Give It To Me Straight: Often the most painful experience a business will face is when they neglect to spot an opportunity to pivot for success or to prevent failure. Critics always wonder how such smart well-paid people could make such mistakes, like when Blockbuster turned down a cheap opportunity to purchase Netflix and instead built more stores.

As a business strategist, I’ve come to realize two simple truths. First, when executives look upward from their company silo they only see the weather that’s directly above. Second, it’s only during the rough periods that companies ask the question “why”. Why is our business model working, or why would our model fail? In this Lab we will take a deep look at the business model of outdoor (hunting & fishing) TV and how maybe the networks should have asked “why” sooner.

Heads up, the following scenario of a producer buying time from a TV network is going to sting for some of you…

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Give It To Me Straight: Online versus offline, or paid media versus earned media, they are all just strategies to either establish or disseminate influential content. Consider for a moment marketing as an algorithm whereby a company is trying to reach the right person at the right time through the right delivery channel, using the right content communicated by the right influencer to achieve the desired action… I know it’s a mouthful. Establishing and distributing influential content is the very foundation of marketing (Person+Time+Channel+Content+Influencer=Desired Outcome). Great brands understand having the most influential content means very little if it never reaches the right person when he or she is receptive to the message. Conversely, reaching the right audience with the wrong content delivered by the wrong influencer is equally ineffective.

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Give It To Me Straight: Historically successful companies don’t normally die at the hands of overhead, marketing, or even operations. While each can damage a well-insulated company the true cyanide in the coffee normally rests in revenue stream addiction. Any company, but particularly older ones, become attached to historically successful revenue models and as a result, tend to overlook how these models are the very anchor slowly sinking the ship.

Rather than addressing the core problem, company leadership often double down on old revenue models, like when Kmart and Sears merged in 2005. Other examples could be selling more of the same ad space, attending more of the same trade shows, or running previously successful marketing campaigns but with a bigger ad spend. Many magazines, for example, provide media buyers with online advertising assets as a “value add” (free)  when they buy enough print advertising – talk about confusing activity with results. If you want to throw a glitch in the matrix tell your print salesmen you want to buy all digital advertising and expect to get print ads as “value add”.

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Give It To Me Stright: Ask any professional salesman or even a church leader and they will both tell you that to be successful you can’t treat every customer or potential customer with the same script/pitch or even personality. Also, I’m pretty sure we can all agree that the true “Mayberry” hometown feeling comes from the store clerk that calls you by name and asks you about your family. So, the top reason you should care about database marketing is that now more than ever before a competitor can provide this experience to your existing customers and potential customers if you are not willing to do so.

There is nothing stopping a 100-million-dollar company from knowing its customers and potential customers like the Mayberry store clerk, and as a small company, this could be the special ingredient you need to take on industry giants. If you read nothing more after this section, you should understand that there is a key difference between listening to data to spot symptoms vs. using data to customize a journey.

One more thing… brands that think this only applies to retailers are making a huge mistake. Database marketing is also extremely powerful for manufacturing brands, non-profits, and even government organizations.

Top 3 Takeaways on Database Marketing:

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Give It To Me Straight: The layers of quality data that are available today (2017) for digital ad campaigns is borderline mind-blowing. If you only absorb one thing from this article it should be an understanding that geographic, demographic, behavioral and real-time ad performance data are all merging at an exciting pace to deliver advertisers true precision targeting. Furthermore, some brands are integrating their own customer relationship management (CRM) data with this advanced ad tech to build custom marketing automatons, also known as journey campaigns. So, if you’re a local flower shop or an industry titan and you are not willing to invest in advanced digital advertising then you must accept the outcomes of a competitor making those investments.

Digital advertising in a lot of ways can be likened to day trading stocks. There is a lot of noise, things change daily, and if you don’t know what you are doing you could lose a lot of money, or worse yet not even know you are losing. Also, the amount of data you are exposed to in real-time can be overwhelming and hard to untangle. There is no digital advertising silver bullet just like there is no single stock you should invest all your money. Therefore, it shouldn’t be a stretch of any imagination for folks like Frontier Media who build digital media strategies for a living to tell you it’s all about diversification, reading analytics, and optimizing your position often.

Top 3 Takeaways on Digital Advertising:

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Give It To Me Straight: Let’s face it, YouTube proves every day that just because you have great content on a popular platform doesn’t mean anyone will watch.

It doesn’t matter if you are a content creator, brand, or government organization the undisputed truth is that people interact and consume content differently today than they did yesterday. So, how is your content reaching the right target audience? Are you expecting people to find this content on their own, or does it find them? Do you optimize your content (subject or styling) based on performance data?

If you produce a TV show or write a column and now have to monetize your work online or you run content marketing campaigns it might be the time you rethink why content is or isn’t consumed. If you don’t then you shouldn’t be surprised when others capitalize on your desired target audience.

The Top 3 Takeaways on Digital Content:

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