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Slow and fast marketing: Living in the fast lane


Today’s marketing strategies fall into two categories: the fast lane and the slow lane.  Fast marketing is all about harnessing the now: How a brand can be a part of customers' experiences in the moment. Slow marketing, on the other hand, focuses on redefining the brand experience, which requires a longer planning cycle. In the quest for short-term results, marketing is now living in the fast lane. Perhaps, it is time to slow down.
Many marketing strategies seem to be founded on the belief that in order to get attention, brands need to be injected into every relevant conversation. This marketing phenomenon happens frequently during major events (e.g., sports games, concerts) because marketers see an opportunity: A crowd is gathered around a common interest and the conversation has already been started for them, all the brand has to do is get the crowd’s attention by hijacking a hashtag . This is not to say that this is not a useful tactic, but just because we can join these conversations does not necessarily mean that we should.
And although I do believe that this strategy has value, it still does not go far enough to genuinely get people’s attention and, ultimately, change consumer behaviors. The first weakness of fast lane marketing is that everyone is doing it; native content or paid social is the new display banner. Second, people tend to discount brands’ messages on social media because they seem biased.  And last, but not least, people want control of their social newsfeeds, which could force social networks to rethink their approach to advertising.
Where fast track marketing lacks, slow track marketing is the strongest. Slow track marketing focuses on developing services and experiences that matter and, therefore, offers long-term solutions. But despite the lean startup methodology, creating these services takes time and hard work, which makes slow track marketing a lengthier and more challenging approach. It requires understanding audiences’ needs, developing value propositions that are unique and relevant for the brand, and creating experiences that stand out in the market.
To illustrate the strengths of slow lane marketing and why it is worth investing the effort and time into, let’s look at an example of slow and fast marketing: Would you be more likely to engage with a tennis brand that uses a billboard to provide in-depth analysis and stats of tennis players during a tournament (slow marketing) or with a brand hacking the tournament hashtag to promote themselves and offer coupons (fast marketing)?
While I understand the need for fast marketing, my concern is that we are only focusing on short-term results. We don’t want to slow down to rethink our audience needs, redefine our brand experience or develop new services that make a difference. Instead, we want instant gratification and fast results that aren't always sustainable. The problem is that just living in the fast lane might not pay off in the long run.  

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