We live in an age when every nanosecond matters. Everything can change in the blink of an eye, keeping marketers on their toes, trying to catch up with the rapidly evolving trends.
When I caught up with Alan Moss, Google's vice president of online sales for the Americas, at the DMA conference, he insisted that speed beats perfection when it comes to marketing. He explains that in the "old days" marketers built their marketing plan for the year and executed it despite everything that went around them. But this is no longer possible. "Now, there's a lot of information [available] online. The economy and what customers are looking for changes quickly," he says.
Moss points out that while being "sloppy and inaccurate" is not desirable, it's better to build a campaign that isn't perfect but is timely, get it out there, reach out to customers and then tweak it as necessary. "The great thing about the Internet is that there are billions of customers searching for you and your products everyday and you can start to home in and refine [the campaign] once you're already out there." For example, when BeyoncÃ© appeared in Lady Gaga's Telephone video wearing yellow eye shadow last year, searches for similarly bright makeup went through the roof, making it imperative for companies that had such a product to make it known to the public as quickly as possible.
This means that while marketers are racking their brains to come up with the perfect campaign, they could be missing out on communicating with their potential customers. "Why wait for the perfect copy? Get the message out there, start understanding how it resonates, and then tweak from there. That's what a lot of the savviest marketers are doing," says Moss.
He advises marketers to pay attention to what's going on around them and change their ad copy accordingly. For instance, the recent volatility of stocks might impact the message that marketers want to send. "How do you capture a consumer who's worried [about] where he's putting his money and speak to his concerns? That may change as you go through different market cycles," he says.
Marketers also have to pay attention to cultural trends and what their audience is interested in. "I see marketers thinking that way today," Moss says, "really listening to their customers, especially online, what they are saying about them in social media, taking advantage of those trends, and tweaking their messages to remain relevant."
The importance of focusing on customers cannot be underestimated, and Moss says this is something Google has done from its inception. "What Google has done really well is to think about their users and what matters to them, [always putting this] before business," he says, adding that this was what helped the search engine's popularity and broad adoption across different audiences. Google became so popular, in fact, that both the Oxford English Dictionary and the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary added the transitive verb "to google" in 2006.
Moss says there are many tools available for marketers to make their marketing campaigns resonate. "Even the smallest businesses can use [these tools] and punch well above their weight," Moss says.