Is a digital campaign great or does it just appear that way? Does it succeed and drive results or is it just an illusion? In a digital climate where everyone can be a critic, the truth about the quality of work is easily overlooked through rationalization and on-the-surface inspection. We see what we want to see and if we don’t, we convince ourselves that there is a perfectly good reason why not. This process of rationalization is both common and overused and when coupled with the simplicity in showing approval (warranted or not), it can be a recipe for misleading results.
Too often are marketing teams built for conformity rather that when the results aren’t what’s ‘expected,’ coming up with an excuse is easier than coming up with a lesson to be learned. While creativity and innovation are an important part of marketing, when it comes to tying them with generating results (revenue and sales), it can be a struggle that leads to creativity overshadowing the true results.
The Problem With Rudimentary Marketing
In December of 2010, Disney Media ended their decade long relationship with Publicis Groupe’s Starcom after Publicis notifed Disney that they would not be defending their $2 billion media account that Disney had put into review earlier that month. The decision to not defend their position was rationalized by current financial situations and Disney’s corporate structure.
The parting of Publicis and Disney Media capped a year full of changes in brand representation. Carmichael Lynch walked away from Harley Davidson after 31 years, Fitzgerald & Co. and Aflac ended a 20-year relationship, and Tabasco wrapped up their 24-year run with Omnicom Group’s TracyLocke. The growing number of changes within a brands marketing arm is not without warning signs though.
Today’s brands not only demand creativity and innovation, but measurable results. When the social media boom first began for brands around 2008, the goal was to build communities. Fast-forward to the present and community building is only part of the equation. Brands don’t just want results, they demand it. A Facebook Like, a Twitter retweet, a Google share, these are just buzz words at the dinner table of marketing teams. Prior to Tabasco parting ways with TracyLocke and shifting over to Ogilvy West, the last time that they had reviewed their relationship with TracyLocke had been nearly 20 years ago. Over time, ad campaigns and brand positioning had become rudimentary. It’s not to say that TracyLocke didn’t do a good job with the Tabasco account. In fact, Tabasco did lead their industry in terms of sales. Rather, the same act had become all too familiar.
With so many new media channels and opportunities, the need to take the Tabasco brand down a path that would address the need for creativity and be results driven was imperative.
No Don Draper Here
Unlike the marketing and advertising campaigns depicted by Don Draper and the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce ad agency from Mad Men where the beauty and creativity of a campaign can be enough to make a brand happy, marketing is now laced with terms like return on investment, scalability, and revenue. The core value of marketing as a brand building tool still persists, but with the addendum of how an action can lead to a measurable value and increase revenue.
Speaking with both current and former advertisers and marketers alike, the shift in the way a brand views marketing and advertising can be best described as transitional. While traditional marketing continues to look for new ways to rejuvenate itself, the digital space is an untapped resource for brands.
The marketing game has changed. The team with the best creative and prettiest presentation won’t necessarily win that multimillion dollar marketing account. It will be the team that develops a creative campaign that addresses the goals of the brand.
Winston Churchill said it best:
However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.
How do you measure success in marketing? How do you balance creativity with creating measurable results?