7 Digital Marketing Paradoxes from Taco Bell CMO

by Bill McCown - Feb 03, 2016

digital marketing advice can lead you in the wrong directionWhether you’re an agency, a small business trying to compete in the digital space or even an established brand, digital marketing advice always seems to contradict itself. We at The Idea People venture to say that if you read 10 articles on digital marketing, at least three of them offer the exact opposite advice. The new Taco Bell CMO, Marisa Talberg, outlined this struggle with her seven paradoxes of digital marketing.

"With digital marketing coming to prominence over the last 15 to 20 years, it is widely believed that successful marketing techniques must be new and never seen before," said Wesley Farhnam, Chief Digital Strategist for the Idea People. "This is true…to an extent. Deep down, marketers may unwittingly know the solution, and it is as old as the profession itself."

The 7 Digital Marketing Paradoxes

1) Brands Must Create More Content BUT Consumers Feel Bombarded by Ads

Brands must create fresh, original content and distribute it in multiple channels. Unfortunately for the consumer, those channels are where they spend their leisure time. They do not want to feel like they’re constantly being advertised to.

2) Brands are Publishers BUT They’re Also Advertisers

Creating engaging content is key, but it also has to serve the purpose of driving awareness and sales.

3) Large Brands Must be Global AND Local

Huge brands, like Taco Bell, must have a wide reach. But, casting such a wide net can lead to a cold and impersonal feel. Marketing efforts need to be tailored locally to form a better connection with consumers in certain areas.

4) Brands Must Run Campaigns AND Communicate Constantly

Campaigns can no longer simply run anymore. Responding to feedback (positive and negative) via social media is almost as important as the campaign itself.

5) Marketing is an Art AND a Science

This is perhaps the most important one. Left-brain and right-brain must combine and work together in a seamless process. Content and planning/analytics must align in order to make an impact.

6) Great Content is Expensive BUT it can be Organic

A lot of times, you may have to “pay to play,” especially in regard to Facebook. In other cases, amazing content will spread organically. The truth of the matter is, it is impossible to predict. No one can intentionally make a video viral or force users to share an article.

7) Sales Must be Quick BUT Loyalty Must be Driven Over Time

Business owners want sales in the short term, but they also need customers to keep coming back.

The Solution? Realize Nothing Has Actually Changed

While the channels and technology have changed, the driving forces of marketing have not. Talberg found the solution to the seven paradoxes with her fifth paradox. Marketing is, and always will be, an art and a science. It is driven by true creativity and executed by proper planning and evaluation.

Advertising in the 1950sIn the 1950s, the main channel for advertising was television and radio. The most memorable and successful ads were ones that captured an emotion (humor, hope, etc.) and were targeted to the right consumer during the most appropriate program slots.

The same is true today. Consumers are smart; they know when they’re being advertised to. The key is to create content that is so entertaining or useful, they don’t mind. The type of content and number of channels that exist are exponentially greater than in the 1950’s, but the core principles are the same.

Next time you become frustrated or confused about your digital marketing strategy – get back to basics.

"Determine 'who am I trying to reach and which channel am I going to use?'" said Farnham. "Then ask yourself 'is this piece of content useful to them? Does it make them feel or provide information they need?' The complexities of the digital marketplace will be easier to solve after these initial questions have been answered."

To learn more about digital marketing and content creation, contact us by calling (704) 398-4437, or email us: ideas@theideapeople.com.
Bill McCown
The Idea PeopleThe Idea People