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Why marketing keeps getting harder (and isn’t going to ever get easier)

Marketing is hard. It’s exhausting. If you don’t live it, you don’t get it. “Don’t you just make pretty ads and record jingles all day? That sounds fun!”

For those of us who do it every day, we know. It’s the awkward mishmash of art and science. There are no right answers, only shades of better or worse ones.

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I can’t rely on my trusted strategies and tactics. They aren’t packing the same punch as they used to. It’s a good thing because it pushes me to try new things and look for clearer water. But it’s also pretty annoying.

So, I gathered up some Stryve’rs to vent about it. You can listen to our chat or read on for some of the salient points.

These aren’t the good ol’ days anymore

What most everyday folks think of when they picture advertising or marketing is Mad Men. To those in the industry, Mad Men is a picture of a golden era that is no more. Back then, all companies could do was traditional, awareness-focused advertising. They were investing in getting their brand out into the world with catchy slogans and bold images. They were also drinking and smoking excessively.

Today, we’re both #blessed and cursed. We have digital marketing tactics that can be directly tied to sales. We calculate attribution and marketing ROI. This isn’t a new, shiny thing anymore. Everyone is doing it to some degree or another. We love being able to show the results our work generates, but we’re also seeing the other edge of that sword. If the results can’t be proven, then companies aren’t going to invest in it. I will 100% agree with that thinking, but it is too narrow too fast.

Most companies are still working on their ROI models. They know they’re not tracking and attributing everything perfectly. But the openness to investing in awareness is gone. Just because you can’t prove its worth with a fancy algorithm yet doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Invest in all parts of your funnel, even if you can’t prove ROI yet. If you’re only focusing on the bottom where you can get attribution, you’re only looking at a teeny part of the picture. Bring back some golden era Mad Men thinking.

Mad Men gif

Consumers are empowered and in control

The digital era has brought us a lot of great tools: retargeting, account-based marketing and lead nurture. Marketers love ’em and can do so many cool things now, but consumers have a lot of helpful toys, too — which marketers are a tad less stoked about. These are your ad blockers, anti-spam laws and privacy legislation.

When GDPR hit the scene, it understandably caused a curfuffle. Digital marketing left the wild west. How dare we need people’s permission to communicate with them? It’s a great step for consumer and privacy protection and I’m a big fan, but it threw marketing for a loop. Add these to the million browser extensions, apps, and programs, and you’ll see things are trending towards killing off digital ads.

OMG so how am I supposed to do my job? Marketers need to change things up. Brands will need to put more effort and resources into content, SEO, and inbound to separate themselves from the competition. Companies that understand they must provide value to their customers (whether it’s information, entertainment, whatever) before they can ask for something in return will find that this new era is great. Companies who are late to figure this out will learn the hard way by watching their leads walk away.

Bachelor gif

Keep on truckin’

I will never write a blog about how marketing has gotten easier. The world we live in and the way they interact will never stop changing and marketing will always need to keep up. The trick is to acknowledge when you need to adapt and try new things. When you get overwhelmed with the constant change, try venting to your fellow marketers about the neverending slog we’ve signed ourselves up for.

Sarah Rosenquist

Senior Account Manager

Sarah is a quick learn when it comes to using new technology, and is the resident geek of the team. Her favourite thing is peeling the plastic off new gadgets.

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