Maneesh Sah
Sep 22, 2017

How older marketers stay relevant

An activist mindset will help older marketers adapt to changing times says the author of "A New Marketer".

Maneesh Sah
Maneesh Sah

It's no secret that we live in a world of intense competition to win new business, retain new clients and grow revenues. Because of this cut-throat environment, a new shift in the world of marketing is happening now. This is redefining which marketers will win in the never ending battle for attention.

A study from Microsoft found that since the beginning of the mobile revolution in 2000, the average person's attention span has dropped from twelve seconds to eight seconds. The marketers who adapt to this changing environment will survive and thrive. But those who fail to recognize this new shift and continue relying on outdated strategies like "increasing brand awareness" will wither away.

Indeed marketers are going through a credibility crisis. You can have the best brand recognition, but if you are not building understanding of your firm's core capabilities and not driving real conversations with real customers, you are irrelevant. Once you create understanding and conversations, that's when people engage with your brand on a deep level, and start thinking about using the services your organization provides.

Many older marketers fail to recognise this shift, refuse to adapt and don’t add any value in increasing revenues. Those are the ones that are first to be made redundant when their companies are looking to cut costs. That said, it's all about mindset. All marketers, irrespective of age, are now expected to have an activist's mindset focused on starting new conversations and fuelling growth.

So how do you create conversations? You focus on creating Insights. You don’t overwhelm your customers with the features and benefits of your solution. You inspire them to think different about their businesses by challenging them with insights.

But creation of content rich with insights is not sufficient. Marketers must use digital channels and tools like LinkedIn and You Tube to amplify the reach of their content. They must use search engine marketing techniques so that all their content gets found. They must also use employee advocacy tools like Elevate and GaggleAMP to transform their colleagues to visible experts using the power of insights to attract new clients.

Red Bull's insight was that they could make dreams come true. They inspire their customers with the idea that anything is possible-hence their tagline "gives you wings." To achieve this, Red Bull produces videos and even magazines. Much of Red Bull's content never talks about the energy drink. Instead, it showcases extreme sports and aims to motivate its audience to challenge the limits they have set for themselves. Insight-led marketing has helped a single-product company to generate over $6.6 billion in revenues. It also now features in Forbes' list of most valuable brands.

In summary, marketers must think like publishers and act like journalists to be relevant in these competitive times. This applies to all marketers irrespective of age but may be more relevant for those older marketers who have not adapted with the changing times.

Maneesh Sah is executive director of external communications at HR consultancy Aon Plc in Singapore and the author of "A New Marketer: How to Inspire B2B Sales Acceleration with Insight Marketing".


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