In a new format for Marketers’ Community, local Twin Cities marketers, sales folks, and business leaders gathered at Heroic Productions in Bloomington, and heard from a dynamic speaker then broke out into smaller groups of 4-5 to dive deeper into the topic at hand: Mastering Chaos: Navigating Marketing in an Era of Disruption.
Speaker Share: A Baseline for Navigation
Revenue marketing strategist Debbie Schwake led us through the timeline of industrial revolutions and quadrants to consider in the chaos. She highlighted each revolution’s significance at it related to marketing: 1+2: 1765-1968 the rise of mass production and product; 3: 1969-2010 the intro of telecommunications and the internet, the concept of a brand 4: 2011-: technology is everywhere and the way businesses deliver service to their customers is pushed to the forefront.
Debbie also presented a quadrant of topics to dissect: generational, team, consumer, and leadership. Each warranted discussion in their own right and also spilled over into the other categories. Structuring the presentation in this way allowed attendees to see parallels and cross-impact that would help in navigating a holistic marketing picture and approach.
Understanding the behaviors, preferences, and values of different generations became a cornerstone in the afternoon’s conversation. Debbie walked us through generational attributes and how they were shaped. A shortened cheat sheet included: Gen X – value for convenience; Millennials – tech-driven consumerism and experience over possessions; Gen Z – digital natives who value authenticity, sustainability, and social/ collective; Gen A – emerging consumers.
A quotable reminder from Tiffani Bova, a leader Debbie respects very much, was this simple, “We are in the people business.” An overarching theme that continued to rise was distinct difference of older generations only going so far as to notice conflicting work/life balance to younger generations taking action to solve for more balance. And the way in which Gen Z goes about this task is inherently more effective because they genuinely care about their peers while believing in abundance in opportunities (equating to less isolation fueled by a competitive workplace).
Breakout Session: Conversation to Master Chaos
Debbie cued up attendees well for their breakout sessions. At the close of the session segment, each group elected a leader to go forward to the stage and report back on the group’s behalf.
Some key observations shared included:
- In America’s companies, there is a lack of good leadership, which equates to frustration from all levels in organization and results in employees feeling like they’re not being trusted or listened to.
- The relational exchange is shifting. In modern day, employers must be loyal to their employees just as brands must be loyal to their consumers. There is a greater amount of trust companies and brands need to work to establish, but it pays off.
- Making work /life balance happen is relational and reliant on team dynamics and a manager leading those conversations. A reminder: generational and individual values are different. They all need to be catered to.
- We are all in chaos and we can all be in situational empathy, allowing everyone to feel heard and be in purpose. When this happens, we also solve for age-old problem of productivity.
- Of critical importance especially in a hybrid work environment, is understanding your team in general so you can position them in the right job. A good exercise: think of your teammate as a consumer.
- Current and younger consumers are demanding a frictionless consumer experience. When it comes to work, their values (experiences over materiality) influence their decision-making. They want agency, directness, and tools versus the micromanaged feel of helping them plan their day. As Debbie chimed in, yes, let’s all plan our own da%n day!
Debbie wrapped the feedback with commentary on each group’s observations, leaving us all with ways to reframe the chaos including:
- Generational – understand where your consumers are, and get there
- Team – reimagine how work gets done – stop fighting it
- Consumer – map and try your customer’s experience to remove friction. be genuinely helpful.
- Leadership: rethink your foundations. all of them. remember: strategy leads.
— Event recap provided by Jen Gilhoi of Sparktrack, who covers events so event hosts and attendees can continue the event inspiration beyond the event itself. Find her on LinkedIn @jengilhoi or online at sparktrack.com. The summary captures the spirit of sharing and the themes of the event in a quick, digestible way so that attendees can refer back to it and take action; it also allows the host to archive what was shared and build on that for future events and use in marketing promotions.