Innovation through failure

Roy Williams, marketing guru and author of The Wizard of Ads, made a splash on stage at the Responsys Interact conference in San Francisco with a keynote focusing on how today's consumers are in control.

Pointing to Hollywood, he compared the film Gigli, which was given a big ad budget but was killed in the box office because of bad word-of-mouth, to Pirates of the Caribbean, which suffered the opposite fate. Williams said that marketers should be transparent and focus on “interconnectivity.” He warned marketers: “today, the only thing that is offensive is phoniness.”

Shar VanBoskirk, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, also discussed marketing failures to inspire innovation. She said that marketers should be “customer-obsessed,” and “agile,” which she pointed out Pepsi was not when the company infamously pulled its Superbowl TV ad to focus on the social media Refresh project. It led to a drop in sales and VanBoskirk pointed out that the company neglected to interact in ways that customers enjoy.

VanBoskirk, who argued that we are heading from “the age of information” into “the age of the customer,” outlined four parts of customer lifecycle: discover, explore, buy and engage. “Digital is not the best for each of these goals,” she said. Speaking to a room full of marketers, she continued, “Your challenge is to orchestrate these tools together to focus on the customer.”

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