Moving Far Beyond Mad Men

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Retailers have gone miles beyond the traditional print, TV and radio marketing of the Mad Men era, for sure, but even the more recent digital campaign-based marketing isn’t the best way to gain loyalty while maintaining profitability.

I’ll tell what works best, but first let’s take a look at how we got here.

Don Draper style

Traditional marketing was about coming up with the best tag line and finding the best audience and channel for delivery. Mad Men’s Don Draper is the perfect traditional marketing guy/ad man (there were very few women). Don is masterful at getting into the heads of the paying client with a promise that he will get his message into the heads of the end customer.  Even with focus groups testing those messages, it was an enormous leap of faith for the firm’s clientele.  It was all about selling an idea and less about proven execution.

Costly setup

Computing brought us beyond Mad Men and gave us the ability to watch for signs of a receptive audience. Those signals, or triggers, are certainly a step beyond Don’s famous tag lines, like London Fog’s, “Limit your exposure.” Campaign or old-style trigger-based marketing delivers personalized, relevant content based on the best knowledge in advance.  That sounds like a great idea but is hampered by structure and slowed down by potentially costly setup and execution.

Getting a trigger wrong means sending messages people don’t want. Missing the timing means marketing into thin air.  Because triggers are structured and reactive, campaign development is based on a cycle that has several steps: Identifying triggers, creating responses, testing and evaluating, operationalizing and then optimizing campaigns.  Traditional trigger-based marketing doesn’t bring the speed necessary to for today’s business.

Getting it right

There’s a new and better way that’s gaining ground with some of the best marketers in the business. The modern Don Draper operates in real-time and with event-driven marketing instead. Events are simply ‘things that happen’ (or don’t). Powerful systems can anticipate combinations of events and fire responses in real-time that can take into effect an unlimited number of factors. Events include location, sentiment analysis, inventory levels, previous purchases and more. These are highly dynamic factors that can’t be correlated in traditional systems.

Event-driven is the marketing answer to mobility, social, cloud and big data. It is a true differentiator in an increasingly complex marketplace.

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