Mumbrella360: ‘Like driving in a car full of screaming kids’ – Why marketing is messy

With the destruction of the traditional funnel and more data than ever before, four senior leaders came together at Mumbrella360 to discuss why marketing today is a mess.

After asking the audience to define and share their definition of ‘marketing’ – a move that saw only one pair of delegates agreed that they had the same definition – Supermetrics’ chief executive officer, Anssi Rusi, likened marketing to the chaos of life.

“It’s not rational, it’s not logical, and it’s not consistent. Marketing is messy because life is messy,” Rusi said on the main stage on day one of the conference.

It’s the phrase that lay the foundation for a conversation surrounding the importance of data – and the challenges that companies experience when attempting to manage vast volumes of it. The first of which, as Rusi pointed out, is the irrelevance of a traditional funnel.

“There is no funnel,” declared Rusi. “…your customers don’t move from awareness to purchase in a simple A to B journey.

Anssi Rusi

“Your customer doesn’t know and doesn’t care about your funnel.”

Later, LinkedIn’s head of channel sales, Asia Pacific, Lara Brownlow, took to the stage to moderate the data-focused discussion.

When asked if Rusi’s insights were valid from an agency perspective, Kaimera’s chief digital officer, Trent McMillan, affirmed that they were, before speaking on the maelstrom of avenues marketers are trying to engage consumers by – in this case, devices.

“How we as consumers actually engage with media has changed drastically,” McMillan said. “I reckon I’ve got 17 connected devices where I can watch some form of screen, whether it be YouTube… Netflix, Prime… how I engage with that media to how I actually then go and purchase or make my transactions is even more drastic.

“…so from a marketing standpoint, it’s so hard to actually engage with one consumer, let alone 17 effectively when you look at all those different devices.”

(L-R): Anssi Rusi, Chloe O’Toole, Trent McMillan, Lara Brownlow

“Data overload” as stated by Chloe O’Toole, managing director – marketing, at Talent International, is another reason why marketing has become a herculean task today.

“I think marketing with too much data is like driving in a car full of screaming kids,” O’Toole revealed, before explaining further, “we’re [Talent] a B2B organisation, we have had to pivot our business a lot… to adapt to changes that happened in COVID, really challenging economic conditions, the introduction of AI.

“My team’s remit is now five separate, very distinct businesses and brands, which all have their own websites, their own social channels, their own, I hate to say it, CRMs.

“And so this one marketing team is now responsible for, you know, effectively five different companies within the business. So it’s just, it’s complete data overload.”

But despite an unpredictable data and marketing landscape, not all hope is lost. The session ended with the panel being asked to offer advice for entities in the early stages of combating their own marketing mess woes.

McMillan advised the audience to embrace the messiness of it all. But rather than sitting back, people should be doing the opposite.

“Just embrace it. It’s definitely not going to be easier. There’s not going to be a silver bullet solution out there,” Mc Millan expressed. “…actually embrace it and find a solution, a use case, a solution to clean your data up and get it activated and to utilise it in an efficient way.

“If you don’t start moving forward, you’ll be left behind pretty quickly,” he warned.

O’Toole agreed with her fellow panelist, before saying: “Start with ‘what is your strategy?’, ‘what is the business strategy?’ What are the goals that the… entire businesses are trying to achieve and then what data points are required to tell that story.”

And for Rusi, being proactive and curious should be key factors in an entity’s approach to managing marketing mess.

“…you need to take action… it’s the action that drives growth for you,” Rusi said.

“And the second thing is always experiment… that’s what drives innovation. The constant experimentation and part of experimentation is that there will be failures as well.

“But if you fail, learn from those.”

To watch this session recording and more from Mumbrella360, head to Mumbrella Pro.


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