When I was seven, I wanted to be an Olympic soccer player. Obviously, that didn’t pan out (I’m very happy I chose a career that does not require running). Unlike myself, Mathew Sweezy, Principal of Marketing Insights at Salesforce.com, knew in fourth grade that he wanted to pursue a career in marketing when he created flyers for the first time. Very few of us can say we’ve been in marketing since we were seven, so we felt very lucky to have him on as a guest on Mobile Matters. Among the many insights he gave listeners during his episode, one of them really resonated with me, which was that marketing is just a game. Let’s explore why we should think of marketing as a game and what you need to do in order to ‘win’. 🏆
The Game of Marketing
I was recently in the market for a new face wash. I wasn’t looking for anything special, just something I could pick up at the drugstore. So we’re talking about a maximum price of $12. And at the end of the day, it’s just soap – by no means is there a large risk associated with this purchase. But I found myself doing more research with this task than I conducted for some research papers in college. I first went to TikTok to see what the Gen Z-ers recommended. Then I went to Google to read a handful of reviews. Even after all of this, I wasn’t sure which one to buy. When did buying soap become this hard? 🤦♀️
Like it or not, every purchase is now a considered decision….which is why we say marketing is now a game. There’s a specific set of situations and when those scenarios and that environment changes, the way we play the game must change. Today, consumers want to find answers on their own. But just because consumers are deploying Google’s help with purchasing decisions, it doesn’t mean we act so differently than we did before we were consumed by our mobile phones.
Whether we’re staring at a physical aisle or our virtual shopping carts, we subconsciously ask ourselves two questions: what do I know and who do I trust. One way to be everywhere is through sponsored social media ads. 81 percent of consumers use Instagram to research products or services. Also, consider that consumers are searching for products and services with the help of their voice assistants. So if your brand wants to even be in the running, you’ll need to incorporate voice into your mobile marketing strategy. Incorporate natural language and filler words to rank for the keywords someone would actually say. Inevitably, the game will change again in a few years and marketers have to be ready to iterate. If not, your organization’s fate could look a lot like Blockbuster’s.
Remember Who You Are Playing With
Traditionally, we have separated B2B and B2C marketing because we believe there’s a difference in buying behavior. And to some extent, there is a difference. For example, with B2C, there’s not an approval process the purchaser has to go through. But at the end of the day, we are selling to people. Mathew brings up an interesting point that it’s no longer the behavior that determines the purchasing behavior, rather it’s the amount of risk associated with a purchase that influences the customer journey. Mitigate risk by creating an exceptional customer experience. Someone wise once told us your product doesn’t matter as much as your customer service. Going back to my face wash example, the product doesn’t have to win a ton of beauty awards…the experience just needs to be memorable (lucky for you, we’ve put together a few ways to do this).
Did I Win?
Two and a half years. That’s the average tenure of a marketer. The brief occupancy causes marketers to focus on producing short term results that often sacrifice long-term ones. The magic number marketers are focused on is ROI. But as Mathew said, ROI is a measure of efficiency, not effectiveness. Oftentimes, investing too much time worrying about ROI can lead to some bad choices. There needs to be another metric to judge marketers off of that doesn’t jeopardize the longevity of a customer’s journey with a brand. It’s called a weighted pipeline and can show marketers places for improvement both in the current day and the future.
Lastly, don’t copy what your competitor is doing. You can’t win the game if you try to reproduce every action your competitor takes. You’ll always be one step behind. It’s healthy to look for inspiration once in a while, but at the end of the day, you need to do what works best for your organization. And in case you were wondering, this isn’t the first time Marketing has been compared to a game before on Mobile Matters. Listen to why Peter Schoerder thinks marketing is like a game of Candyland. 🍭🍬