Anyone who knows me, knows I try to optimize EVERYTHING. Period. Whether it’s which lane of traffic I’m in on I-90, what ingredients I put in my compost bin, or my bidding strategy on a content network campaign, I try to maximize efficiency and monetize efforts.
A little more than a month ago, I attended a Seattle Direct Marketing Association (SDMA) event and the discussion topic presented by Romi Mahajan has stuck with me, as intended. Is our profession (marketing) still 3 parts Art and 1 part Science? OR has it totally flip flopped and very few of us think about the ART /creative part of marketing any more and has the science part become our mantra? Are we measuring too much and just tweaking? Are we spending all of our time digging through data and not enough time brainstorming big ideas? Are we consistent singles hitters, not risking a strikeout to hit a grand slam?
Confession #1: I love the TV series Mad Men. I love the creativity in advertising in the 1960s and 70s, when they had to come up a creative gem to pitch a client based on gut and intuition. and very little data besides maybe some focus group comments. It’s slick; it’s powerful persuasion.
Confession #2: I started my career as a Media Buyer for traditional advertising agency (tv, radio, print) concerned with rating points and circulation. I became highly frustrated with the black box and not knowing the true results of our campaigns but rather how many eyeballs we reached. I was also highly frustrated as to the one way path of the communication. In contrast with search, there is user intent, an identifiable need and a direct response to that need, a magical two way street.
Confession #3: I have a very balanced brain, which isn’t always a good thing. My right side of my brain works nearly as well as the left side of my brain and vice versa. I have an inherent conflict of using both creativity and analysis to make every decision. I sometimes drive my hubby crazy.
I’m not saying to stop looking at the data you need to look at to do your job well and make increases in performance. Thorough bid optimization, regular keyword /ad distribution expansion and deletion, methodical landing page and ad copy testing are all very important things to do. BUT take a 30,000 foot look once in awhile at your account, your landing pages, your offer, your company’s core key benefits and allow new ideas bubble to the surface.
Your homework assignment:
- Take off the data hat for a few minutes and get away from your computer.
- Think like a user. Put yourself in your best prospect’s head. Be empathetic.
- Talk to your customers or prospects about what they are looking for, what your company could do better, and how they search.
- Ask What-Ifs, Create Wish Lists, and Fill in the Blank “How cool would it be, if we could____”
- Pull out your old Kotler textbook. Ask yourself if you are thinking strategically or simply implementing tactics.
- Better tools and analytics are making SEM activities easier and more efficient. Use that time you save to take a step back and think, think, think.
I’m curious how you take time in your day/week/quarter to think strategically. Would love to hear your thoughts.