Platform thinking: get a new elevation

February 15, 2012 — Leave a comment

Part 2 of the series B2B Marketing – four creative opportunities for 2012″

Last year we spent a fair bit of time coming to grips with marketing automation. Actually, to be fair, we spent most of the year cowering under the bed, absolutely terrified by the mind-bending scope, complexity and operational tedium of platforms like Unica. These technologies promise to automate, analyse and optimise pretty much every single thing a marketer could hope to do, but for someone operating from the creative end of the advertising agency spectrum, they can feel like the end of days.

Dig a little deeper and you realise that these technologies want the same things we do:

  • a consistent tone of voice
  • a building narrative for a brand story
  • logical pathways for multiple customer journeys
  • measureable interaction with the audience
  • and, most importantly, longevity of campaigns

Platform technologies, it turns out, demand platform thinking. They have the ‘Test, Learn & Optimise’ cycle built into their DNA. They simply refuse to co-operate with one-off, isolated tactics. They tell you when your ideas are working and they tell when they aren’t, which encourages creative & strategic experimentation by limiting risk: these platforms can be pre-programmed to kill failures early & cheaply.

The really big shift that these platforms demand, in terms of thinking, is in terms of timeframe and ROI. These are long-term tools for long-term marketing plays. They reward persistence, patience and consistency. And agencies are starting to respond, changing their mantra of 360 degree marketing (using all the available channels to ‘surround the audience’) to one of 365-day marketing: being always present, always on, always responsive.

This platform thinking has a downside: it’s a hungry beast. If you’re going to show up, every single day, you’d best be prepared to have something to say, every single day. Which is why platform thinking plays nicely with content marketing, and why marketers could probably benefit from thinking like publishers.

Next up: Why Direct Mail is the comeback kid>

Missed Part 1? See why Content is the kingmaker, not the king>

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