It is not a secret that change is here to stay, but some parts of our world are prone to an expedited evolution. In the marketing industry, change has set up a permanent, shop that is open 24/7. What does it sell? Mostly technology.
While this is generally perceived as a good thing, it is not the best, or even most important piece in the marketing industry’s puzzle. No amount of extraordinary software or hardware alone can lead a marketer down the path of success. Kevin Bobowski, VP Demand Generation at Act-On, knows this and has kept this piece of advice close for the entirety of his marketing career.“My point of view is if you have a great team, a great culture, and a great brand, then you can do great things,” he says.
“My point of view is if you have a great team, a great culture, and a great brand, then you can do great things.”
With Bobowski’s strong belief in the power of a company’s human touch, it might come as a surprise that his marketing concentration is heavily skewed towards the other side of spectrum. He has been in the marketing biz for about fifteen years, most of which he spent knee deep in data analysis. In fact, one of his first jobs was at Webtrends, the company many deem the pioneer of web analytics. From there he moved on to another analytically heavy company, ExactTarget. It was there that Bobowski learned the foundational lesson of his career. “That is where I really saw how to build a great company, a great culture and a great brand,” he says. That then trickled into all of his marketing endeavors, and as we know, they have been pretty successful.
Progress and success can be contagious, but they can only spread through a strong foundation – a culture, a team, and a brand. This is a breeding ground for growth. With the right technology, a great organization can expand, wildly. Conversely a company without these foundational elements is missing the necessary fuel to move forward. The structures that technology could have benefited, do not exist, so no amount of help can propel something that isn’t there. It is like pouring gasoline on the sidewalk. Without a fire, it is just a liquid, no matter how much you add. This is something Bobowski learned in all his years in close contact with the marketing industry, and consequently technology. “I think too often people look to technology to solve problems, and technology can solve some problems but there is always process and change in the way you implement that technology in, and if you don’t have a great team, you won’t get it done,” he says.
It is truly the basics that differentiate the strong from the weak in marketing today. Just like Bobowski believes in the power of a strong team, he believes that the fundamentals of marketing go a long ways. It is like learning to walk before you run. Once the elementary aspects are nailed down, it is time to move on to new things, and in the marketing industry this usually means new technology. However, with the rapid advancements of cool new ways to market to people, it can be challenging to do this the right way and not jump the gun. “I think as marketers we love new shiny objects and I think we often chase those before consumers and our prospects and customers are ready. It is important to test and experiment, but more often than not we are still trying to get the basic blocking and tackling down before we get exotic and try new things,” Bobowski says.
The evolutionary tale of marketing is still being written. The tried and true cliche, “nothing is constant except change,” has proven itself time and time again. New technology arrives at the doors, or inboxes, of marketers everyday, some of which has the ability to uproot the way we do business. The only thing that it cannot alter is the power of a great team, brand, and culture. The companies that ground themselves in those, will be able to adapt, survive, and even thrive.