Do you know what good looks like?

Building on the example above, a skill set that will become increasingly vital for success is the ability to understand and anticipate consumer tastes and preferences.

As markets become more saturated and consumers are bombarded with an endless array of choices, marketers who can tap into the pulse of their target audience and deliver content, products, and experiences that resonate will have a significant advantage.

However, it’s equally important to recognize when an attempt to connect with an audience falls flat or, worse, offends. Take, for example, the infamous Pepsi ad featuring Kendall Jenner. In the ad, Jenner joins a protest and offers a can of Pepsi to a police officer, seemingly resolving the tension. The ad was swiftly met with backlash, with critics accusing Pepsi of trivializing the Black Lives Matter movement and using social justice as a superficial marketing ploy.

This is a prime example of a disconnect between a brand’s intended message and the actual tastes and sensitivities of its audience. In attempting to capitalize on a cultural moment and appeal to a socially conscious young demographic, Pepsi instead came across as tone-deaf and opportunistic. It’s a cautionary tale for us marketers — understanding your audience isn’t just about knowing what they like but also being attuned to what they will find insensitive, offensive, or simply in poor taste.

As a marketing leader, I frequently encounter this message/taste mismatch in the content targeted at me. Many of these ads come across as patronizing, failing to truly understand the complex pressures and challenges I face in my role. Rather than providing meaningful, tailored solutions, they often address intricate issues in a superficial, generic manner.

This disconnect goes beyond simply failing to resonate with me — it often actively diminishes my perception of the brand. When I encounter content that makes me think, “they just don’t get it,” it undermines the very purpose of the marketing effort. Instead of building a connection or establishing credibility, it creates a cognitive barrier between the brand and me, making me less likely to engage with them in the future.

As we look to the future, the role of the marketer may also shift from managing people to managing machines. With the rise of AI and automation, algorithms and software will handle many of the repetitive tasks of marketing, such as data analysis, transactional copy creation, etc.

However, this does not diminish the importance of human judgment and discernment. In fact, it amplifies it! As a marketer, your role will be to manage the outputs of these machines to ensure that they are aligned with your brand’s voice and values and the tastes of your target audience. To do this effectively, you will need to have a keen sense of what really good looks like.

This means constantly benchmarking your work against the best in your industry, staying attuned to the shifting tastes and trends of your audience, and having a clear vision for what excellence and resonance look like for your particular brand and market. It’s no longer enough to simply push out volumes of content or ads and hope for the best. Marketers will need to be curators and arbiters of taste, with the ability to separate the signal from the noise.

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By Rose Milev

I always want to learn something new. SEO is my passion.

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