Welcome to a changed world.

Everything just changed. And, despite your best attempts at denial, things are simply never going to be the same.

Everything just changed. And, despite your best attempts at denial, things are simply never going to be the same. This presents marketers with two choices: embrace the status quo and slowly fail, or be bold and launch your organization forward.

Yes, I know. It’s not exactly easy to be bold when locked in your home waiting for the storm to pass. But we’re in the midst of a once-in-a-decade moment.

I remember long ago, a time known as Early 2020. Way back then, we were talking about very different things. There were bold marketing predictions about how to better automate, create machine learning tools that will inevitably take the place of humanity. Measurement became more important than actual results. The illusion of progress was more important than true, authentic connection and customer relationships.

The industry collectively convinced itself that if charts were moving in the right directions, the organization as a whole was moving in the right direction. As a result of following the wrong indicators, manipulating your audience became seen as winning. A successful user journey was unintentionally synonymous with an exceptional customer experience. Attention became more valuable than relationships. A handful of engagements were seen as representative of a population. We were increasingly paying attention to the wrong, but most convenient wins.

The world of marketing was in desperate need of a shakeup. Luckily, it just got a massive earthquake.

Overnight, the entire industry was forced to look inward; truly review its principles and its reason to be. Below, I’ve listed the terms we were hearing, compared to what we’re seeing now … and likely for a long time.

Most organizations, in response to COVID, instinctively attempted a knee jerk move in this direction. However, those human-connection muscles were clearly atrophied. This resulted in a predictable slew of “in these challenging times” attempts at emotional connection, played out in a parade of cliche-ridden, inauthentic piano-scored milquetoast robotic sameness.

Personally, I’ve been screaming from the rooftops about the marketing virtues and long game of the right column above, and we’ve always walked down this path with our clients. Therefore, they were more naturally prepared for difficult times and will be absolutely poised for explosive growth on the other side.

After all, at its core, marketing is simply the formation of strong relationships. The foundation of those relationships is trust. Trust is earned by being real, truthful, consistent, and well-meaninged when creating connections — never short-term trickery or emotional manipulation. When that is the foundation of your marketing approach and your brand image, it becomes sustainable, predictable, and consistent. Difficult times are naturally easier. Good times are unbelievably good. And when done well, it lifts the entire organization inside and out. Permanently.

Marketing budgets are naturally getting slashed right now. At Phire Group, we welcome that challenge. After all, we don’t believe marketing requires a ton of media spend — media should complement and elevate, never lead. Instead, brand and marketing success requires an unrelenting organizational commitment to excellence. An entire culture based on the right hand column.

If implemented well, you will quickly see your everyday actions turn into measurable transactions. You will find your best marketing becomes word of mouth, and traditional marketing will work to fuel that conversation. This process will also align your entire organization in ways you’ve never imagined. The downside? It takes hard work. Discipline. It takes your entire culture to get on board. That’s not a moment. That’s a movement.

Welcome to the new world. We’ve been waiting for you.

Photo of Jim Hume.
Jim Hume
Principal

As the principal and founder of Phire Group, Jim works closely with clients to build brands that match an organization’s reason for being with their desire for solutions. Jim started the agency in 2004 with the philosophy of engaging a brand’s community to help shape and recognize its full potential. With more than 20 years in the industry, he’s worked with clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies to startups in consumer goods, healthcare, technology, education, business-to-business, the arts, and more.

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