hear some familiar P’s… Don’t lose track of what got your company where you are today. Search is the medium – marketing is how you use it.
Set Your Metrics: This goes without saying – right? Well knowing your metrics and dictating your marketing to hitting them while keeping a good marketing mix are a lot more difficult than you may think. That being said, if you know that your product retails at $20, and you need a COGS of $10 to be profitable, make sure you have a media campaign set up as a whole that will accomplish that. Don’t judge one medium independently of another. Even though interactive may appear to be the cheapest, there are offline occurrences that affect your online campaigns.
Own Social Media: The words social media seem to now be what “emerging” media was 2 years ago… A catch all for everything you don’t understand. Grasp the areas of social media that are relevant to you. Set up Google Alerts on your company name, your competitors, etc… Own your online reputation. Set up a Twitter account for your company, set up a LinkedIn account for your company… These are all free tools that are available for you to communicate with your customer. If you find they’re not working (make sure you review your site analytics before you make that judgment), then move on. But allow your customers to interact with you in the way they want to… You need to own Social Media – not let it own you.
Happy New Year CMO’s!