‘Beta’ has fast become a way of life, and there is no escape from its unrelenting and, at times, supremely unforgiving ethos. Research from the US has even revealed that 43% of Millennials would support a beta-testing period for marriage.
As brand reputations can now rise and fall in 140-character chunks, so there is a demand for marketers to shift their thinking away from traditional campaign cycles and drawn-out research programmes to embrace rapid-response business. Indeed, as 2014 has proved, any company can adopt the rhetoric of beta and Facebook’s infamous ‘fail fast’ mantra. This, in turn, presents the risk that marketers may use it to camouflage the launch of fundamentally substandard projects and products.
As beta becomes the modus operandi for marketing, business leaders need to raise their game. In a sea of content marketing and heavily edited social-media profiles, it is all too easy for them to confuse the reality of strategic leadership with simply giving the appearance of being a thought-leader in the media. This is no longer enough; tomorrow’s marketing leaders will lead by strategic ‘doing’. As those working with brands have learned, merely telling consumers or fellow employees that the brand is good does not pass muster – you must prove it is.