SUMMARY: Pivot marketing is your brand’s ability to change the direction of your marketing because of changes in the marketplace. It requires speed and the ability to separate real trends from hyped ones quickly.
The only known fact about consumer marketing is that we don’t really know what’s coming and how consumers will react. While some say brand positioning should never change, poor positioning with changing consumers can lead to lost market share.
Today, it’s more important than ever to develop your team’s ability to listen to consumers and quickly identify what’s real and just venting. A great example is advertisers abandoning the Super Bowl. They feel that this isn’t the right time to spend five million dollars on an ad with so much uncertainty around the pandemic and politics.
Pivot marketing isn’t about a complete 180 change in your marketing. It’s about the ability to quickly identify which channels are going to support your brand objectives and how changes in messaging can lead to more customers.
In the past, advertisers used the Super Bowl for what I call “feel good” ads. These are ads that make viewers feel good but don’t necessarily lead to sales. To be honest, I think consumers are sick and tired of brands that pretend to care yet still advertise on platforms, like Facebook, that have continually betrayed trust.
Some brands are too big and have too many layers of management to pivot successfully. When it comes to speed, they are at a competitive disadvantage. Other, smaller brands learn to identify opportunities and risk it all.
So how can you identify which are pivot opportunities and which are just hyped trends? First, you need to listen to social media and quantify what you’re hearing. When Popeye’s Lousiana Kitchen had a huge success with their chicken sandwich, several other fast-food restaurants were quick to copy the item. Right now, McDonald’s is just rolling out its chicken sandwiches.
A second way to identify pivot opportunities is asking retailers what’s going on with certain product assortments. When the CEO of Goya aligned himself with Trump I noticed the Goya assortments at local markets decreasing and being replaced by newer brands.
A lot of marketers like to think they control their brand’s positioning. Rubbish! Consumers control how your brand is positioned. If you continue to down a path against the prevailing consumer attitudes, you can expect many meetings to ask why.
One more thing.
Marketing is NOT science! It’s an art. MBAs can try and quantify marketing all they want, but it’s impossible to use science to define consumer behaviors.
Too many brands spend months on marketing plans that are irrelevant a soon as they are printed and distributed. Today speed with quantified listening is a huge competitive advantage.