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Eliminating Marketing and Communications Waste

Andrew Kinnear

Marketing is broken. 

People are turning away and tuning out. They install ad blockers. They impatiently await the ‘skip video’ button. They are increasingly willing to pay for subscription models just to avoid our messages. They’re oversaturated and frustrated by our industry’s never-ending attempt at disruption. Let’s face it – we’ve gone from disruption to distraction.  

In an attempt to be heard amongst the 5,000 marketing messages their audience is exposed to daily, organizations simply turn up the volume by turning up the budget, spending a tremendous amount of time and money to create marketing and communications that go unseen, are unwelcome and unconnected to what people want.  

Not only is this response ineffective, it’s wasteful. And that’s where we see a big opportunity for our clients: to reduce waste.  

In talking with marketing and communication professionals, we identified three main contributors to this waste: internal silos, inefficient Integrated Agency Team settings and ineffective spending caused by applying traditional solutions to modern communications challenges.  

By using an audience-first approach we can mindfully resist the scattershot approaches that aren’t working. We can unify marketing and communications and save our clients’ money.   

As an unbiased broker to organizations and their partners, we’ve determined that helping our clients create a Unified Marketing and Communications (UMC) strategy is like orchestrating a symphony, where we act as conductor to harmonize the specialized talent and expertise of the team, delivering a single, more effective message. 

Our advice to organizations seeking to unify their marketing and communications: 

  1. Ask better questions to identify the right problem – Most waste occurs when time isn’t spent to identify the right problem. Investing in audience research and strategy upfront, and challenging briefs, will help avoid deploying budget, resources and time against the wrong audience, insight, channels or message, in delivery. Marketers and communicators are creative problem-solvers, and having the right problem inspires winning strategies.  
  1. Get clear on performance – Align teams on a singular business goal and calibrate marketing and communication objectives to achieve that goal. Then, make sure you are able to measure the right KPIs. An organization’s ability to effectively measure the impact of marketing and communication efforts is the foundation of unification. It sheds light on the value of individual efforts and allows organizations to make decisions about spending. Measurement isn’t about numbers, it’s about answers. 
  1. Adopt an Audience-First philosophy – Organizations need to put the end audience at the forefront of decisions. This will break down silos by focusing on real (not assumed) attitudes, behaviours and values. Audience-first requires organizations to employ empathy, intelligence and connect business goals to culture. Identifying opportunities (those moments that matter) across the audience journey, and understanding where their attention is today, puts organizations in a position to deliver meaningful experiences and build long term relationships. Your audience is your most important stakeholder. Focus on solving their problem first. 
  1. Challenge marketing conventions – Today’s audiences don’t want to see advertising, and are actively shutting it off. At the same time, they are consuming more content than ever. Content is what has their attention and is a Marketer’s opportunity. Your communications’ ability to earn attention, gives you permission to communicate your message. An organization’s ability to authentically connect to culture and conversation is key. 
  1. Adopt a full funnel marketing and communications approach – Connect the dots across audience touchpoints to ensure strategic consistency in messaging and brand experience. Focusing on the audience’s journey, map goals, messaging and channels — from the top of the marketing funnel to the bottom — to create the greatest impact.  
  1. Trust building creates the conditions for success – In today’s era of disruption and acceleration, trust is the most powerful currency. High-trust companies “are more than 2½ times more likely to be high performing revenue organizations” then low-trust companies. Building, maintaining and protecting brand trust, creates the optimal conditions for your unified marketing team to effectively sell products and services. 

When we launched the unified marketing and communications (UMC) group within Proof Strategies, we saw an opportunity to leverage communications’ ability to earn audience’s attention; move at the speed of culture; and build brand trust as a strategic advantage to marketers.  

What brought us together was the notion of creating a better world for audiences and organizations, by eliminating marketing and communication waste.  

Imagine if organizations took the money they saved on ineffective marketing and communications efforts, and redeployed those dollars into product and service innovation, ESG programs or high value employee and customer experiences.  

Imagine if people received marketing and communications that were meaningful to them, solved their problems and aligned to their values.  

That’s the zero-waste world we want to live in.