Agora Meetings Takeaways: Are Marketers Just Button Pushers?
Do you ever feel like you’re part of a production process? That you’re just spinning your wheels like a small cog in a big machine? When was the last time you stepped away from your ‘day-to-day’, and really thought about how to create real growth, value and innovation in your business?
If you haven’t fallen into the “production trap,” there’s a good chance other members of your marketing team have…or will do.
In the old school direct mail days, copywriters truly were king, while marketers were mostly button pushers, focused on finding lists and getting that copy in front of them.
Fast forward to the digital age and marketing has become a much more critical element of the direct response business.
I’d argue the marketer is now king.
Don’t get me wrong. You still need great copy. And you still need marketers to get you those lists. But finding those lists requires more creativity than ever before.
Lists are everywhere. They’re your own email house lists or third parties who will let you email their readers. Social media followers are a list. Your website visitors who you can remarket to are another. Lookalike audiences on Facebook…people searching for relevant keywords on AdWords…or your target audience on native ad networks are all lists.
There’s much more to the modern marketer than seeking out those lists, though. It’s critical for them to be involved in the copy and creative process.
Direct response marketers will still crave data, but only as a means to find creative ways to leverage it.
This was one takeaway from the many I got from Fernando Cruz from Legacy research, an Agora publication. I was fortunate to join many Agora marketers and publishers from Brazil, Argentina, Australia, Europe and beyond, to listen to Fernando for the last couple of days in uncharacteristically sunny Dublin. He shared some of his secrets to building a successful marketing team and creating an environment that lets big ideas thrive.
It’s was a timely reminder to look at myself and the marketers I work with. It’s often easier to focus on “busy work” and those looming deadlines, rather than looking at the big picture and seeking those big breakthrough ideas. Not being able to see the forest for the trees is a trap that’s easy to fall into.
So what can you do to dig yourself out, or better yet, avoid it happening altogether?
For some people, there’s nothing you can – or should – do. Every marketing team does need a production element, too. But your A-game marketers will be those who want to flex their creative muscles and release their inner entrepreneur. As Fernando says, you want your key players to think like business owners.
But if you recognise those people are stuck in a production role, you need to find a way to move them into a position that will make better use of those creative ideas. And you need to empower them to try new things…to think of new offers or to change the format (repurposing a tired promo into a webinar, for instance).
And if you’re a marketer stuck in a production role yourself, you need to show that you have a creative side wanting to be set free.
A critical way for you – or your marketers – to tap into the creative side is to be involved in, and understand, the copy process. At a minimum, every marketer needs to read the copy that’s being promoted.
And then, if you manage others, you need to be prepared to “shut up and listen” to the ideas they come up with. As fellow AIMer Natalie mentioned in a latest article after our marketing event in France; you need to challenge the status quo, revisit old assumptions and not have your first thought be “that won’t work.” Fernando reinforced that view by stressing that in marketing, there are no sacred cows. Keep your mind open to new ideas and you may find that a breakthrough that will move the marketing needle has been under your nose the entire time.
The core role of a marketer is still to take a message (the copy) and get it to the right person at the right time (list). But the best marketers are also helping craft that message.
Unlike the direct mail days, digital marketers are closer than ever to the customer; hearing their feedback via comments on your Facebook ads, or seeing the search terms being used to trigger AdWords ads. Marketers can use this insight to craft their own ad copy, rather than push that responsibility to the copywriter who likely sees that as a distraction.
Avoiding the production trap was one of many takeaways from Dublin this week. I was also fortunate to attend the Agora health businesses roundtable in London last week. I’ll be sharing more from those meetings in future articles and on our Facebook page.
The AIM squad are also working tirelessly behind the scenes on an exciting new venture that will better allow us to share insider secrets in a more timely and detailed way. We’ll keep you posted in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, I have a request for you. A challenge of sorts.
I gave a presentation in London on AIM’s top 5 digital takeaways. It was an interesting and really valuable process in coming up with those top 5. I wrote mine down but reached out to several members of the AIM squad independently to ask what theirs were. They had to come up with their top 5 without talking to anyone else. There was some crossover and similar ideas.
But there was one big takeaway that every single AIM member had.
I’m writing up a report to share that top takeaway – and the others – with you. But before you’re corrupted and influenced with our opinions, I’d like you to do the same and share yours with us. But I’ll make it easy, I’m just asking for your one top takeaway.
So please reply to this email with your top digital marketing takeaway.
Don’t overthink it. You don’t have to go into great detail either. Just off the top of your head, what is the one thing that’s critical to what you do that’s successful or something on the horizon that you think is potentially a game changer and shouldn’t be ignored?
I look forward to hearing from you and sharing the results of that feedback and AIM’s top 5 with you soon.
Marketing Director, AIM
P.S. As I mentioned, we’re working on an exciting new venture to allow us to share the big wins and lessons learned from failures at Agora. Stay tuned for more information soon.