Thoughts from our CMO

Jay Lenstrom, Chief Marketing Officer

Jay Lenstrom, Chief Marketing Officer

We are over a month into 2013 and already it’s shaping up to be one of the most exciting years in our industry since 2002. A bold statement given the myriad storms we’ve recently weathered – the recession, election year jitters, fear of the Fiscal Cliff. But there are two big trends I’m seeing that have me fired up:

  1. Business getting back to growth.  In fact, “Growth without FEAR” is in the strategic plans for most companies
  2. Recognition across the industry that engaging with end users (B2B, B2C, B2G, you name it) is still the most powerful way to influence people

Both speak to the fact that engagement is different now. Our business of one-on-one engagement was built in the early 90s on the backs of soda, beer, tobacco and automotive companies trying to reach the 21+ college crowd. Consumers, the marketing landscape and the brands playing in it have all changed.

It’s the new brands in our space that make me most excited for 2013.  Our business has evolved to reach large sectors of consumers, once considered “too big, too secretive or too complicated” to engage directly.

It takes courage to talk directly to consumers and give them that access to your brand. Social media helped remind marketers the importance of relationships, opening the door for engagement marketing in three particulars verticals they would have never considered only a few years ago: technology, financial services and, especially, healthcare.

Today, all three know that truly influencing consumer behavior (let alone generating meaningful relationships) is difficult, if not impossible today, just by national messaging. Instead, they’re moving in the other direction: hyper-local marketing. Creating messages that work demographically. Geographically. And psychographically.

These verticals are going beyond selling products. They’re influencing consumer behavior to create change for extremely large audiences.  In just the last few months, we’ve been asked how to identify the 80 million pre-type 2 diabetics, the 34 million+ “under and unbanked consumers” and the 13 million middle and high school students bullied every year. And that’s just a naming a few of them.

Serious issues require conversations and relationships. That’s why healthcare, financial services and technology are engaged in engagement.

Exciting times are upon us.

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