Lisa Nirell's Marketing Waves Blog

New Video: 3 Causes of Marketing Colony Collapse

You may have heard about Bee Colony Collapse, which has generated great concern among noted scientists. The catalysts for the precipitous decline in bee colonies are unknown, and there is much debate about the cause.. Here in Virginia, hive populations have dropped by two-thirds since 1970. The potential impact on our ecosystem and food supply is devastating.

Although the consequences are not quite as grave as Bee Colony Collapse, the marketing messaging and communications “ecosystem” we are accustomed to has changed. Like the bee colonies, it has collapsed into a new, increasingly challenging environment.

What’s causing today’s marketing leaders to struggle with winning the hearts and minds—as well as the attention—of their audience? Said differently, why are our traditional marketing colonies collapsing? We can examine three causes for the collapse:

1. The “Always On” Customer puts pressure on our resource “colony.” When customers send you a question, they want instant answers; they don’t want an automated response, they want a personalized answer now — not later. This is affecting so many of our industries.

Consider, as an example, the fashion design industry’s plight. Recently, Ken Downing, the chief designer of Neiman Marcus said, “The mega brands want speed. As a creative director, you have to have great stamina, and also be wildly talented to feed the monster that fashion has become.”

A fashion designer’s life has also become very unpleasant, with a very short job tenure. They’re expected to design advertising campaigns as well as accessories departments—while also launching five collections a year. Designers are under pressure to keep things fast and fresh. Retailers like H&M and Zara have changed the way we look at fashion. The retail industry is just one of many examples of industries facing the need for speed.

2. Information sharing, collecting, and validation have become very complex. We recently launched the Message Maelstrom model at one of our Marketing Leaders of D.C. meetings, where we invited Jeff Herbst, the CEO of Newseum. He validated many of the pressures our members are feeling as they witness how media is changing. We all agreed that our marketing content strategies have to adapt–but our audience’s preferences can be elusive.

We see many contributors to the Message Maelstrom™:

  1. Marketers used to communicate in one direction with our clients or our stakeholders. Now, it’s a two-way conversation.
  2. Customers and shareholders used to know what content to trust. Organizations like Google and Facebook vehemently deny that they are media companies, and claim that they are neutral technology platforms instead. This is clearly not the case. A huge percentage of Facebook users treat that platform as their primary news source. The pressure is not only on our customers to figure what content they want and from whom, but now we also must be careful and helpful in what kind of content we provide.

What information do we trust in a society where we are increasingly distrusting authority figures, and are bombarded by too much information? Where can we access information that is the closest version of the truth?

3. We are also suffering from the confusion created by the sheer volume of content. It’s not just happening to our customers; it’s happening to us too.

The Message Maelstrom™ illustrates the speed and volume at which things are happening.

3.  Short attention spans can sting. Thanks to new ways of working, such as agile marketing, we are enabling some poor habits. Agile marketing, a process that spun out of agile software development, helps marketing teams break key initiatives down into smaller bite-sized pieces to generate faster deliverables. Agile helps us test and learn rapidly.

While tempting, these short spurts come at a price: we are conditioning boards and CEOs to expect results EVERY week. Critical thinkers must remind stakeholders that we often need go slow in order to then go fast.

Those are the dynamics that could cause your marketing colony—and your customer base—to collapse. Without a plan to adapt, you’ll be pollinating the wrong audience.

To download the Message Maelstrom™, click here

Copyright 2017, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.

[Related posts need updating]

Related posts:

Marketing Innovation: Help from Honeybees

On24 Webinar on Demand: Breaking Bad Content Habits

Breaking Bad: Five Content Strategies We Need To Bust

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