In the Field Of Opportunity It’s Plowing Time Again*

Brand Planning for 2014

Now is the time of year that most CMO’s, marketing directors and brand managers are neck-deep in developing or finalizing their marketing plans for FY 2014. The ever-changing digital and media landscape presents a wide variety of possible paths to follow. Despite the potential to ride a rocket to success, the possibility of crashing and burning in dismal failure leads many planners to follow the zero risk path. However, I believe that the best way to go is to include several new and potentially disruptive options that could help position your brand as a leader vs. a follower.

While I am not advocating throwing caution to the wind and going totally into the new and unproven, I do highly recommend devoting a portion of your budget to test or pilot a variety of new programs. How much? Ten to twenty percent is a good, solid number that will allow for a reasonable amount of pilot programs to be implemented.

There are a number of new and exciting (to a tech geek like myself anyway) digital marketing options that you may want to include in your 2014 plans.  A few of my current favorites include:

Shoppable Video
The use of video content has proven to be a highly effective tool to gain consumer awareness and interest.  The next iteration allows consumers to purchase items featured in the videos.  Shoppable videos seamlessly merge the viewing experience with ecommerce.

Location Based & Geo-Enabled Mobile Marketing
For brick-and-mortar retailers, this tactic has shown itself to be highly effective in targeting “impulse” buyers.  Location-based advertising allows a retailer to identify when a customer is near to your store and then instantly deliver a customized offer tailored to their unique preferences and past purchase history.

Little Data
While big data is getting all the attention lately, smart marketers are generating results through the use of little data – the unique, little things that clients and customers want and need (e.g, restaurant preferences, what newspaper you like in the morning, window seat or aisle). Big data is all about the enterprise in general while little data is all about the customer.

Retail Analytics
Advanced strategies that merge marketing consumer data with the sales department’s retailer data to greatly increase their ability to focus on what drives consumer behavior.

Conscious Capitalism
Including elements of social responsibility, philanthropy or sustainability to your brand marketing efforts works in many ways to build satisfied and loyal customers. Consumers (especially millennials) actively seek out and favor socially responsible brands and social marketing rapidly spreads the word.  Socially conscious companies not only give more, they also get more in return.

Marketing and especially digital optimization requires innovation and an amount of risk taking to break through the clutter. Low risk and minimal cost pilot programs are the perfect venue to test a variety of concepts prior to committing to a full-blown launch. The pilot approach lets you track results in real time – and build on what works.

*Neil Young