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What do marketers need to learn?

April 11, 2011

In the 4A’s group on LinkedIn, Paul asked this question:

“If you could only pick three training courses to run in your agency this year what would they be?”

This is my answer: I think people need to be trained on insight generation and customer journey’s. Here’s what I mean: advertising used to be about two things, general advertising (aka brand) and below the line advertising (aka, direct, in-store, loyalty, etc).

Then along came the internet, and mobile, and adwords, and social….

The lines blurred, and brands start showing 30-second spots using QR codes on the shelf. As we scurry from one shiny object to the next, what we fail to do is understand how the consumer goes from unaware to purchase.

The routes, known as the Path to Purchase or The Customer Journey are more complicated.They might start with a TV ad, or they might start with a Google search. For high consideration products, customers require nurturing, and that’s part of the customer journey.

so here’s the point: an understanding of the routes will help generate insights about the customer, and ideas about the brand. This will help determine tactics, so you don’t find yourself in a conversation with someone who says “we need a Facebook page”. Instead, if the page is part of the journey, then it will be right strategically. If it isn’t, it won’t be.

It all sounds easy on paper, but this is the hard part. It is also hard to get a client to pay for it, for the record. But once they see the value, it is hard to get them to go back to throwing darts at tactics (exaggeration, I know).

So my answer is this: teach people about customer journeys. The team will learn about Facebook, mobile, landing pages, search — of those things are part of the journey. Then, at least the team will know what they don’t know.

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