New technology and users' changing behaviors have dramatically altered the way marketers find and communicate with their target audience. But understanding and adopting new tactics can prove challenging, especially for large organizations. At the iMedia Brand Summit in Amelia Island, Florida, Chris Cox, senior manager of global digital marketing at The Hershey Company; Chris Crayner, SVP, integrated media and digital at Universal Orlando; and Adam Kmiec, senior director of mobile, social and content marketing at Walgreens, shared their experiences effectively leveraging new technology, social channels, and real-time data in a panel moderated by Jeff Rosenblum, co-founder and partner of Questus.
Their tips for staying ahead of the customer and competition without disrupting the organization include choosing the right tools, recruiting the right talent, and effectively communicating key data-based findings across all levels of the organization.
Choose the right tools
Cox advised marketers to resist the temptation to try every new channel and tool. Rely on metrics to determine what’s working and scale accordingly. "Sometimes fewer better bets is the solution," he said. Additionally, be willing to customize your approach for your different products and target audiences. "It’s not going to be a 'one-size-fits-all' approach," he noted.
"Don't get distracted by the shiny new object," agreed Crayner. "It has to make sense and make dollars and cents."
Rely on, and share, data
The unprecedented depth of data at our fingertips is useless if we don't understand how to analyze it and take informed actions based on the findings. "Democratize the data," urged Kmiec. "Every team member needs to understand it, or it will be tough to understand their role."
Let all groups across the organization access the same metrics, and use these metrics to better understand your audience and market more precisely.
Create a culture of innovation and transparent communication
Crayner and his team strive to hire individuals who demonstrate proven expertise and a broad set of interests -- "T—shaped" people. "It’s great for your company’s creative development to have top talent as well as curious, elastic minds," he said.
The panelists suggested recruiting optimistic, forward-thinking people, and allowing digital natives to lead creative ideation sessions. They’ll often lead the team to experiential concepts that lend themselves to social.
Additionally, when discussing data and new technology, promote effective communication across all levels of the organization. It’s easy to get bogged down with buzzwords and jargon. Don't hide behind technology.
Know your audience. Keep things simple. Focus on their needs, and stay solution-oriented. These internal communication tips double as sage advice for effective brand storytelling.