Kerry Gorgone asked this intriguing question on Twitter:
Advanced marketing subjects is an interesting question. What is advanced marketing? What does advanced marketing look like?
To answer this question, let’s look from the perspective of the martial arts. In your beginning days, you learn mechanics. How to punch. How to kick. How to block or evade. You drill the basics, learn to condition your body and mind, and get good at doing very tactical things.
In your middle years, you evolve from individual tactics to series of tactics strung together. The Japanese martial arts call these kata; loosely translated, kata means form or pattern. They’re the memorialized versions of fights that were won and lessons learned, basic strategies for winning.
In your advanced years of training, you transcend tactics and individual fight strategies to look at strategies and points of view outside of the fight itself. What caused the fight? What causes people to be violent? How can you set up your life and the lives of those you care about to be less at risk of violence?
Turning this lens back on marketing, in the beginning of the career, you’re doing all the 101 stuff. What’s a good tweet? How often should you send email?
In the middle of your career, you should be building campaigns by putting tactics together, leveraging tactical synergies, and working towards your overall marketing goals.
The advanced part of your career is when you evolve beyond campaigns to grand strategy. What’s the big picture really look like? What are the things that will impact your marketing in the next year and the next decade?
For example, I was recently reading the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks 2015 report. This is a fascinating, brilliantly written report of political, economic, societal, and technological threats to our collective well-being. Look at some of the top-ranked threats:
Let’s look at the upper right hand corner, which are the threats with the highest impact and the highest likelihood of occurring.
Cyber attacks. Water crisis. Underemployment. War. Climate change. All of these risks are macro trends that will impact our entire civilization. If they’re societal shocks, you can bet they’re going to impact your overall marketing strategy. The question becomes: what are you going to do about it? How are you going to plan for it?
Some of these macro trends will be marketing opportunities. On climate change, technologies that slow or even reverse climate change and carbon emissions will be hot commodities. If you’re looking for an exciting marketing opportunity, that kind of technology promises adventure for you. Underemployment will change the landscape of the workforce; can you be one of the leaders in finding new ways to retrain people or identify transferable skills we’re not even looking at now?
This is what advanced marketing looks like. It’s light-years beyond the best time to tweet or what color a dress is. Using your marketing skills to address these challenges will not only be profitable, but could make you into the superhero you’ve always wanted to be.
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