Don Draper and the Long, Winding Road to Cross-Channel Marketing Success

by Bill Harriss on June 11, 2010

Bill Harriss

Bill Harriss

As most B2B and B2C marketers look in the mirror halfway through 2010, it’s a time for a brief pause to reflect on what it takes to successfully integrate and measure multiple marketing channels. Let’s face it, the last 10-15 years in the marketing business have been like no other in our lifetime and the next decade promises to be even more interesting and exciting. Makes me want to watch another episode of Mad Men to pinch myself on how far the marketing industry has come. Imagine Don Draper (chief character in the excellent AMC series, Mad Men) in a room full of web analytics folks? And no one was smoking or drinking?

Ah, yes, the last decade, with many marketers just getting over the CRM hangover (and not the Don Draper three-martini lunch kind) of the late 90’s, the campaign management wave of the early 2000s (remember how software and technology were going to save the day and make everyone’s job easier?). And recently, we have been dealing with the 1-2-3 punch of what mobile, social media and the global economic tsunami mean to us as marketers. How have we all (OK, most of us anyway) stayed relatively sane in this business?

What would Don Draper do?

What would Don Draper do?

So, what would Don Draper do in this era of unprecedented change?

Start with deep customer insights – Though the tools and technologies have changed a lot since the early 60’s, effective marketing and customer communications all start with a deep insight about what matters most to consumers. What do they look like? How do they behave and interact with your product or service across different channels?

Develop communications strategies based on customer needs and aspirations – Whether it is different channels, messages, or offers, Don would look for ways to customize the message to the target audience, appeal to their buying motivations, make it personal.

Engage consumers in ways that are new, challenge the status quo – Constantly test new ways of communicating with customers and prospects, mix different channels.  In this age of digital, mobile, multichannel communications, what worked even 3-5 years ago could probably use a different approach.

Push internal teams (and clients) to do their best work – Inspire those around you to stretch, get creative, develop new ways to solve marketing problems and reach the target audience.

For anyone who watches Mad Men, yes, Don may appear like a relic from a time gone by. However, he embodied some simple beliefs and approaches to this marketing business that haven’t changed in 50 years. Don understood it was about the customer, pure and simple. Yes, things move faster, there are more moving parts, tools, channels and the list goes on, but sometimes taking a deep breath and having a simple vision matter more than anything else.

Thanks Don!


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About the Author:

Bill Harris is a Practice Leader in the Healthcare and Consumer Markets for SIGMA Marketing Group.  Connect with Bill on , or follow him on .

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