I had a chance to sit down with Scott Howe, Phil Fernandez, Stephanie Marchesi, Charlie Metzger, Jim Stengel, John Trimble, and Scott Heimes as part of Advertising Week. These individuals are all c-suite executives at their respective companies, such as Marketo, Pandora, and the Detroit Pistons. The topic quickly focused around Marketo’s theme of marketing first, and then morphed into the theme of engagement.
Traditionally what has been known as the top professional in marketing is usually what I call the Chief Advertising Officer. Their job was to make people feel something with advertising, namely through buying television commercials for the large part, and really putting the company on the map in a mass way. But now we’ve found out that that doesn’t work by itself anymore. Brands have to be much more engaged because their customers are more engaged. Customers have tools available to them that allow them to speak directly to us or at us. For years, we were forcing our brand around shouting out what we thought were important for customers; now customers are shouting things back.
The discussion at the Marketo panel really started getting around reaching customers at a personal level and whether that is possible and if efforts are succeeding. Everyone on the panel was saying yes. Jim Single, the former CMO of Proctor and Gamble, spoke right before our panel, and he showed multiple campaigns around the highly personalized nature of marketing. At the same time we are learning that it doesn’t always work. Bad data in gets you bad data out. While in the one case you can make these highly engaged conversations that are one-on-one with the customer, not all the tools are there. We take in massive amounts of data, and if you don’t have tools like Marketo help companies it becomes a real problem.
I’ve been a fond person of saying content is king, activation is queen, but context is the kingdom. What really came out of the Marketo session was how do we engage with our customers, yet not be creepy. We all want the experience of when we walk into an establishment to be recognized. We like being able to walk into restaurants and everyone knows your name. It’s kind of like Cheers. They know what you like to drink, your favorite appetizer, where you like to sit… and they know some aspects of your personal life that make it a better one-on-one conversation and experience. How do we bring that together in everything we do, whether it’s selling you a cup of coffee, pair of shoes, or business services without being creepy.
That begins in the context of how we deliver it and in the timing of that delivery. Then certainly the method in which its’ delivered. The biggest takeaway from the event was that most marketers know there are different pockets – the digital people who like and want more information and non-digital people who would be put off by anyone knowing anything about them.
Marketers believe that more people will step into being digital people by giving them their privacy portfolio – saying the ways they want to be worked with or contacted. Based on the relationship, just like it is face-to-face, they let digital marketers in to see different aspects. As the trust grows, so does the amount of which the customer is letting you into their life.