i am totally shocked by this and interested to hear others' commentary on why marketing decisions shouldn't be based in research...
isn't this a false dichotomy here? i can think of a few agencies who have run great projects for clients wherein they facilitate the solicitation, gathering, creative delivery, and execution of consumer-generated content. i'm wondering if this one posed a problem for any respondents who didn't feel that engaging an agency necessarily excluded the incorporation of consumer-generated content. i think we're living in an age where it's more about asking creative questions and creating engagement than it is delivering messages to a passive audience. great agency teams create 'experiences' that leverage content, right? they're not just content-factories.
further to ted's point (again, most of my insights are specific to b2b, or the sale of any highly engineered/complex product with a less transactional sales model): we have actually found in a survey of c-level execs that direct mail (an actual object, not just a piece of paper) done creatively almost always gets to them because it cannot be filtered or tossed aside by an admin.
i agree that it's a shift, but i think it's about framing that shift in terms marketers understand. particularly in b2b, marketing is becoming more and more comfortable with the concept of alignment with and enablement of sales (particularly when you get to the field/product level). if this shift is framed as another level of enablement, i think marketers will more quickly embrace the power to influence and stop white-knuckling the brand reigns.
marketing influences, but does not control, the brand. whereas product marketing is often responsible for sales enablement, communications (marcom, corpcom) should almost be thinking about customer enablement - providing content and tools for customers and prospects (and investors/analysts/recruits??) to influence and shape their experience with the brand from inquiry to closed business all the way through the renewal phase and/or next decision-making cycle.
i totally agree, c.c. - an agency's measure of effectiveness is typically client satisfaction. an organization/client's measure of effectiveness is ROI or some other measurable impact. agencies, in that sense, are too often removed from the measurement and evaluation of real effectiveness (not all agencies, i should say. but many).
very important. maybe more aptly described as a "test, FAIL and learn" culture. permission to fail is permission to innovate. you can measure the impact of successful marketing campaigns that are a product of an "innovation marketing" group (we have seen this in a few of our enterprise clients); you can't measure the impact of innovative campaigns that are never developed for fear that they may fail.
campaigns absolutely must be developed in the context of research into buyer behaviors and the customer experience. the sale happens at the intersection of these two phases (end of the former, beginning of the latter), and so campaigns need to begin to incorporate more customer experience proxies for the buyers, based on specific needs at specific stages in the buying process. research, research, research. our research shows that b2b buyers are doing more research than ever, before officially raising their hands and providing information that allows us to identify them as a lead and nurture them. this means that what has traditionally be viewed as brand/awareness/top-of-funnel activity in a complex sale is more integral to sales funnel dynamics than ever before.
the development of cross-functional teams, facilitated by corporate communications, all of whom have a stake in the brand: sales, product, HR, investor relations, customer service, etc. building the business case and eliciting participation is the primary barrier to success in this area that we see in the b2b world, where CorpComm is often just a senior PR professional running PR/AR/IR as an independently spinning wheel.
the opportunity afforded by social media to create ongoing dialogue and relationships with customers (inclusive of customer experience insights and feedback, which can then be fed back to product groups to drive innovation) is, i believe, unparalleled in recent history. there is a massive opportunity here and i'm excited to see how the business and technology communities adopt consumer strategies to reach and listen to users, generate loyalty, and create measurable impact on the business.
i think it would be great to see this data broken out by business type (b2b/b2c/hybrid) if at all possible...i'm wondering how priorities shift with organizational type. in my work (exclusive to b2b) the biggest struggle i see is the inability to justify budget and resource allocation; brand spend is often viewed as frivolous and/or irrelevant, particularly at the corporate level for SMBs.
the one constant factor throughout human history has been progress. despite efforts to conserve and preserve out of fear, comfort, and complacency, progress marches on and those people and businesses who have the flexibility of mind and competency to leverage new tools within an existing conceptual framework are the ones who establish norms, best-practices and (thus) leadership positions.
i don't think these ideas are mutually exclusive or oppositional. the fundamentals do remain the same ( concepts like trust and authenticity continue to rule, particularly in the b2b world where i "live"), but the way we forge these connections with customers is changing radically and quickly.