Sure, the challenges of marketing (and business in general for that matter) can be categorized in many ways. But here are three buckets to consider: the Emerging, the Emotion, the Execution.
Flexibility for Emerging – Whether it’s technology (ref. Catherine Roe, Head of Consumer Packaged Goods at Google), store formats (ref. Art Sebastian, Director Shopper Insights & Strategy at Kraft Foods), or consumers (ref. JD Spangler or John Whitaker VPs at Hanes Brands Inc. or Timothy Teran SVP Macy’s), one of the biggest challenges is staying on top of the “emerging new” and being flexible: what’s going to work, what’s not, what to invest in, what to ignore.
Leverage Emotion – Success depends on it. Most executives are driven by facts and data (and tend to discount “qualitative”) but decisions are made by emotion (ref. Jonah Lehrer, neuroscientist and author of How We Decide). And not only that, brands are based upon creating emotional connections with those they hope to serve. Marketers must truly leverage emotion for success. But unfortunately, the emotional bond created in the appeal to consumers at the zero moments of truth, can be undone by the third challenge.
Integrated Execution – While it’s essential to build an emotional connection with consumers (80% of decisions are being made prior to the store. Ref. Phil McGee, Campbell’s), all the efforts are often undone when there is no emotional connection in-store. Compare the emotion created by a quality print ad with the often crowded, cluttered aisles and unappealing displays (ref. Diane Tielbur, Senior Director Shopper Engagement at Kraft Foods). In this stage of the path to purchase, emerging and emotion meet and must be integrated with flawless execution.
These challenges shouldn’t be underestimated. Being flexible with what’s emerging, leveraging emotion and executing flawlessly so everything comes together on the path to purchase will not happen over night. But attendees to SIA 2011 are certainly making good progress in learning how to make it all happen. Looking forward to more great insights on Day 3 that can be turned into action to drive better results.