Thought Leadership

Fear + Progress = Disruption

You don’t have to look far to find examples of brands that aren’t watching the road. They’re watching the gages on their own dashboards – ROI, KPIs, and budgets. Meanwhile, others are taking advantage of the digital economy, identifying fresh ways to connect with their core and new audiences, gathering consumers around themes, and providing great utility. We’d all rather be the disruptor than the blindsided. While it’s good to be the first, it’s better to be the best. 

Brands succeeding in the digital economy are revolutionizing the business landscape by being nimble and brave. They are looking at the same old problem in a completely new way. Subscriptions, delivery services, connections between online & offline touch points and digital integrations are all ways that existing and new brands are leveraging the current landscape. The good news for those that haven’t taken advantage of these opportunities is this: there is a lot of white space in the digital economy. 

So, if you’ve been too focused on driving KPIs, let me offer a few disruptive thoughts on how to leverage your legacy to be smarter than a start-up. The thing no one talks about in performance marketing is this – it’s easy to be mediocre but very hard to be great.  The inventory is inexpensive, you can optimize it on a regular basis and you can deliver a positive return.

Game-changing performance marketing, on the other hand, is incredibly complex. Real, personal, qualified conversations and engagements with individuals require an immensely detailed strategy. You need the right tools, the best data management platform, and a granular audience segmentation model. When built correctly, your performance marketing machine is inherently flexible. It has the power to get you back in the race so that you can maintain your core, grow new audiences and experiment with new business models.

There’s a formula we often reference that illustrates this point well.

Fear + Progress = Disruption

Healthy fear is a good thing. It creates intense awareness and an edge that keeps you sharp. In this increasingly fast-paced market, we should all be a little afraid. Progress is vital. Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you’re slow or stubborn.  When you add fear and progress, it could equal enough disruption to break down old silos, mindsets and measuring sticks. It might effect invaluable change. 

If marketers determine that they can trust their agency and get comfortable with calculated risks, like overpaying for new audience acquisition with lower initial ROI, they can grow the brand’s customer base in promising, critical ways. Brands can reach future customers with aspirational content. They can become the go-to expert in their universe, offering great tips and commentary on anything from travel to sports gear. Every new click or engagement is a new piece of data that fuels performance and makes all of your marketing initiatives more intelligent. It’s almost impossible to put a price on increasing intelligence.

If you choose to keep doing what you’re doing, you could be ROI-ing yourself out of relevance and business.

As previously posted on Advertising Age.