Influx give a timely reminder about the need for faster marketing to keep up with the acceleration in changes around consumption, especially in FMCG – they are called Fast for a reason:
Marketing needs to be more like a SWAT team than a Senate Committee. Marketing executives should be allowed to fail and learn from their failures. Their marketing communication partners need to be true partners at their side; showing how they can get the messages out faster, cheaper and highlight trends that their clients can exploit. The days of 8-week production turnaround times are well and truly over. It will mean placing more and more emphasis on the web, where things can be done faster and cheaper. That’s everything from research, testing, communication launch and even trend analysis.
Failing fast is a sure way to learn quickly.
How you actually go about being quicker at Marketing is another question but one possibility is in incorporating more guerrilla style research techniques to compliment existing longer term research work [and having a client that can implement those changes quickly would help too!]. Zara, the clothes retailer, is one example cited by the authors of a company basing their business on speed to market, which in fashion is critical. Other FMCGs include consumer electronics [hardware, less so software where there are more barriers to moving such as learning] and media. All need to be speedier in their marketing if they are not to miss the moment that could be the potential ‘tipping point’.
Think about the ways in which Josh Rubin and Matt Jones inform a wide community about material goods and new tech / software respectively. They are the modern day ethnographers. Added to their nous, the ability to see what people are looking at [usage stats], linking too [in and outward bound links], talking about [blogdex, technorati] downloading [via bitTorrent, PIs] etc. in real time and the ability to correlate and group this information using basic stats techniques makes the Internet a fundamental research tool.
On the subject of getting savvier and faster Thingsmagazine make an excellent contribution about Gladwell’s new thesis, Blink, which is about rapid cognition as "thin slicing" – "the ability to find patterns in situations and people based on very narrow ‘slices’ of experience" [Gladwell, Blink]. Our ability to make rapid decisions subconciously could be used by those evil men in suits…
The danger is that manufacturers, marketers and all those other nebulous professions that oversee cultural production will ensnare the secrets of rapid cognition and use it to sell stuff, an even more covert means of subliminal advertising (which seemed like a great idea at the time to some, but has proved to be more myth than reality in the long run).
To a certain extent, consumer culture has always worked on the thin-slice principle; the way supermarkets set out their freshest goods first, setting up an aroma and expectation that follows you into the packaged stuff, or the psychology of sales and discounting. The twenty-first century is beginning with a political and commercial battle for the consumer’s subconscious impulses, and "beautiful complexity" will be increasingly distilled into simplicity.
Not sure I share their bleak prognosis but faster marketing definitely just needed to get faster still. Matchsticks to keep those eyes open anyone…?