This is the title to a recent article (10/01/2014) in the NY Times by Stuart Elliot. However, it would be better served if it were titled “Marketers need to urge CEO’s to be fearless!” (While not getting fired in the process). The first paragraph reads – “It is rare on Madison Avenue to hear, at least publicly, suggestions that executives are scaredy-cats who are afraid to take risks. But those attending advertising week in New York are being advised – sometimes gently, sometimes forcefully – that to produce campaigns that will more effectively resonate with contemporary consumers, they must risk alienating their target audiences.”
Now, if you’re a CEO you’re probably saying to yourself “I face risk every day and I wouldn’t be in my position without taking risk, what an asinine article!” And as a CEO, I would agree that you take risk most every day, but more often we try to mitigate risk, and with the mitigation process cutting out creative projects that can spring board our companies making some CEO’s (and I don’t mean you) a coward!
Yup, I said it and won’t take it back. To many of my fellow CEO’s ( not you of course) are yellow-belly cowards when it comes to green lighting a new product not close enough to their sphere of influence, or shooting down a marketing program that’s a bit risqué or testing an unchartered marketing platform.
The fact of the matter is that you’re in more risk of falling behind in the consciousness of the consumer by not grabbing their attention than by playing it safe. Attention spans are at an all-time low, roughly 8 seconds (from 32 seconds just a few years ago) before your message is tuned out! This means if you don’t grab them quick with what I call an open hand slap upside the proverbial head your message will fall on deaf ears.
Now I’m not saying you have to be crude, but being creative and captivating is a must. If you’re not up on the times and have no desire to be then bring someone on your team that is, and give them enough latitude to be creative without prosecution.
The day of conservative, lazy, slow-fed marketing in the same old dusty avenues is dead. Our target audience is not only moving toward different venues, but the venues have splintered, increasing your customers’ touch points. Chasing this audience is cumbersome, if not impossible, so we need to be more effective in each and every touch we have with our customer, and make our website a destination full of rich content.