As an advertising creative, my job is to take marketing strategy, marinate it in my brain to cook up fresh, new ideas. I’m a specialist at connecting the dots …making the leap between the empirical, marketing research insights to create the emotional connection that inspires behavior change. So having attended the 2017 Iconosphere conference in Las Vegas this week, getting steeped in current consumer insights in a room of marketing execs and strategists, I gobbled up the breadcrumbs to create my own conclusions. Here they are:
Throw your assumptions out the window.
Before you do a gut check, fact check. I was surprised how when quizzed about Gen We how many assumptions I had were not quite on the money. Like who knew 79% of them are financially cautious? It’s easy to make assumptions. But when you open your mind to alternate realities, you can find new ways in to approach a problem.
Read between the focus groups.
Consumers lie. I never really considered just how much in denial we are of the motivations behind our behaviors. But I learned from keynote speaker, Bob Moesta, that if today’s parents wouldn’t be caught dead driving a minivan, why were over 400,000 minivans sold last year? Sometimes consumer’s desires and actions don’t line up. We create false narratives. As marketers, it’s our job to be aware of the subtext and read between the lines.
Keeping asking “Why?”
Why? Because that is the million-dollar question. It’s where you can strike gold. Don’t settle for what people say they want. Or what shiny, new object you can deliver. Keep digging. Go deeper. Find the problem they want to solve. Find the struggle. That is where new products and ideas come from.
Know thy competition.
It’s not who you think it is. It’s not a product. Or service. Or business. It’s time. It’s effort. It’s busyness. Consumers are busy. In fact, we are 400% more productive than our counterparts in 1950’s. We don’t have time to read. We certainly don’t care about your company. We just have a problem to solve. And you either help us or you don’t. As you design websites, create products and approach problems, consider who you are up against. And how you can help your audience win.
Imagine solutions society can’t.
Humans are wired to habit. We don’t love change. But oh how we love our smart phones. We can’t imagine not having it tethered to us 24/7. Until someone shows us what is next. When we see it, and that tipping point falls, we will jump ship to the next big thing. As soon as you accept the status quo, it will change. So always be on the forefront of what’s next.
So in this blog post, I am actually creating more holes. Taking what we know and opening it up like swiss cheese. And that is exactly the point. Marketing is a minefield. And you have to know where those holes are all around you. Before you fall through or blow up. Navigate knowing you don’t know everything, look for new clues and the breadcrumbs. They will lead you to something truly delicious.
Need more insights? Check out the six things we learned at last year’s Iconosphere.