Marketing is moving faster than ever.
It wasn't too long ago that advertising had a more leisurely pace. You spent a few months working on a strategy and then another few months looking at ideas from your ad agency. Eventually you shot some film, edited it and put it on air. Then you waited for a month for an initial read and another month or two for more robust results. And then you started again.
The digital world changes all of that. Marketers now get feedback immediately; people comment, or don't. They share or they don't. It is far easier than before to determine if a given execution is at least getting an initial response or not. Brands with more advanced capabilities might even track ads to purchase.
This means that marketers can't ever rest. If something is working there is pressure to build on it and capture the momentum. If something isn't working there is pressure to change it.
This week GoDaddy demonstrated just how fast marketers need to move.
Tuesday morning, GoDaddy released its 2015 Super Bowl spot. The ad poked fun at sentimental Super Bowl ads in a rather edgy fashion.
The response was immediate. People absolutely hated the ad. They started posting comments on You Tube and Facebook and other blogs. Here is a sampling:
"If you don't remove this video I will cancel all my websites and business and go elsewhere."
"Horrible commercial...not even remotely funny and it's pointless."
"OH MY LORD. GoDaddy needs help knowing right from WRONG.... This is sooooo very WRONG...."
Almost immediately, GoDaddy realized it had a problem. That afternoon, about six hours after releasing the ad, the company pulled it, vowing to run a different, more upbeat ad instead. CEO Blake Irving explained the decision in a blog post, "The responses were emotional and direct. Many people urged us not to run the ad."
GoDaddy responded quickly to the feedback and their real time reaction likely reduced the damage. Before the ad could gain wide viewership, the company took it down.
Brands still diligently plan expensive marketing campaigns, but more so than ever before marketers have to embrace this concept of speed, developing new ideas, identifying opportunities and addressing problems.
To move fast, companies need three to do three things:
Listen: It is impossible to respond to a situation if you don't know about it. For this reason, brands need to constantly monitor what is happening. The digital world promotes discussion. Brands don't figure prominently in this chatter, but sometimes one will get attention, either positive or negative. Companies need to monitor the discussion and watch for relevant moments.
Monitor: Managers need to watch the broader environment. What is trending? What are people talking about? What is important? Last fall DiGiorno pizza made a highly inappropriate comment on Twitter by misusing a hashtag. If you aren't watching the broader world, your comments can be off-key or inappropriate.
Understand: It is more important than ever to know what your brand stands for. In today's high-speed marketing world, there isn't time to think deeply about each response. You don't have months to carefully phrase a response and run it by your legal and PR contacts. As a result, the marketing team simply needs to know what fits and what doesn't. Everyone involved in the brand needs to understand what the brand stands for.
Within a matter of minutes, GoDaddy went from having a carefully crafted Super Bowl spot to having a major PR disaster. By moving quickly, GoDaddy limited the damage. This is how brand managers need to approach marketing today.