80/20 Vision and the Need for Long Term Marketing Plans.
"The boys of the NYPD choir
Were singing "Galway Bay"
And the bells were ringing out
For Christmas day"
These are lyrics from the greatest Christmas song of all time (not open for debate, sorry). When you hear these lyrics you are immediately transposed onto a snowy New York street, the flakes slowly falling down upon the NYPD Choir as their notes drift around the famous monochrome cityscape. But what is interesting here is these lyrics were originally penned and recorded in a boiling hot studio in LA, some time in July, 1987.
This is essentially an illustration of a long term marketing plan in its purest form. Certainly, that Shane MacGowan was singing about Christmas in July was dictated by external factors: How long it takes to record and produce a record, how long it takes to go to press / radio, how long it takes to physically manufacture the records themselves (remember that?), and of course, the fact a Christmas release cannot exactly be “pushed back” a month if they don’t quite hit their deadline. But, in a digital age where campaigns can be conceived of, created, published and pulled - practically in the time it takes to play this song - is it now the time to revert back to longer term marketing plans?
I recently published an article entitled 3 examples of changing trends and the importance of real-time analytics where I discuss ways in which B2C Companies can react instantly to a changing market using Databowl’s tools. What I present now is not a dissonant view, rather a larger system in which to place real-time analytics for longer lasting effects. In an age where everybody wants results today, I use the example of Fairytale Of New York to remind you to look towards tomorrow, next month, next year… or even just next Christmas.
In a recent feature in The Future CMO it was stated that the average tenure for a Chief Marketing Officer is just 18 months, compared to 9.1 years for a Chief Financial Officer. It doesn’t need much analysis of these facts to see how modern-day marketing demands instant results. Consequently, marketing teams are building their campaigns upon a short-term strategy to show their worth, when ironically, such thinking is the reason very few CMOs are given the time to implement a long term strategy. This pressure, driven by fear, is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It is the kind of thinking that leads to the last-click- wins fallacy so often used in the analysis of marketing success.
In reality, very few ideas will be so good they turn a stranger into a prospect and a prospect into a customer within the space of one advert or campaign. Most customers are brought in on the back of a longer journey, from initial impression, through retargeting, to eventual conversion. Marketing strategies must plan for, and allow for, a longer conversion time to reflect this. Once a business accepts this, they can begin to lay the foundations for long term success (over the superficial rewards of a quick fix).
Working at a technology company reminds me of writing Christmas songs in the strangest of ways. The technology, like the song, is written, but we often have to wait for Christmas to release. Consequently, I find myself split between present and future marketing plans.
Given what I know is coming, and my desire to implement a long term strategy, I operate an 80/20 split in terms of planning for the future against what I use to market now. Laying the foundations for this strategy is difficult, but once you reach the catch-up point, the results are far better than any short-term fix.
With Databowl, I’m not only able to react to real-time analytics, but also to identify emerging trends and hit them at the right time. Similarly, I’m able to schedule my posts and campaigns days, months or years in advance.
I can even schedule a campaign for next Christmas.