When Taco Bell CMO Marisa Thalberg took the stage this week at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's (IAB) Annual Leadership Meeting she showed a graphic that depicts the growing complexity and chaos of the modern marketing technology landscape. More than 2,000 startups and legacy providers currently vie for a piece of that market, according to Terry Kawaji, founder and CEO of investment bank Luma Partners, which created the graphic Thalberg used in her presentation.
"I look at that [graphic], and I think there has never been a more amazing or more horrendous time to be a marketer," she said. The "digital and social media revolution" forced marketers to work on challenges and goals that often seem at apparent odds, according to Thalberg.
"Why do [marketers] feel sometimes paralyzed or just frustrated and confused?" Thalberg asked. "It's because we are operating in a Pandora's box of paradoxes."
The CMO then outlined seven paradoxes that she and many of her colleagues in digital marketing face today.
1) Brands need to create more content AND consumers feel bombarded by ads
Brands are told that they need to produce more content and promote it in more places than ever before, according to Thalberg. However, the majority of people say they "feel bombarded by too much advertising and consider it out of control."
This means marketers must navigate an increasingly varied media landscape, while producing appropriate content for the specific channels they target, she said.
2) Big brands are publishers AND advertisers
Brands increasingly become publishers when they create offerings such as Taco Bell's "taco emoji gif generator," a marketing initiative that resulted in the creation of a taco-specific emoji, according to Thalberg. However, brands are still advertisers, and their primary goals are to sell products or services. "It's not one or the other, we're actually both [publishers and advertisers]."
3) Brands need to be global AND local
Taco Bell and other global brands tell stories that must be global, because they are shared throughout the world, Thalberg says, but equally important local opportunities also exist. Brands need to tell stories with local relevance and global interest, according to Thalberg. Some campaigns may serve both purposes, but marketers should also specifically target local and global markets with different types of content.
4) Brands should focus on campaigns AND communicate constantly
Campaigns are the traditional method that brands use to tell their stories to the public, and they're just as relevant today as they were in the past, according to Thalberg. However, today's always-connected society also demands that brands maintain constant, 24/7 communication with their customers. "Ultimately, we need to tell more stories, but in the right ways and in the right places," Thalberg says
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