5 Things I have learned from other marketers
The other day I sat next to the CMO of Visa. We all have these connotations about what a brand is and what they do, but until you speak to someone in the know, you really don't have a clue. Or at least that is what I found.
Instead, I learned that Visa is not bank or financial institution. It is simply one of the oldest and most successful fintech plays around. Everyone has one in their wallets and they use it freely to buy things they want whether they have the money or not. It can be your biggest asset that scores you free flights around the world, or it can be the one thing that brings you down.
Now we are all online buying everything known to mankind, Visa has become increasingly important. Without it, you can't do too much. A cashless society is among us and the only change I forsee is speech recognition purchasing without device.
After 28 years in the marketing industry, I have learned many things, mostly from experiences and other marketers. I think some of the greatest lessons have come from listening to other marketers push boundaries, step out of their comfort zone, take risks and really step up when it comes to embracing new technologies and ways of doing things.
There are a few things that stand out more so than others:
- Confidence in your brand, yourself and the market speaks volumes. If you talk about how the industry is going down, or your brand isn't relevant anymore or perhaps that the company you work for may not be around for much longer, then you are in fact sabotaging the brand and yourself. Reminding not just yourself, but the entire company of the importance of "owning" the brand and respecting it whether they are at a work function or at a dinner party is important. You can only do this if people believe in your brand and want to see it prosper. If they don't, get rid of them fast.
- The best marketers command respect, not by asking for it or saying how good they are. They already know that they are knowledgeable, capable and have spent the time to understand their craft. When you hear a speaker say how good they are, or what awards they have won - know that they haven't made it and probably never will. That speaking gig means more to them and their ego than actual success would ever.
- Knowledge is power. The more you learn the greater you become. While you may not take on-board every single marketing idea or tactic, you will be capable of ascertaining where to spend your efforts and where to sacrifice time. Reading is one thing, but learning from experiences and participation is a whole other ball game that is worth playing. Spend hours pouring over the internet learning, ring people you don't know and ask them questions about marketing successes and failures, and watch television shows that depict the industry in a different way, like Younger.
- Technology is your friend even when you think it may mean that you have to make some hard decisions. It is even your friend when you realise that you are not needed anymore. If you can embrace technology and use it to its full capacity, you are leading the way in martech and for now it is the future. When we developed Robotic Marketer, the first automated marketing strategy platform, we realised that our roles changed. What clients needed us for was the counselling and advice area of marketing, creativity and simply being their to challenge their own thought process. The rest is done by artificial intelligence, mining big data, machine learning and scraping. At the other side, it's us marketers that check for quality control and put our marks on the work that we produce. It's a win, win, but for some, it's a startling reminder that their jobs will not remain the same.
- Return on investment and being able to show to the heirarching in a business that marketing can make money, not just spend it, is the future. If marketing cannot show a ROI, then it is not doing its job. We have to think differently. We need to know the financial analysis of the marketing activations we approve. Our sales team depend on us more so than ever, and the market just got a whole lot bigger. Global is not just for the big guys, it's for the small one's too.
I respect other marketers, young and old. They each have something to bring to the table that I can learn from. While many people think that old marketers have had their day, it is their wisdom and experience that helps shape our future. Listen to them with ears wide open, and embrace what they have to say. Likewise, the young guns are always on their phones, but so too are a new breed of client. Understanding their habits is imperative to marketing success.