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Cleaning the Traditional Marketing Slate


In June 2009, research was conducted by marketing firm, McKinsey and Co. that disputed the validity of the traditional marketing purchase funnel metaphor by studying 20,000 consumers across five industries and three continents. The standard process of going from many brands to a final choice was replaced with something called the Consumer Decision Journey (CDJ) where consumers consider, evaluate, buy, enjoy, advocate, bond and are loyal to a brand.

Though the traditional funnel was a standard philosophy for decades, technology seemingly changed everything. Not simply because of the Internet, paradigms were flipped on their head with new, slick software solutions and research technology that began to expose the folly of big-budget broadcast, print, radio, outdoor, database marketing and public relations.

Today, consumers have gained new confidence through third-party research and word of mouth. As a result, marketers have been scrambling to catch up with a new way of thinking. Call it customer obsession, customer centricity or customer relationship management, it comes down to knowing your customer and putting your message in front of them at the right time and in the right place.

Although the old ways are still in some cases expected, how do we start over in our thinking and learn our existing and future customers’ new approach to purchasing products? Smart companies are already actively using these strategies to replace the old school approaches with excellent results.

Build your brand’s strength in the current culture.

Brands have always tried interjecting themselves into popular culture. Typical approaches such as using celebrity spokespeople, product placement in movies and television, sponsorships at music events and any number of lifestyle partnerships, were meant to “connect” with a desired culture. But in the new thinking, infiltrating the cultural preferences of a specific target customer runs much deeper. It’s based around a two-way conversation of listening, sharing, facilitating and helping to curate the desired cultural change or movement your customer cares about. Taking this conversation online puts your brand in a place of earning the kind of respect and credibility that you cannot get with a traditional promotional partnership.

Increase the odds of new customer purchase consideration.

In traditional marketing, there was awareness, familiarization, consideration, which led to ultimately purchasing the product. This “funnel” approach was thought to create loyalty. But today consumer purchase behavior initiates with a short list first, then, through extensive online research, ends up with an expanded list of choices. Loyalty is easily abandoned in this process when competing brands are welcomed by the consumer and rewarded for getting them the right information at the right time.

By developing new ways to get people information about your brand on third-party Internet sites and talk about your brand on social marketing sites, an advantage can be gained as your competitors lose visibility in the mix. Attracting consumers to your brand with initial ads is no longer enough. Instead, offer them all the information they need during the research phase and win new conquests based on this new behavior.

Cultivate your brand’s consumer influencers

Every company pursues established influencers — movers and shakers within the industry you preside — to tout your products and services to less informed potential customers. The idea was always to cozy up to those with established audiences in the hopes that they would speak well of your products when asked. Although these experts are still an important part of the mix, cultivating your own customers as influencers can cost less and have more satisfying results.

Thanks to online blogs, forums, social circles and countless other forms of personal expression, your customers have created a name for themselves within a smaller, but sometimes more influential group of potential buyers. Finding them and cultivating their influence is your job. Give them access to future product launches and other “insider” perks which provide them with “social currency” to share with others. Give them the tools they need to be successful in spreading the word about your brand.

Evaluate your brand’s overall effectiveness in the marketing mix

The old way was to spend 80% of the budget on traditional advertising and 20% Internet marketing. Those percentages have largely swapped places in today’s new consumer-driven economy. The challenge is to find the point in a consumer’s online research behavior that addresses your company’s competitive advantage. There are innovative marketing research tools available today to help identify the best messaging for your particular customer, making it easy for people to use your product or service. But most importantly, align all your customer-facing activity to your brand marketing goals and measure the results.

In a recent study, 73% of CEOs and decision makers revealed that they believe their company’s CMOs lacked the credibility to generate sufficient business growth. Brand equity is a term no company president wants to hear these days. The old way of spending to saturate a market by interrupting and irritating consumers is gone. The truth is that the outcome of these old practices only accomplishes two things: Wasting money and alienating consumers.

Brought to you by Vertical Marketing Network, a Leading Integrated Marketing Agency.

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8 comments on “Cleaning the Traditional Marketing Slate

  1. Pingback: How to Rock Your Marketing Strategies: Lessons Learned from the Superstars of Rock | Blogging Out Loud

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  3. Robert Botto
    September 12, 2013

    My mistake old school marketers utilizing “law of large numbers” ARE just using the new toys they have at hand. Just as if it was a radio ad or television ad.


    • Paul Wright
      September 12, 2013


      I think you have it exactly right. If it is based on the law of large numbers, then it is simply an old dog using new tools. Unless it is truly interactive (actual meaningful information is exchanged rather than a mere “impression” being made), advertising is not really taking full advantage of today’s technological opportunities.


      • Joni Gray
        September 17, 2013

        Thanks to all for the great comments! Yes, directionally, the smartest strategy may well be to “wipe the traditional marketing slate clean,” but, alas, it still exists and remains the easiest, most passive way to market a product or service. However, isn’t it exciting to be marketing pioneers in a new era of inbound marketing, where we can feasibly give our customers the information they want when they need it? Catching up to that high goal is the hard part.


  4. Robert Botto
    September 12, 2013

    @Diane Yes. Absolutely. A great book to read at that point exactly is Seth Godin’s Meatball Sundae. Basically, marketers that are accustomed to the “law of large numbers” are not just utilizing the new toys they have at hand.. AKA FB, Google, ie internet ads. And of course, no one will stop them because it is a vicious cycle. For example; Majority of apps now have ad placements somewhere. Advertisers that are accruing money from companies for PPC (pay per click) or PPM (pay per million impressions) are playing a game with consumers. Making their ads hard sometimes actually impossible to “X” out of. Thus you clicking and them making money. Thus also giving the companies paying for ads false information. Like I said a vicious circle.

    As for wiping or cleaning the old marketing slate. The answer, easier said than done. Inbound. That is the future of marketing. Consumers who WANT to be sent newsletters, emails, updates, product launches etc etc.

    @Phil this is a great article too by the way.


  5. Paul Wright
    September 11, 2013


    Yes, I agree with your point, but . . .

    The “old” was a thin layer of information, blasted widely and just hoping to generate sales by the “law of large numbers.” The theory was based on the assumption that a company could spend enough and get enough impressions, and sales will follow.

    The “new” way being advocated involves a very deep pool of information, enabled by modern technology. Yes, there is still a lot of spending on advertising — BUT the spending is focused not so much on averages, but on driving consumers to where they can find the information they want / need in order to make buying decisions.

    This is why we believe that our IDOHM (interactive Digital Out-of_home Media) technology is a great fit in order to provide consumers with all the information they need, interactively, at the “point of decision.”


  6. Diane
    September 4, 2013

    I am not so sure that the “old way of spending to saturate a market by interrupting and irritating consumers” is really gone. I find that it is every bit alive – just living online. I get more and more ads no matter how much pop up blocker I use. I find that maybe 15% of the time when I want to look at something – it makes me go through facebook – and I just click back out. Anyone else feel this way?


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This entry was posted on September 4, 2013 by in Uncategorized.

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