In a recent interview with Insights for Professionals, I discussed the concerning trend of performance marketers losing their courage to explore new marketing channels, methodologies, and technologies.
The interview touched on several key concepts:
Marketers seem to have forgotten how critical experimentation is to success
Our comfort with digital analytics has made us complacent, and too afraid to try new channels
Without risks, we can’t unlock the potential in new marketing channels
In the early days of my marketing career I worked as a consultant at HubSpot. I remember having to explain to CMOs what a search engine was before we could get them to start doing SEO. They thought blogging was something teens did on LiveJournal (okay, they weren’t wrong about that) and that serious companies didn’t belong on “platforms for kids” like Facebook.
And yet, they grew outside of their comfort zones. They pushed boundaries. They stopped playing it safe and embraced the unknowns of social media, blogging, and PPC. And while they reaped the rewards of that experimentation, and those experiments became mainstays–it seems like they forgot the lesson of the importance of experimentation.
Instead of embracing the unknown as they once did with blogging and social media, marketers are now playing it safe again, and sticking to familiar territory. This complacency is stifling innovation and limiting opportunities for professional and business growth.
I've written in previous articles about the importance of having a growth mindset and embracing experimentation in the ever-evolving world of marketing. A recent study by McKinsey & Company supports this notion (don’t you love when smart people agree with you?), indicating that companies embracing experimentation have higher growth rates compared to their more conservative counterparts.
One area that many marketers have been hesitant to explore is out-of-home (OOH) advertising. While this channel may not provide the same level of granular data as digital advertising, it offers a largely untapped opportunity to reach and engage target audiences.
Plus, a dearth of data yesterday doesn’t mean dearth of data tomorrow. We all know technology is constantly evolving–just look at how far data analytics have come for the once-super-weird blogging and social media marketing “experiments”. Companies like ours (you can read our unlikely origin story here) are using advancements in technology to make OOH advertising more measurable and targetable than ever. Artificial intelligence and data analytics are empowering marketers to optimize their campaigns and make data-driven decisions to improve performance (you can read more at Billboard Insider), just like they do with their digital marketing campaigns.
So how can marketers regain their courage and embrace experimentation?
If marketers want to benefit from the latest and greatest in marketing technology, they can’t be afraid of it, either. Start by adopting a "test and learn" approach, running small-scale experiments to gather insights and iterate quickly. This methodology has always allowed marketers to mitigate risk while uncovering new opportunities for growth, and it’s no different today. It's also essential to stay informed about the latest trends and technologies in the marketing landscape, continually pushing ourselves to explore new channels and methodologies.
I guess what I’m saying, ever so delicately, is that it's time for performance marketers to grow a spine. Let’s reclaim the bold spirit of experimentation that once defined the industry. By venturing into the unknown and embracing new channels like out-of-home, we can drive innovation and achieve greater success for the brands and businesses we serve. The future of marketing depends on our willingness to push the boundaries, take calculated risks, and adapt to an ever-changing landscape.
By reigniting the flame of experimentation and boldly exploring new marketing frontiers, we can reinvigorate the industry and create more meaningful connections with our audiences. And maybe make our own jobs a little more fun in the process.
If you don't keep your edge, you might not make it long as a marketer.
Want to get started? Click the image below and we'll share all the experiments we've been running lately, including AI applications for Account-Based Marketing. 👇