Implementing a Two-Speed Marketing Program

May 14, 2015
Contributor: Heather Pemberton Levy

Marketers must find the balance of synchronizing traditional campaign marketing with continuous storytelling and audience engagement.

When Starbucks closed 7,100 of its American stores at 5:30 p.m. one night in 2008, the company orchestrated a massive PR campaign designed to give the brand a boost while educating its baristas on how to take the company back to its “roots.”

According to Jennifer Polk, research director at Gartner for Marketing Leaders, in her session at the Gartner Digital Marketing Conference, this demonstrates a traditional, single speed marketing campaign that is concentrated, time-bound, and promotional in nature. Two-speed marketing, on the other hand, is synchronization of this traditional campaign marketing with continuous storytelling and audience engagement.

Starbucks operates at speed two with its mobile app, which provides continuous engagement through storytelling, loyalty rewards, free music and downloads, and drives customers into stores during off peak hours.


Why Speed Two?

Marketers need this new approach to brand storytelling and audience engagement to respond to four trends:

  1. Multidimensional strategies
  2. Changing media consumption
  3. “Always-on” digital channels
  4. Democratization of content

Marketers rise to the two-speed challenge in a variety of ways. Oreo’s famous 2013 Super Bowl tweet alerted users during the blackout that they could still “dunk in the dark.” The ALS ice bucket challenge traded in command and control of the brand’s message to create, curate and cultivate the best of the best content to raise awareness and funds. Intel shifted from staged and scripted content to embrace social and authentic storytelling.

In today’s marketing campaigns, the product is no longer the hero. People play the starring roles. Customers also become participatory in campaigns, talking back and creating a portion of the content. In essence, marketers act more like editors. They must select, source and amplify the best content.


Next Steps
  • Assess your marketing maturity to determine if you’re operating at a single-speed or two-speed marketing.
  • Assess marketing systems — are they systems of record or systems of differentiation?
  • Based on assessments, identify critical systems and gaps that need to be filled for two-speed marketing.
  • Align two-speed marketing with business goals and objectives and identify touchpoints outside marketing.
  • Develop a plan to fill in the gaps and create frictionless customer experiences through two-speed marketing.
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