FLOG: 10 things Board Directors should know about marketing in 2015

FLOG: 10 things Board Directors should know about marketing in 2015
June 29, 2015 Peter Fuller

1. Life is never going to be the same again.
Chances are, if you’re a Director of an Australian company you are male, white, 55, grey and/or thinning and play golf and/or cycle (the new golf) on the weekend. Despite all the things your wife says, the best years are not ahead of you. Annual prostate checks and daily quinoa-infused muesli do not compare with Woodstock. Likewise, marketing is never going to be the same again. As a Board member your governance responsibility includes knowing the best way to spend your company’s hard earned marketing dollar. Read on.

2. Newspapers will virtually cease to exist
Wonder why the daily newspaper is getting thinner (like your hair) and there’s less in it. The price you pay for that rag barely covers the cost of the ex-forest it is printed on. It’s your advertising that pays for journalists and editors, photographers and sales staff, printers, delivery drivers and endless long lunches. It’s always been that way. Price Waterhouse Coopers says by 2019 press advertising will drop from 13% to 5% of the market because no one under the age of 50 will be reading them. There will still be weekend tabloids and broadsheets to read over your bacon and eggs, and regional rags will survive because there isn’t anything else. But start planning now for a world of paperless marketing.

3. Television will lose out to online
Wonder why there’s nothing to watch on free to air TV? No one is watching it because no one’s advertising, which means no one is spending money on new content. TV advertising will fall from 30% to 24% of the market by 2019. There will be just enough cash in that to run a news service, a few home renovation, cooking and reality talent shows and an occasional re-run of Seinfeld. The future is here, as viewers have migrated to “self managed pay TV” such as Foxtel, Netflix, Stan, Apple TV and Presto and growth in this category is predicted from 23.8% to 37.4% by 2019. Octogenarians who can’t program a set-top box will be TV’s last remaining Mohicans – but is that the right target audience for your hard won advertising dollar? Start planning.

4. Radio will hold its own
Radio is for retail, and as the voice of immediacy, it will hold its position in the advertising sales race at about 7% for the next four years. While it’s great for one-off offers on beer and shoes and pies and Coke it is not the long-term brand builder that TV used to be. It also yells at you a lot and tells you what it wants you to hear. Gen X and Y are already very sick of that and like to manage their own music and information – ie streaming and podcasts.

5. Digital will be the new Elvis
Online (or digital) advertising is tipped to grow from 34% to 51% over the next four years. If you wonder what digital advertising is, next time you Google that holiday in Phuket notice how many suggestions start popping up all over your screen from Expedia and TripAdvisor. Be prepared for the Viagra ad before you download the golfing tip on YouTube. Notice those earnest, blinking, calls to action from banks when you check your share portfolio. It is the world’s fastest growing advertising medium and clients love it because you only spend when someone clicks. If you are not in this space now then you are not in the sales race.

6. Content marketing will be the new magazine
There will still be glossy magazines, mainly for ladies who frequent hairdressers, but in the future, smart businesses will become their own content creators – researching, writing and distributing interesting stories. Content marketing is so subtle one barely notices it – an article about wine that barely mentions the winery, an article about adventure tourism that might, in passing, drop the name of a sports drink. So how do people read it? Heard of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest? If you think this is a flash in the pan fad, check out Red Bull’s global ownership of adventure sport.

7. Video is the word
We did it – we introduced our children to TV far too early and now our two year old grandchildren can swipe mum’s iPad to watch the Wiggles before they can even use a spoon. YouTube has one billion viewers who upload 300 hours of video each minute. Not surprisingly there are now more than a million advertisers on YouTube (mostly SMEs) and every good website has its own gallery of short, entertaining videos to boost search rankings. Does yours?

8. Get over the idea that marketing makes you look good
Once upon a time marketing made you look good. Your company’s prominent advertisement in the daily paper got you a pat on the back and a knowing nod of acceptance at the golf club. But your mates don’t buy things (other than golf balls and caravans). Just because you can’t see digital advertising doesn’t mean it isn’t working – in fact, its very subtlety is winning more hearts and minds than an annoying repetitive TV ad. Which leads us to…

9. Measure, measure, measure
The dark marketing arts of advertising and spin doctoring relied on a good story from the agency, long lunches and a lot of faith. Your only measurement of effectiveness was dollars expended and sales made – about as clumsy as spearing tadpoles with a crowbar. Digital and social media has so much measurability it makes your eyes water – distribution, click throughs, page views and so on. Plus the accumulated data enables you to communicate with your audiences as precisely as a surgeon removes a skin cancer.

10. Finally it is all about the phone
Don’t believe any of the above? Still like the feel of newspaper? Look around your boardroom table and see what is sitting in front of every Director. That’s right – next to their flat white and mineral water is a black and silver slab of metal and plastic that controls their existence… it also makes phone calls. People don’t sit at their PCs Googling these days – they do it on the bus, at the bar, at the footy and by the TV. They do it from Samsung Galaxies and iPhones and iPads and they do it off and on for about ten hours a day. If you are able to check your emails and dial up your next tee-off-time with those fat fingers, don’t you think 4 billion other people are doing the same?

As one wise brand once said… just do it.


The writer.

Peter Fuller is a greying, 59 year old male Board Director who plays golf. He’s lucky enough to be surrounded by inspired marketing communications people. If you are interested in learning more about any of the above he can put you in touch with one of his staff, who will help you figure out how to best communicate your brand in 2015. E: peter.fuller@fuller.com.au 




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