Mitigating the Downside of a Digital Marketing Era

This week millions of email notices have been sent from major corporations informing their customers that their marketing vendor, Epsilon, suffered a serious data breach exposing millions of customer names and email addresses to someone with obvious nefarious intentions. How embarrassing for them. That’s a wake-up call for every brand using digital marketing of some kind. Time to rethink how to go to market in the era of digital.

Don’t Pave the Cow Path– CPG companies have been doing marketing for years through traditional channels. Consequently, they have well developed and entrenched processes, procedures, roles and responsibilities, decision and approval mechanisms, as well as vendor alliances and relationships. But don’t assume new paths to market can be built over existing paths (i.e., by paving the existing cow path). The current approach wasn’t likely designed for the new digital marketing era. For more effective marketing, redesign for the new realities.

Don’t Use a Cannon to Kill a Mosquito –After seeing a hole ripped in the fuselage at 30,000+ feet, passengers on last Friday’s Southwest Airlines flight 812 en route from Phoenix to Sacramento will likely think twice about getting on a plane. The systems needed to assure airline safety should be robust and failsafe. But don’t overreact to the Epsilon email debacle. The systems marketers need in a digital world need to be balanced against the risks, for sure (e.g., purchase histories vs. emails vs. credit card information). But don’t use a cannon to kill a mosquito. To avoid overkill, redesign for the appropriate levels of risk.

Burn the Ships – When Cortez landed near Veracruz in 1519, the story has it that he burned his ships to prevent all thoughts of retreat. Changing internal processes, practices and procedures can often fail when those involved revert back to their old ways of doing things. Instead, the old ways need to be blown up, removed, eliminated. For lasting change, be sure your redesign burns the ships.

The new digital marketing era has begun. Although it is still evolving, clearly new channels and tactics are replacing older, more traditional approaches. Have you redesigned to take advantage of the new era? Shopper Insights in Action 2011 sponsored by IIR USA provides a forum to network, explore and learn from the very best. It’s a good place rethink how you’re designed to go to market.