October 31, 2012

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The Case for Creating a Marketing Playbook In recent survey of 104 marketing executives from around the globe, conducted by my friend and former colleague Leighton Jenkins, 63% of responders either didn’t have a marketing playbook or didn’t know if they had one. Maybe we collectively suffer from the “shoemaker’s son” syndrome or we don’t take the time or trouble to standardize, document and share our work processes. But a marketing playbook that spells out the go-to-market strategy, operational assumptions, internal and external assets and partners, brand and graphic guidelines, step-by-step planning parameters, timelines, suggested budgets, key learnings and best practices quickly becomes the family jewels of a marketing organization. Creating a marketing playbook for your company is critical for three compelling reasons. Continuity. Knowing what you do, how you do it and how you’ve done it is critical to bring new players on-board and to continuously improving marketing performance. Given the turnover in marketing teams, a playbook is critical for orientation, training and coaching. It also expedites planning, insures a measure of quality control and avoids having to re-invent the wheel with each new communications need. Institutional Memory. Similarly knowing what’s been tried and how is important to assess new or repeat tactics. Far too many of us do not document or archive campaigns and initiatives or their related analytics. In many cases, we defer to the staff member with the longest tenure who usually says something like, “Yeah. We tried that four years ago and it didn’t work.” Peak Performance. Documenting marketing programs expedites assessment and learning. A playbook spells out the recipe for mounting each and every type of program. It suggests the operational steps, timetables and applicable budget considerations. It should also illustrate the resources needed, dependencies and contingencies and sequential steps and approvals necessary to get a campaign out the door. Understanding who did what and how well they did it is imperative to doing it better next time. Baking this into a living, breathing playbook insures that learning is shared across siloes and that critical questions are continually being asked. A marketing playbook shouldn’t be an after thought or a “nice to have.” Rather it should be a core asset for every marketing team.
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4 Mobile Messaging Scenarios The explosive growth of mobile media combined with growing adoption of Internet TV creates new complications and new opportunities for marketers. While we are just beginning to understand who uses which device for what tasks and when; its time to start thinking about how marketers can intersect or intercept consumers with commercial messages in ways that are welcomed, interactive and acceptable. We are beginning to reach a critical mass of consumers owning and using multiple devices. People like me have smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops and Internet TV. In some cases we use them interchangeably. In others, we do distinct tasks on each device. So far, we haven’t discerned any usage patterns that are predictable by psychographic or demographic variables. This fundamentally changes the way we think about creative and content development. Rather than thinking up and designing a TV spot or a rich media banner, we now have to come up with a big idea. Then we have to efficiently develop ways to expand, parse and interact with it. It’s less about filling a media unit with content and more about creating a brand experience that suits mobile consumers. Some emerging data hints that form dictates function and that individual devices are being used by default or by preference to undertake specific tasks. For example, it’s becoming clear that tablets are primarily being used for entertainment, information seeking and e-mail. Similarly complex tasks, like filling out mortgage applications, are being done on laptops and desktops while smartphones are emerging as a fast-acting utility tool for on-the-go tasks. Assuming that marketers still want to efficiently target high probability customers with the right message, at the right time and on the right device, this opens up a number of new possibilities for creating and transmitting integrated campaigns. But it requires us to consider a broader array mobile and digital devices with expanding technical capabilities in-tandem with TV, cable, print, out of home, email and other traditional advertising channels. We know that more email is now read on mobile devices that static devices. The incredible consumption of video is moving in the same direction. Mobile search is becoming an increasingly important factor, especially for retailers. So who is using which device, when and to accomplish what become critical to defining creative direction and success. Consider 4 new mobile-driven messaging and media options. Frequency. Impressions and exposure equal awareness. This is a marketing and media maxim. Given multiple devices crafting a single impactful message and communicating it often will yield greater awareness sooner. The same message, more times on more devices equals higher reach and potentially more persuasion. Imagine transmitting a solo message at roughly the same time using an array of devices synched with TV, radio or online roadblocks or page take-overs to create a super-roadblock that could blanket a target audience and potential earn added viral distribution. If you could synchronize a persuasive offer and communicate it within a defined time window (think SuperBowl), in theory, you could create a surround-sound of messaging that could penetrate and persuade a target group faster than ever before. Sequencing. A variation on the frequency idea would be to sequence a brand’s key message by parsing it out over time. This takes the Burma Shave OOH approach, circa 1940s, and applies it to the post-digital world. Using the same mass media/all device tactic, a brand could communicate a series of short messages over time using the roadblock tactic. The additive value of sequential messages over a imited time period can expose a broader impression of a brand. For brands with complicated messages or a series of products, sequencing could build awareness and momentum. Alternatively, a brand could assign different parts of the message or different offers to different devices at the same time. Maybe the brand promise goes on tablets while product messaging is placed in online media, but the offer, the coupon or the interactive CTA is assigned to smartphones. Fractal Messaging. The opposite of frequency and a variation on sequencing would be to acknowledge different facets of a brand’s appeal and expose different facets or offers at different times to different people using different devices. This tactic assumes that consumer moods, mindsets and tasks are different by device. So while prospects may resent ads on their smartphone, they might be willing to watch pre-rolls or other video formats on a tablet or a laptop. By understanding how consumers use devices both in terms of the mechanics (who, what and where) and the sensibilities (openness...

Danny Flamberg

I am a veteran marketing consultant working with leading and emerging brands

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