Changes and Lasting Truths in Marketing

This year has been a really important one for my career. Position and career moves have lead me to working at Tribal Worldwide.  Although my position, skills and responsibilities have changed a bit there are some empirical truths in the world of digital marketing that I learned.


Treat Your Client as if They Expect Everything & Understand Nothing

I’ve had the opportunity this year to work with some of the largest companies in the world and regardless of their Ticker letter or quarterly revenue all clients want to be wowed at every possible turn. The larger the client, the more important they think they are, but every client should be given the same level of care and education and by education I mean education on the marketing process. Some of the biggest pitfalls in a project can come from a disconnect between the client and their marketing team.

SEO is Important No Matter the Client

Yes, yes, Social Media is sexy, everyone knows that but visitors need to be able to find your brand without directly looking for your brand so a website needs to be optimized. Ad buying, social and targeted marketing are wonderful and no form of digital marketing can or should replace any other because all of them need to work in order for consumers to interact well with a brand. End of story.

Don’t Use Short Cuts, They Don’t Work

The most interesting experiences I’ve had this year came from meeting clients and potential clients who thought doing things the long way would be a waste of time. As many marketers would have already known, doing things the ‘long way’ often means doing things the right way. Don’t skip research when creating a strategy, don’t think you know what your customers are thinking because more often than not you don’t. Take the time to truly understand your competitors, your landscape and your audience. You’ll save a lot of time by doing things the right way first time around.

Nothing Stays the Same

This one I learned after doing some research for a Smoke Signals article I wrote about Black Friday. Preliminary reports about Black Friday claimed it was a dud but after some research I found the famed shopping weekend wasn’t a failure it just changed and the analysts failed to understand that. Shoppers are no longer content with fighting it out in stores after waiting hours in line instead of enjoying a turkey dinner. Why is that? Because they don’t have to! There are so many other affordable options available to Christmas shoppers looking for a deal, they can shop early, shop the same deals the following week or most importantly they can shop online. Last year I didn’t step foot in a store and I got the same discounts that I would’ve had if I want to a brick and mortar and I did it all from my couch. With extra sales and round the clock shopping available the model of the holiday consumer must change and if businesses don’t accept this change they’ll be left behind.

Marketing Doesn’t Have to be Hurtful

A former coworker went to a conference hosted by an old school marketer I won’t name and told me the key point of what he learned: All advertising needs to address a pain point. Most advertising does address a pain but to say all advertising needs to do is simplistic and will probably produce hammy results.


It’s like saying all marketing should address a need, when we know that some marketing creates a need around a product we didn’t know we wanted. The same goes for the pain point view of marketing. Great advertising doesn’t have to make you feel stupid, fat or useless.

One of the most successful ads that ran this year was Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign.

Did the ad address a pain point? Did it show a bunch of people who couldn’t get clean with other soaps? Are competing products slippery in shower scenes? No, this wildly successful and critically acclaimed marketing campaign didn’t talk about soap at all. It was just beautiful and loving and different.

If there’s anything that I missed feel free to add any major changes or constants of marketing (digital or otherwise) in the comments below.