It’s time to wonder: How FIT is Your Marketing? In this natural cycle of taking stock and setting new goals, we observe 3 standout traits of marketers finding growth in highly competitive environments. The examples below share a common focus: prioritizing daily interactions with brand audiences over the internal selling of ideas and constant check-ins. These brands spend much more time learning and iterating through live in-market tests rather than discussing what they might do
Fast & Fearless, Speed-Boats vs Oil Tankers
“Marketing speed” isn’t an end goal in itself – however moving at the speed of the outside world correlates to a brands’ ability to continuously grow and evolve.
Nimble, fast-moving teams also create positive momentum, become talent magnets, and leverage new technology and techniques to be the best at marketing.
A restaurant chain growing steadily without a meaningful marketing investment decided it was time to build a marketing capability. A CMO was hired, and within 3 months the team generated powerful evidence that marketing spend could drive profitable, incremental growth. It was a remarkable speed-to-results example.
The key enablers were:
- Consolidating creative and media responsibilities with one agency
- Starting with a demand-capture approach rather than a campaign
- Committing to a highly collaborative daily, weekly and monthly interaction cadence rooted in trust across the internal marketing, finance and agency teams
- Being comfortable with data as a tie-break for internal debates
- Breaking key variables into structured testing to be able to generate clear positive/negative data signals
- Creating a measurement foundation bought into across CMO, CFO, CEO and board levels
Immersed in the Consumer Every Day
It’s always been true that great marketing begins with great consumer insights. The best marketers are building team intuition and making strategic decisions through real-time observations and a structured gathering and review of all kinds of “media” signals.
An insurgent coffee brand abandoned a traditional launch-and-hope campaign approach in favor of continuous optimizations and learning based on real-time data. It became the fastest-growing premium coffee in the U.S. and continues to accelerate across geographies.
Key enablers included:
- Invaluable ethnographies with core loyal fans translated to a differentiated brand positioning
- Living as a full client/agency team in-platform with fans and followers for several months prior to building the campaign – learning language, imagery, and asset nuances that work best with the brand’s core audiences
- Leveraging all available consumer interaction opportunities to share work in progress before greenlighting full up production – a warehouse sale, email database surveys, inexpensive and fast social and search tests.
- After launch, a daily, weekly commitment to learning and improving across creative and media, with key monthly meetings used to share the latest insights live from the platforms and adjust content, media mix and test plans
- Keeping a constant pulse on in market performance, competitive moves and audience feedback
Teaming & Talent
Marketing teams today include a wider mix of skillsets and more complex dependencies across internal brand resources, external agencies, and partners.
Determining the optimal configuration and enabling everyone with the right technology and a single measurement view becomes the foundation for better results.
A premium pet food brand wasn’t seeing a clear impact from its marketing investment. It pivoted from a fully outsourced agency approach to a mix of agency and in-house resourcing. Ecommerce sales lifted 10% immediately on flat spending, cycle time to new campaigns, and content was cut in half, and the brand is now growing in physical retail at double digits compared to markets with no investment.
Enablers for this team included:
- The internal creative team who knew the brand the best was trained up on digital content and began creating it themselves
- The combined internal and agency team aligned around a single measurement strategy tied to phases of learning – one source of truth for all members to drive toward
- A “good enough, not perfect” approach freed up everyone to contribute ideas, and get them out into the world rather than debating. Data flattened what had been a more hierarchical decision-making structure, which generated more engagement from more diverse skill sets. And just made it all more fun!
FITness in your marketing can enable the kind of speed that is often a joke inside bigger marketing organizations.
Our experience spanning small insurgents to large corporates shows that size alone doesn’t predict pace or the ability to make decisions, move quickly, and capture or create growth much faster than the old way. The key ingredient for success is, no surprise, the leadership commitment to consumer immersion and real-time feedback, day in and day out.
2020 is here – time to get FIT!
* We take our clients' confidentiality seriously. While we've changed their names, the results are real.