As we start a New Year and a new decade, it's informative to hear what is on the minds of our colleagues. So, this issue of Marketing Coach presents some timely perspectives on what top communicators are thinking about their learnings from last year and their aspirations and expectations for 2020.
Meet the contributors to this issue :
Barbara Cooperman, Board Director, Pidyon Controls, Inc., Former Chief Marketing Officer, Kroll, @bjcooperman
Galina Espinoza, Senior Director, Digital Enterprises, NBCUniversal, @GalinaEspinoza
Douglass Hatcher, Co-Founder and President, communicate4IMPACT, @comm4impact
Dennis Tan, Co-Founder and CEO, Dashmote, @dashmote
Jacqueline Urquia, Global Marketing Communications, 3M Healthcare, @mediajaxx @3MHealthCare
Let's see what's on their minds...
Looking Back, Looking Forward
Communications Surprises There were a variety of surprises in communications during 2019 that strategic communicators expect will inform their work in 2020 and beyond.
From a macro perspective, we notice trends in tone, strategy and content that influence how people at work and in their personal lives communicate and respond to communications. "These times seem fractured and filled with greed, hate, indifference, cruelty. In 2019, hope re-appeared in two communications that I find remarkable," says Barbara Cooperman, Board Director, Pidyon Controls, Inc., Former Chief Marketing Officer, Kroll. "1) In August, the Business Roundtable issued a Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation signed by 181 CEOs who committed to leading their companies for the benefit of all stakeholders - customers, employees, suppliers, communities and shareholders. 2) Charlie Mackesy's book, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, a beautiful book about kindness, wisdom, friendship and mutual care, became an instant runaway bestseller and won Book of the Year awards from Waterstones (UK) and Barnes & Noble (US). In 2020, the metric of perfect vision I will focus on is communications with a view into the human heart and words that inspire."
"Over the last few years we've seen communication with consumers steadily evolving from a mass approach to one that's more and more niche; now, however, we've reached the point where the expectation is for a direct, one-to-one conversation," said GalinaEspinoza, Senior Director, Digital Enterprises, NBCUniversal. "Consumers want messaging tailored just for them -- or, at least, to feel like they're being reached with a custom approach."
Some, like Dashmote co-founder and CEO Dennis Tan, saw a pushback towards brand content with more user-generated content and the significant movement towards experience personalization. "Users are overloaded with content, and this means messages, now more than ever, are imprecise and difficult to remember. What is going to be crucial is the knowledge communicators have of their target audience - also via segmentation technologies - to craft messages with a high level of personalization. And of course, quality is king, there won't be space for sloppiness," Tan explains.
"What's surprising is how longer form content (2000+ words) consistently outperformed shorter form content in 2019-which at first glance seems ironic at a time of shorter attention spans," notes Douglass Hatcher, co-founder and president of communicate4IMPACT. "What explains this trend is what we call the "Netflix effect," where consumers will spend more time with your content if it's engaging, relevant, and relatable."
While 'digital everything' has dominated how we communicate in business and with our customers, it is an ongoing requirement and challenge... "for communicators to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and trends to be effective in their efforts," says Jacqueline Urquia, Global Marketing Communications, 3M Healthcare. "Understanding how to leverage digital capabilities with more traditional methods in an effective manner is what can set work apart from others."
Espinoza has a clear focus, "In 2020, I'll be working on the launch of NBCUniversal's new streaming product, peacock, so my goals are clear: To drive as much brand awareness for peacock ahead of launch, and post-launch, to build one of the world's dominant streaming players."
Marketer budgets are often in flux. Urquia believes that smart senior marketers and communications leaders will have a "continual refining of efforts to maximize return on investment so budgets can be most effective."
To become a North Star for anyone interested in the connection between AI technologies, big data and business intelligence, Dashmote sees the need to deliver on its goals of thought leadership and community building, and demand generation. "Being out there, online and offline, attracting new investors, partners, clients and tech-enthusiasts that will help us grow and perfect our technology, can be achieved only through quality, consistency and a thorough knowledge of our audience," according to Tan. "We want to talk about these topics, exchange ideas and spread them around to inspire companies and individuals. We want to build a community of professionals."
Decisions Impacted by Sharing/Engaging/Connecting
An understanding of how people are behaving when consuming content, connecting, meeting and sharing information is an important piece to being an effective communicator. A deeper understanding of the platforms and behavior can help with targeted communication efforts and ultimately drive a better return on investment. This is relevant for both B2C and B2B communications.
"New ways people are consuming content, sharing and engaging has major business consequences," according to Espinoza. You can see that with NBCUniversal's decision to launch peacock, a direct-to-consumer streaming service. It's all about knowing who your consumer is in a way that allows you to deliver exactly what your consumer wants."
Tan advises marketers to consider the information overload that users are subject to. He sees making sure audiences remember your company and come back to know more as the biggest challenge of all. "We need to accompany our audience through a purchase funnel," says Tan. "We need to float around the users and help them connect with our brands by giving them useful content and talking to them in the right way."
Expanding on this need, Tan notes, "Another important factor to consider is the growth in the importance of what we could call private communities, where kindred spirits exchange ideas and content about their passions. There - both offline and online - people share, connect, engage, because such spaces are more habitable than the mare magnum of the web. We need to get there!"
Ivy Cohen Corporate Communications helps companies build reputations and differentiate in a competitive market through thought leadership, public education, issues management, content strategy, and strategic communications. To find out how ICCC can help you and your company build your reputation contact firstname.lastname@example.org, call 212-399-0026 or visit www.ivycohen.com.