The perils of “short-term”-ism in marketing

I want it all… and I want it NOW!

In the digital age, almost all aspects of our personal life have morphed into instant, 24/7 access to shopping, entertainment and satisfaction of almost any human need.

Gone are the days of waiting a WEEK for the next episode of a television series, NETFLIX has been releasing entire series on the same day, so you could watch the entire season of Stranger Things Season 3 on 4th July 2019 in just 400 minutes.

Shopping patterns are now so different from 20 years ago, even 10 years ago, that you do wonder what the next decade will hold. New data from the John Lewis Partnership Card shows that 1 in 15 purchases are now made between the hours of midnight and 06:00.

The UK tops the list of smartphone penetration with 82.2% of the TOTAL POPULATION (i.e. including infants and toddlers) having a smartphone… 67% of the total UK population use social media and we’ve become used to articles about social media addiction.

None of these aspects of life are all bad, as always there are pro’s and cons, but some of the consequences can actually be very bad.

So, why am I banging on about these statistics? Well, given these macro trends in our personal life, it is inevitable that this “instantness” is seeping into our professional lives. As with the above, some of the consequences of this will have real impacts on your business performance.

Making decisions right now, instead of the right decisions

There are many reasons we prefer quick decision making to proper consideration and making the right decision. The key ones being:

In business, time is money, quick decisions avoid delays and “gets things done”. There is an emotional uneasiness associated with self-denial, stemming from our evolutionary need for immediate reward. But taking the quicker “reward” means we may be missing out on bigger returns in the future.

An uncertain view of the future means that we are less likely to fully appreciate the impact of our decisions, meaning that we would be more prone to make a decision (any decision) than try and evaluate the impact of our decisions. This is especially true with today’s media landscape, where the marketing ecosystem is so complex that we can barely get our heads around it.

Studies have shown that intelligence and impulsivity is related, the clever marketeer will take their time in making the right decision. The exacts mechanisms that cause this relationship are not clear. It may be that due consideration enhances intelligence, instead of the other way around. The message is clear an impulsive decision may be a bad decision more often than not.

3 Key actions marketeers can take to make the right decision

Don’t rely on quick stats and reports: Yes, time is money in business, but marketeers need to not only take online reports and daily sales figures into account. It is of paramount importance to understand why the numbers are changing and beyond that whether the changes are blips or a sustained trend. A lot of attribution analysis (method of using pathways cookie data to calculate online channel contribution to a sale or conversion), especially if run weekly or daily and in isolation, will be unable to discern market noise from actual efficiency. Stay the course until you truly understand channel performance.

Inject certainty into your media plan: Keep an eye on forecasts from credible studies, track current performance to those projections and ensure you understand what numbers went into the forecasts. Deviation from the forecast may just be due to wrong media numbers going into the plan. Under/Over delivery from your key channels can swing numbers significantly. The ability to rerun forecasts based on the latest information available will help you understand where you are heading and what you need to do to reach your goal.

Spend your marketing evaluation budget wisely: Overly focusing on the media you can measure easily is a terrible decision – attribution modelling, last clicks and tracked results all ignore the complex realities of the modern marketing eco-system. Only by running a 360 evaluation (using data in a statistically robust way to determine incremental impact of all factors that affect your business) can you truly understand the role each of your media channels play in your sales funnel, from the final push to the big brand channels that move awareness, consideration and intent.

The Brightblue team have decades of experience helping clients understand media efficiency by truly digging into the drivers of sales and revenue. We have experience across automotive, retail, travel, entertainment, telecoms, FMCG, white goods, financial services, health and many other sectors. Our unique way of modelling the entire client journey truly helps marketeers understand what they can do to shine in their organisation by driving business and making a real difference to their bottom line. Get in touch if you have any questions on this article or any of the ways Brightblue can help.


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