How to Align Traditional and New Media For an Exceptional Marketing Strategy

Add bookmark

The Marketing Director of Direct Line Group looks at how marketers can extract value from the digital evolution.

Written by Mark Evans, Marketing Director of Direct Line Group

When management guru Gary Hamel wrote in 2003 "the world is becoming more turbulent than our organisations are becoming resilient" it was the year that "to Google" became a verb. There were a mere 200 million internet searches per day, and the iPhone was not even invented. Fast forward to today and Google now processes over 3.5 billion searches per day. We have seen the advent of social media, wearable technology, dual-screening, programmatic accelerated and it will never again be as slow as it is today.

New technologies must be embraced as they are dramatically changing the way brands and consumers interact both in terms of advertising and the delivery of customer experience itself. Customers want seamless buying and fulfilment experiences with a brand as they move between devices. Crucially consumers are increasingly comparing experiences across sectors whereby it is no longer ok to be the tallest dwarf in your own sector. For us at Direct Line Group, it's about saying let's use technology and make things happen in minutes and hours rather than days and weeks.

As the world continues to change before our very eyes, it becomes more difficult for brands to remain relevant and engaging. For brands to win, marketers need to maintain an open-mindedness to keep learning and developing.

Reverse mentoring is increasingly important for senior marketers who are non-digital natives to keep up to speed with new media and distribution channels. This is where Marketing 2.0 meets Marketing 101. Brands need to stay purposeful and adhere to the tradition of being driven by big ideas but then to execute those ideas in a non-traditional way.

SEE ALSO: Marketing 2.0 - The Internet of Things and Wearable Technology

Indeed it is a risk that the founding principles of Marketing 101 get lost in the noise of digital without the "golden thread" of a brand purpose running through the organisation. Marketing 2.0 can in fact be a distraction. Only those brands that have really figured out what they uniquely provide to the world will be able to align the whole organisation's effort around a simple idea that translates into something valued by consumers. This is where marketers who are both digital-savvy and have an endless curiosity to understand what unmet need their brand can uniquely meet will win.

SEE ALSO: How Can You Evolve Your Marketing Strategy for the Digital Era?

When I joined Direct Line in 2012, there was an opportunity to rebuild Marketing from the ground up. We needed to restructure, redefine our ambitions, and reinvigorate our role as a strategic function within the company. It was't just a case of thinking up one great commercial campaign, it was an overhaul in our thinking and ambition.

With so much distrust in the insurance industry as a whole, our goal was to reframe the purpose of insurance and differentiate and de-commoditise ourselves by being incredible at the point of need, rather than merely focusing on the point of purchase. We recognised that there was an over-focus on the process of getting insured rather than the benefit of being insured.

Our brand promises "insurance that simply works" underlined this and since its launch has aimed to take the hassle out of making an insurance claim, whilst continuing to offer great value. That meant we placed a strong focus on how we can improve the customer experience and bring the brand promise to life through the use of technology.

This new proposition meant that we saw ourselves as our customers "fixers" so it made sense for us to use Harvey Keitel to reprise his role of the "fixer" for the first time since "Pulp Fiction" as a metaphor to this commitment to our consumers. Permeating across social, digital and also contact centres, this helped us to deliver the brand promise and ensure it goes much deeper than merely being a clever creative campaign.

Marketing in the digital world is something that should be both celebrated and embraced. Marketers must welcome and learn about new technologies and look beyond their sector for inspiration. Internally, it's about ensuring that there is a blend of traditional (Marketing 101) and new media (Marketing 2.0) marketing methods, whereby employees are constantly developing and blending their skillsets.

Indeed it is the combination of both a core organising brand idea and brilliant execution across all touch points that will lead and disrupt markets. Brilliant execution without a breakthrough brand idea makes for busy fools whereas a brilliant brand idea poorly executed is simply a tragedy.

MarkEvans2.jpgAbout the author: Mark Evans is the Marketing Director of UK insurance company Direct Line Group. He studied at Nottingham University for a BA in Economics and an MA in Corporate Strategy & Governance, and he started his career in Mars where he worked on a number of their global brands across sectors and geographies.

After Mars, Evans worked at 118118 and HSBC, before joining Direct Line Group in 2012. Over the past three years he has overseen the transformation of DLG's brands and marketing approach. He is in the 2015 Marketing Power 100 and the 2015 Marketing Week Vision 100.