Since today is the day after Labor Day, it’s the symbolic end of summer.
Over the weekend, my husband and I visited the Whitney Museum’s Biennial.
Since 1932, the Whitney Biennial has focused on young and emerging artists across the American art landscape to represent contemporary ideas of what art is.
The 2022 Whitney Biennial showcased 63 intergenerational and interdisciplinary artists and collectives. It offered visitors an immersive experience where they walk through, sit in and/or watch different spaces.
Co-curated by David Breslin and Adrienne Edwards, these works reflect the challenges, complexities and possibilities today’s American experience presents.
Extending to outdoor spaces, our evening visit gave us a view of the reddish orange sunset across the Hudson River as we sat immersed in a plastic palm tree installation. Their taxi cab yellow trunks topped with fireworks like heads that lit up the area.
I’m always thrilled to see the city from a new perspective. We saw Little Island extend into the river. Looking north, the Empire State Building peaked through the skyline
Why does the experiential Biennial exhibit matter to your marketing plans?
Because 18 to 24 year olds prefer more immersive and visually rich forms of search and discovery according to Google’s unreleased internal research of US Internet users. (TechCrunch)
Actionable Marketing Tip
- Offer a user experience that extends across content formats, platforms and devices to reach this key demographic.
Table of Contents | Volume 10, Issue 36
Marketing Lesson of The Week
► The Budget Squeeze Is On – Marketers Must Prove ROI
As we enter the drive to meet year-end goals, CMOs need to demonstrate their worth to their businesses in measurable financial terms.
Further, most senior marketers face increased customer expectations combined with outside forces beyond their control. (PwC 2022) So it’s no surprise that the average CMO tenure is at the lowest level in more than a decade. (SpencerStuart)
Added to these issues, marketers have challenges translating their investment and work into key business metrics. Topping the list in terms of measurability difficulty are:
- Attributing sales and revenues to marketing efforts;
- Calculating marketing ROI; and
- Determining customer lifetime value (aka: CLTV). (Oracle/Ascend2 2022)
(Note: While this is B2B marketing data, these issues are similar for B2C marketers.)
Based on my experience, I’m not surprised since calculating these metrics requires different systems and data from other departments. These departments’ systems may not coordinate with those of marketing. So, marketers can’t calculate these metrics because they lack the necessary input.
Even worse, this isn’t a new challenge since The 2019 CMO Survey revealed that two-thirds of CMOs couldn’t show financial results.
Actionable Marketing Tips
- Build relationships across your organization to create consistent metrics and other necessary corporate data to show value and maintain your budget.
- Develop metrics that represent how marketing provides value to the organization. Use the information you do have to create relevant measures. At a minimum, include calls-to-action and UTMs to track your campaigns.
► Is Your Brand Up For Grabs?
Did you know that 54% of consumers think the cost of living has increased over the last 6 months. (GWI)
When prices increase, consumers get cost-sensitive. As a result, they make trade-offs to manage their household expenses relative to their income.
So I wasn’t surprised PwC’s research showed that customers will change brands.
What makes customers loyal to your brand?
60% feel loyal to their favorite brand because it’s a great product. Regardless of price, product quality matters A LOT! (Merkle 2022)
What other factors influence brand loyalty?
- 79% cite a loyalty or rewards program;
- 77% want good customer service; and
- 75% expect a consistent customer experience.
These elements matter more to customers than other options across age groups. Since all of them require increased costs, they present a challenge for brands to improve loyalty when marketing budgets are tight.
Actionable Marketing Lesson
Focus on delivering a quality offering since “[p]eople want to buy from brands they believe offer longevity and value for money, meaning brand names don’t matter as much, and consumers are willing to switch to alternatives that offer greater perceived value – even if they aren’t actually any cheaper.” (GWI)
Why Have Americans Increased Smartphone Use?
Smartphones are the Swiss Army Knives of personal devices.
Using voice, touch and/or sight, consumers perform many communications and other tasks on their portable, small screen devices where, when and how they choose.
Smartphones eliminate the need for other products such as clocks, watches, timers and calendars. We use our phones to store important information such as contacts and other reminders. In addition, they facilitate content consumption across a variety of formats including text, audio, music and video.
So, across age groups, Americans keep them within reach 24/7. (Gallup 2022)
Americans have increased smartphone tasks activity since 2015 including to:
- Make online purchases and related shopping functions like price comparison;
- Consume content;
- Use social media;
- Manage personal finances like checking account information; and
- Handle emails.
What do these diverse functions have in common?
They can be done on-the-go in short, snackable amounts of time.
Actionable Voice Marketing Tips
- Use responsive design to ensure website, content and email communications render properly across different smartphones.
- Provide mobile apps where appropriate with easy-to-follow directions and support. At a minimum, keep up with your competitors. This includes financial and health institutions.
- Be findable across mobile systems. This includes mapping and other needs.
- Add eyes-free and/or hands-free modes where appropriate.
► Curation Lessons From The Whitney Biennial
As part of your content marketing strategy, curation references internal and third-party work related to specific content. This expands and informs your audience’s content experience.
Content curation derives from museum curators who:
- Catalog, document and maintain records of a collection’s items;
- Research, acquire and preserve objects the collection; and
- Plan and organize exhibitions.
From a content marketing perspective, your role is like that of the Biennial curators. As Adrienne Edwards noted:
Creating this show does not happen in a vacuum. It reflects us, the times and context, and the conditions in which we made it. But there’s also a deep, rich institutional history that should be turned to, researched, considered, contemplated.
For your content, this translates to referencing existing content since this provides context for your audience and pulls them deeper into your offering. So maintain your existing content and findability with the appropriate metadata.
► Curation Themes: The Biennial Curators’ Thought Process
To improve your content curation, pay attention to what David Breslin and Adrienne Edwards, co-curators of the Whitney’s Biennial, said about putting together this high profile exhibition.
Since they wanted to present an interdisciplinary show, Breslin and Edwards selected a range of ways artists currently work.
Developing the exhibit during the pandemic, they wanted it to reflect the period’s flux and uncertainty. Edwards called it “a sense of time being suspended.” So they worked with artists who questioned issues of identity, representation and belonging.
They used the phrase “buck wild” to reflect their thought process about the show. They wanted it to have a sense of activation and change. In Breslin’s words,
It needs to press something. It needs to be authentic and genuine to an aspirationally wild mind.
What does this mean for your content marketing curation?
- Consider how and what you want your audience to feel and take away from your content based on it relates to their needs and your objectives.
Actionable Content Marketing Tips
- Assess how your existing content relates to your new or updated content’s theme. Link to appropriate content to better inform and engage your audience.
- Offer different content formats to meet your audience’s preferences and device usage.
► How Did The Biennial Curators Select Its Title?
Titles are key to attracting audience attention. Many content creators and editors spend a disproportionate amount of time selecting the optimal title based on the context in which it will appear.
As Edwards explained, the curators chose the title, “Quiet as It’s Kept”, because:
The phrase is a colloquialism typically said before something that should be kept secret. We borrowed it from the first line of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. ‘Quiet as it’s kept there were no marigolds in the fall of 1941.’
It’s also the title of the 1960 album by jazz drummer Max Roach.
And, notably, it was the title of an exhibition of abstract art David Hammons organized in Vienna in 2002. Hammons was interested in abstraction’s ability to speak to lived experience,
Actionable Content Marketing Tip
- Spend time crafting your content title. Since 5 times as many people view your headline as the body of your content, write multiple drafts and chose the best.
► Back To School Reading
As students resume classes this week, this marketing inspiration will get you in the Back-To-School mood.
If you’re like many marketers, you never stop learning. To improve your marketing skills, use the ultimate list of the best marketing books:
As for me, I’m reading these recent books by my colleagues:
- Find Your Red Thread by Tamsen Webster
- Conversations That Connect by Brooke B. Sellas
- Using Behavioral Science in Marketing by Nancy Harhut
Download this free eBook from Content Marketing Institute to sharpen your storytelling, speed your writing process, and strengthen the impact of every word.
Also receive a $100 discount to attend Content Marketing World 2022, September 13-16 in Cleveland.
Plan Ahead: Mark Your Calendar
► Content Marketing World
September 13-16th in Cleveland, OH.
Check my friend Carmen Hill’s LinkedIn post about going to this year’s Content Marketing World (aka: #CMWorld). To-date, it has 51 reactions and 31 comments.
► Adrian Hon speaks at Betaworks
September 21, 2022 6:30 pm – Live event
Registration and vaccination proof required.
Adrian Hon is the author of You’ve Been Played! How Institutions Use Games to Control Us.
October 10-12th, 2022 in Arlington, VA.
The market for Voice/AI solutions is growing exponentially.
Join me and the top people working to transform the user experience. Use code: Cohen20 for 20% off of any ticket.
October 10 -15, 2022 Cincinnati, Ohio
This entrepreneurial-oriented event subtitled Spark The Future, is run by Pete Blackshaw and Cintrifuse.
► MarketingProfs B2B Forum
October 12-14th, 2022 in Boston.
Ann Handley brings B2B back to Boston with 49 Sessions. 4 Keynotes and shenanigans!
If you don’t have the budget to attend a conference IRL, check these tips:
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