What “It Can Wait” Can Teach Data-Driven Marketers

What “It Can Wait” Can Teach Data Driven Marketers image stop signWhat “It Can Wait” Can Teach Data Driven MarketersThe four top mobile carriers in the US — Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile — along with several other organizations and companies, recently joined forces to address a major public safety issue. The campaign, called “It Can Wait,” encourages drivers not to text on their cellphones while operating a motor vehicle. The basic premise is straightforward: Whatever you have to share, whether to friends, loved ones or colleagues, “it can wait.” Or, in other words, any message you have to send is simply not important enough to risk an accident.

By reminding drivers to pull to the side of the road to text, or to postpone texting until they’re at their destinations, the “It Can Wait” campaign is hoping to prevent the types of accidents that happen when people drive distracted.

While the statistics around the initiative have raised a few eyebrows, the fact remains that many are looking for ways to rein in our “always available” culture. And the Big Four mobile carriers aren’t alone in the fight, either. Earlier this year, we covered Toyota’s efforts to prevent texting and driving, and the US-based Ad Council also has a campaign designed to combat the problem.

But ratherthan discuss the dangers associated with texting and driving, I’d like to focus on two other lessons marketers can learn from “It Can Wait.” As I see it, this new campaign teaches us:

Enough is ENOUGH. Whenever humans find a new way to communicate, most of us have a tendency to go “all in”— which is why, I suppose, everyone from little Timmy to Grandma is now glued to their mobile devices every hour of the day and night. But too much of even a good thing can be dangerous, and many marketers must recognize they now have a communication addiction of their own!

Today’s consumers know that if they have an email address, or belong to any social networks, or watch television, listen to the radio, or read a newspaper, they’re set up to be inundated by marketing messages. Nowadays, everyone is pitching, all the time, in every possible venue —and more and more consumers are learning that if marketers get ahold of you in one place, they seem to be able to find you in others, too.

However, the benefit of having multiple channels to communicate is to reach different target markets in the places they want to be reached, when they want to be reached – not to take that traditional old “spray and pray” approach in hopes that at least one pitch will land with success.

Your business won’t suffer because you respect your customers’ time and space. On the contrary, you’ll avoid the “white noise effect” of too many messages and show respect for your customers’ time and attention.

Remember: Just as not every text needs to be sent immediately, it’s okay for you to give marketing a break now and then, too—and to let your customer relationships “breathe” just a bit.

We do better when we accomplish things together. When was the last time the Big Four mobile carriers agreed on anything? We know the “It Can Wait” campaign is an important one because everyone is willing to put their name on it—and to put their name on it alongside a competitor.

But, of course, it’s not just external collaborations that can have a big impact on the success of a project. Internal collaborations and teamwork matter, too. We’ve talked here about the power of a positive employee experience on your bottom line, and we’ve also discussed the three people all CMOs needs in their corner— including the CIO.

I see collaboration between a CMO and a CIO as a solid predictor of success for a company, in no small part because of the way marketing and IT roles are beginning to overlap. By working together, messages and channels align to benefit both the customer and the company. On the other hand, if the collaboration fails — or never occurs in the first place — the customer experience suffers, right along with business revenue.

Old role silos do nothing but stand in the way of progress. It’s time to tear them down and start collaborating . . . and believe me, if you want to maintain your competitive edge, that’s something that simply “cannot wait.”

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