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As SXSW comes to a close, we brace our businesses and blogs for the debates, the changes and the passing trends we’ll wisely embrace or abandon as the year continues. We’ll discuss the repeat offenders, who offer the same old ideas repackaged with some glitter or the presently popular “green” label, hoping for one last hurrah before being usurped by whatever up-and-coming trend, platform, or technology will take its place.
We’re always looking for the truly innovative, the truly nuanced, the idea or technology that will change the world. We want to catch the first glimpse of any small flickr of brilliance that might give way to a whole new way of doing things, to our own Brave New World.
As marketers, we have to be on top of the game. We have to know the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the drivers and inhibitors, the strengths and limitations, the potential risks and the promise of reward when it comes to marketing to the wider masses – be it B2B or B2C.
Yet, as a researcher in the digital marketing world, I gravitate towards the “nothing new under the sun” camp. We see new bright shiny objects, but do we see new patterns? These packages certainly look different and perhaps even function differently, but the behavioral patterns that emerge seem to follow similar principles.
Understanding those principles and their practical application (that are as varied as your customer base) becomes challenging when dealing with the ever-increasing integration of media platforms and the people who use them. As Web 2.0 morphs into Web 3.0 with such subtlety that it’s unlikely we’ll put a date and time to its inception, we notice that our digital lives become less and less distinct from our “real” lives. Where does one stop and the other start?
So, what does this mean for marketing?
Well, we know what it means. It means personalization, but not too much personalization because that’s just creepy. It means looking beyond the channels, but not too far beyond that you disregard them. It means giving customers control, but not too much control, otherwise that’s inconvenient.
Easy enough, right?
Successful marketing means operating in a world of grey where people always change yet stay the same. It means keeping a constant pulse on your consumers and clients, on their behaviors, motivations, complaints and desires, but respecting their privacy. It means oscillating between the big picture and the minutia of details to plan for the future, yet deliver for the present.
So, as much as we hope to find answers in the Tweets, the blogs and the emerging technologies, the reality is there’s no escaping the one constant among all these changes – the users and consumers – who dictate, demand and drive the market. All successful marketing relies on an insightful grasp of consumer data as dynamic because of what, or who, it represents, and yet must be employed with the kind of originality and innovativeness we see emerging from the general direction of Austin, TX. For marketers, success means understanding consistency in behaviors while employing change in delivery in order to stay ahead of the crowd, but on pace with consumer expectations. In a word, balance.
Easy enough, right?