In speaking to marketers of all stripes—from startups with a seed round and 10 employees to those supporting global brands—I’ve encountered a particular phrase so often, it bears repeating: “Marketing is just becoming harder and harder.”
This seems to be a common refrain among all marketers, though the reasons they hold this belief are muddled. Are they saying those words to garner respect from others, or is marketing truly and fundamentally becoming harder?
Digging into this further, it seems that marketing is indeed becoming a broader challenge across the board. Here’s a distillation of what I learned, including a few tactics for marketers to adopt to deliver brilliant customer experience to meet consumer’s demands.
As customers learn, marketers must adapt
People can’t help but notice and appreciate great marketing and customer experience. This means that their benchmark for greatness is constantly moving up, often because your offerings are always being compared to brands that don’t even fall within your industry.
Amazon set the bar for great service even within a b-to-b context, and Apple may do the same for the hospitality industry. As a result, marketing teams have to consistently evolve alongside customers and pick up cues from even the least related of business sectors—much harder than it seems.
For help guiding this evolution, take a page from your competition. By spending some time perusing great marketing campaigns—as well as their strategy, content and approach—you’ll develop a sense of what worked, what didn’t and, most importantly, what takeaways and universal truths can be applied on a broader level . Your customers can provide some guidance as well, and software exists that can present customer feedback in real time to differentiate between trends and fads.
Understand each segment is crowded, and plan accordingly
Every marketer out there, at some point, will say that their market or segment is crowded; Their customers have plenty of other options, these companies will posit. They’re not making this up: If you look at any product intended for daily life—everything from chips to cars—you’ll notice more brands vying for market share in this space than even a mere five years ago.
Ecommerce has opened up markets for many small companies, and it’s now possible to reach critical mass purely from selling online. Brands compete intensely to generate demand for their offerings, carve out a respectable image for themselves, and establish a strong market position that leads to repeatable growth and sales.
To truly stand out in an oversaturated marketplace, ensure that your customer experience is flawless. Consider the customer journey step-by-step from both technical and emotional perspectives. Your shade of personalized customer experience can serve as a key differentiator that’s impossible to replicate.
Also, don’t be afraid to slow down: High quality marketing—as opposed to high quantity marketing—not only builds brand awareness but increases customer loyalty and respect.
Accept that shelf lives are significantly shorter
If every market segment is crowded by brands, and customers are consuming a ton of information throughout their day, that can logically lead to only one thing: dissonance.
Customers’ attention spans have steadily reduced over the last two to three decades, and as a result, the shelf life of any isolated piece of news, content or advertising is highly limited or shrinking further with time. This often means that marketers have to adopt reinforcement methods to drive any major messaging, lest their campaign fall onto overstimulated ears, which leads to even higher levels of bombardment and dissonance.