Myth #1: Marketing is easy

by: Kelley Parks

Anyone in marketing has no doubt experienced the heavy handed Board member or well-intended CFO that wants to develop their inner-marketer.  “Why can’t we just buy TV ads?”  “There’s a billboard on that busy highway, how about that?” “Why aren’t we advertising in this newspaper I read?“ Perhaps, once upon a time it was that simple. Back when there were limited channel choices, a captive SEG, and fairly predictive demographics, the job was fairly clear-cut. Fast forward 20 years later and it’s a never-ending roller-coaster of changes from the number of touchpoints available for member engagement, squeezed margins, downsized budgets, fragmented media, shifting demographics and increased competition. Marketers simply have their work cut out for them to compete in the new normal.

Credit unions aren’t alone on this ride. An IBM Institute for Business Value interviewed 1,700 CMOs and found that 79% expect marketing complexity to increase, while only 40% felt ready to meet the challenge. Interestingly, top-performing companies felt the same amount of trepidation as industry laggards.

So, what is making marketing so complex and challenging these days? Here are 3 big trends adding to your workaholism:

1. Data. Data. Data…Oh and more data.

We can now capture data through just about every channel we use.  Add to that social media, online tracking, email and digital marketing, data processors, demographic and psychographic targets, Google Analytics, and credit bureaus – we are suddenly full-time analysts.  From site visits, organic traffic growth, landing page conversion rates, social engagement, keyword rankings, visits from referrals, leads generated, to fan growth rates, it’s a virtual eruption of numbers at our fingertips.  Oh and don’t forget to compare this set of data to last month’s numbers and the three month average and…and…and…well, we all need a new set of arms to track it, analyze it, and discover the meaning of whether what we are doing really makes waves.

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