We live in an era of infinite media. We create 500x more data and there are 100x more mobile connections than 2007.
It’s a radically different environment. The game has changed.
So why is your marketing team still playing by the old rules?
Today, I’m joined by someone whose new book is the definitive ruleset for this new game, Mathew Sweezey, Director of Market Strategy at Salesforce and author of “The Context Marketing Revolution.”
If you want to beat the new game, context marketing is how you do it.
And in today’s episode, Mathew covers everything you need to know to play like a pro.
Holding infinity in your hands and why context matters
Mathew: The term “revolution” was highly debated in my title. It’s often overused or used incorrectly.
But it was appropriate when talking about infinite media. We left the limited media era — which was limited in creation, distribution and access — and entered the infinite media era.
People talk about mobile connectivity, but what can each one of those devices do? Well, each one can instantly create, infinitely distribute and access infinite content.
This is a new world we are living in and we have to act accordingly.
If we take the same games we played for attention and bring them forward, they are no longer appropriate. And that’s where we get the word context: we have to give up old ideas.
Like “sex sells,” right? It doesn’t sell. In fact, the brands that really doubled down on this like Anheuser Busch and Carls Jr. say they are no longer effective.
Or “there’s no such thing as bad press.” Well, there are review sites now, so you’ll get bad, good and neutral press all at the same time.
Theoretically, that’s all we thought we had to do. But those messages fail to resonate or drive action 98% of the time. And the reality is everything is now a considered purchase.
Executives need to get on board with these 5 principles
Mathew: The definition of marketing has shifted from the department who creates messages to the owners and sustainers of all experiences across the customer journey.
If you don’t have executive buy-in to this shift the definition of marketing and how you grow your business, nothing else matters.
If we’re concerned about experiences, then what should we create?
The answer is a contextual experience, which breaks down into 5 key traits:
- It has to be available
- It has to be permissioned
- It has to be personal
- It has to be authentic
What does that look like? Well, in the current climate, we’re seeing a couple of things play out.
Information needs to be available — if you don’t have a single source of information about how you are responding to the crisis or how you’re treating your stakeholders, customers and employees right now, then you need to make it available.
We need to be authentic which basically means we need to have empathy. We need to make sure our marketing is highly empathetic.
Purpose isn’t social justice or a campaign
Mathew: We all know we should be purpose-driven. So, the question should come up: Why aren’t more companies purpose-driven?
Two years ago in the State of Marketing, we asked this question to thousands of people. And the answer came back in three specific ways.
- They don’t understand how they can connect their product to a purpose.
- They’re afraid of doing so would isolate members of their audience.
- They don’t have executive buy in to do these things.
Those are the three key reasons why brands don’t do this. And really if you look at what is being said, people conflate the word “purpose” with “social justice.”
But that’s not what purpose-driven efforts are.
Purpose-driven efforts are grounded in stakeholder theory, business idea that says we must function for the highest value of our stakeholders and not just shareholders.
This is a much more empathetic way of growing a business and operating.
There’s also this concept that if I do good and tell the world that I’m doing good, I’m a purpose-driven brand and that’s not actually accurate either.
You are a responsible brand and you are doing things that are good things. But here’s the question: Is that going to have any impact with your audience in terms of motivating them to take action with you.
I sit on a Delta flight pretty much every week. Well, not right now… But pretty much every time they show me a clip of building habitat for humanity houses and telling me how good they are as a brand.
The problem is that as a message forced on me, not an action or experience done with me.
We must rethink this idea. Purpose-driven efforts are ones that you do with your marketplace and they are not campaigns.
They are constantly running efforts.
This post is based on a podcast with Mathew Sweezey. If you’d like to listen to the full episode, you can check it out here.