The processes of evolution and revolution both bring change, but in different ways and in different time frames. Evolution slowly weeds out those who cannot cope with a changing reality, while revolution involves dramatic and sudden change that can make a strategy, system or way of thinking obsolete overnight. Today, smart marketers are realizing that they can no longer approach their programs and relationships in the same way they’ve “always done it.” Consumers dictate when, how and where they want to interact with brands, not the other way around. They hold the power to make your brand relevant or, equally possible, irrelevant. It is with this foundational shift that marketers must base their decisions and strategies.
Marketers who haven’t evolved will be outpaced by those that have; those that have evolved are leading a revolution that will place further pressure to change on those left behind. So what does a (r)evolutionary marketer look like?
Daring but not Careless
The (r)evolutionary marketer is first and foremost a calculated risk taker. In their approach and decision-making process, they will thoroughly explore both known avenues and lesser-traveled routes. If a new path makes sense for their business and their objectives, they’ll happily take it (even if there’s low visibility around the corners and the road is not yet paved). Not only are they risk takers themselves, they have an ability to effectively sell calculated risk-taking within their organizations. In doing so, these marketers inspire innovation that reaches far beyond an individual campaign’s performance, but builds the brand and expands its boundaries.
Champions of Strong Partnerships
Today’s marketer approaches partner engagements with an eye toward the future of the relationship, and will take care to nourish and deepen those relationships to realize their full value. Consider the agency RFP process: the (r)evolutionary marketer understands that it is impossible for five different agencies to know your brand well enough as a result of the pitch process to truly understand what needs to be done for your brand to flourish. Instead, they seek agency partners that demonstrate a willingness to collaborate, show evidence of cohesion and unity in their team presentations, and who demonstrate through past relationships that they approach new clients as more than their vendor, but as trusted extensions of successful brands’ marketing teams.
Cross-Functional and Channel Agnostic
Given the challenges of driving effective communication in today’s varied and fast-paced landscape, marketers can no longer rely on siloed channel expertise. A brand is not its website, its social media channels, its TV spots or its paid search campaigns. A brand is all of it, all the time, everywhere. Today’s successful marketer fully grasps how each of these tools work together and build on one another to create a marketing program that will speak to the customer in the right ways with the right messaging for the channel(s).
The (r)evolutionary marketer, therefore, approaches her role in a much broader manner, devaluing boundaries set by a bulleted job description. She is both the voice of the brand and the voice of the customer, and pushes her teams and partners to skillfully pair the two viewpoints together in every program. She is the internal thought leader who understands her channels as vehicles to success and deploys them wisely. Though teams of experts must still be engaged to execute with tactical excellence within a given channel, the (r)evolutionary marketer is a cross-functional expert. She develops employees, builds teams and rewards agency partners that provide evidence they understand and appreciate the cross-functional 1+1=3 holistic approach as well.
The most valued and sought-after marketers tomorrow are those that will push a brand to excellence, and who will surround themselves with true partners who share their objectives. Acting as evolutionary change agents, they will use a holistic model to redefine how to brands interact with their customers across platforms, while fomenting revolutionary change through calculated risks and bold leadership.
Viva la Revolución!