New Buzzwords Old: What Marketers Have Forgotten
Over the last 12 months there has been a subtle (or perhaps not subtle, depending on your position) change occurring in the digital marketing landscape. An interesting shift in perception, this change has already significantly altered the complexion of 2016 planning sessions for major corporations and brands. Old buzzwords are out and new buzzwords are in and value is being reassigned.
Meanwhile local small businesses will be left, once more, scratching their heads, wondering when the changes will stop. Of course it won’t stop. We know it and marketers who thrive in the new world don’t want it to. But recent trends may be indicating we’ve overplayed the change card a bit.
First, let’s back up a few years for a very brief historical recap: Google Happened. And with it, the conversations between marketers and business owners began to include dialogues about lead generation and ROI and ZMOT and analytics and conversion rates…and…all of that other good stuff.
Soon, Googleization began creeping into all media outlets and advertisers began demanding campaign analytics and ROI discussions and…all of that good stuff. Of course, this was positive. For years advertisers had been asking for concrete ways to identify which components of their advertising worked. By increasingly shifting their budgets to the bottom of the purchase cycle, local businesses took advantage of the safety net of analytics. They could relish in page rank and website traffic and bounce rate. They could define long-tail keywords and track form fills and phone calls. They could create conversion goals and manipulate an improved ROI through Cost-per-click analysis, (albeit generally at the expense of their average transaction value), but that’s a post for another day.
Meanwhile, budgets that had traditionally been positioned at the top of the funnel dwindled. Outreach or branding or conquest, (or whatever you want to call it) became a thing that business owners couldn’t afford to do. It just wasn’t pragmatic to throw money out into the marketplace and hope a message would stick when technology allowed for so much more. And yet, this is where the shift is occurring. Suddenly conversations are swirling around the value of branding and audience targeting and the very nature of the consumer-decision-making process.
Buzzfeed’s big test is beginning to feel like a winner as Native invades every digital space. Facebook, which has become so much more than a relationship tool, wants full news articles to be published in news-feeds. Programmatic advertising allows businesses to model audience selects and intensely drive awareness to the right people in each marketplace. And suddenly Broadcast Television, the ultimate outreach mechanism, is seeing advertising growth. All of this, because audience engagement is critical to establishing brand.
Suddenly branding has become a buzzword. What’s old is new and what’s irrelevant is relevant again. Business owners are remembering that ultimately, consumers make a decision regarding where they spend their money, and we don’t always want them to make that decision based on price. In the end, it really is a reason for the local business owner scratch their head. It would indicate that everything they KNEW, inherently to be true, but had forgotten amidst the noise of technology and analytics, has been a critical element the whole time.
If we did overplay the change card, it is creativity that suffered and ultimately it will make those 2016 planning sessions more challenging. However, for an old marketing guy, the prospects of getting creative and driving awareness puts a smile on my face. New buzzwords old…