Why Modern Marketing is Rapidly Losing Focus

  • Date 18th May 2021
  • Author Natalie Garlick
Why Modern Marketing is Rapidly Losing Focus

In an increasingly fast-paced world, there is growing pressure for marketers to seek solutions that work faster, more efficiently and, it goes without saying, are available at the lowest cost possible. The pace of digital transformation and an inundation of data and insights has exacerbated this need, pushing marketers to use the power of these new and improved technologies to get instantaneous results.

At first glance, this sounds like great news for brands. After all, who doesn’t like getting results? Yet it strikes me that this micro-focus on data and bottom-line results may just leave us missing the bigger picture.

Modern marketing myopia, as defined by marketing strategist and aficionado, Tom Roach, is a narrow, “precise” view of the “now”, that blocks out broader, long-term views and excludes past and future considerations. Roach feels that this limited point of view and a focus on numbers, data, and spreadsheets leads us to neglect the “real worlds of our customers”, in favour of short-term results. This creates a “blindness” towards real-life human connection and neglects the value of qualitative data.

Don’t get me wrong; results matter – that much is undeniable. But if we can’t see the forest for the trees, does our obsession with fast results and dollars in the bank mean we are missing opportunities to nurture those crucial relationships with consumers? Does this “heads down” approach mean we are failing to recognise those fundamental moments of connection between brand and customer that lead to long-term brand trust and loyalty, and, ultimately, long-term profitability?

As Roach points out, this modern marketing myopia means there is no “north star” for brands needing direction, leaving them lacking a compelling vision for their future. But how (and why) did marketers lose sight of what should be most important?

Well, first of all, Roach feels that in the current marketing landscape, there is less training in marketing fundamentals. Instead, training tends to focus on tactical areas that are, perhaps, considered more pragmatic, or results-based. He also suggests that marketers today have forgotten their overarching role. He believes they are too focused on creating the sale itself, rather than creating conditions for sales and focusing on influencing saleability for the long-term, which have traditionally been what marketing is all about.

Another contributing factor is that, too often, marketers are increasingly placing an over-importance on the role of digital – to our detriment. While the power of digital is indisputable, the role of marketing is to focus on long-term saleability. Yet, it is due to the immense and immediate power of digital that we often over-state its role as a sales tool, instead of seeing it as a marketing channel. 

Our growing addiction to data and the immediate results it brings means that we begin to rely on it more and more. Marketers are more inclined to continue to search for the instant gratification data brings, rather than wait for results from a longer-term campaign. It’s about achieving balance. Data has its (very important) place, but it’s just part of the equation.

So, how do we lose the tunnel vision and get back to embracing the cruciality of the human connection in marketing? Far from diving deeper into the data, we need to lose the focus on instantaneous results, take a step backward, and see the bigger picture. 

This modern myopia means brands are suffering from a lack of future vision, perspective, and detachment from their own customers. Instead, brands should be thinking about the long-term game, gathering qualitative data, and thinking carefully about the metrics that truly matter. They should be asking themselves how they can create long-term connections with their customers.

At AFFINITY, we aim to uncover the real human stories that lie behind brand data. These strories can help us forge a clear way forward for brands. By focusing on long-term marketing strategies that focus on human connection, brands can nurture their customer relationships, solidify their customer retention tactics, and see greater revenue. After all, we’re in it for the long run.