Head of Marketing, Unbxd
It is estimated that a consumer is exposed to over 1000 marketing messages every day, across different types of media. It is a very noisy world indeed. A vast majority of these messages are not watched or absorbed. The rise of digital ad blockers confirms that consumers dislike most of the marketing messages they see, and has sent marketers into a tizzy.
It’s time for us digital marketers to step back from that ‘Start Campaign’ button that will ‘blast’ our marketing message out to millions of consumers all at once. As a community, we need to go back to first principles and start afresh.
Connect to People, Not Buyers
Remember, your audience is made up of individuals and is not a homogenous consumer group. Connect to them at a personal level - understand their likes, dislikes, what worries, and what delights them. Leverage your understanding to then plan your position and marketing.
Spend a disproportionate amount of time and resources in the conceptualization & ideation phase of your campaign. Flip your traditional priorities and spend only about 20 percent (of time, resources and mind share) on media delivery (a good rule of thumb is to spend 50 percent on conceptualization & ideation, 30 percent on building assets and 20 percent on media delivery).
An Apple, a Lego or a Nike stands out for their human-connect and what they mean to consumers. But human-centric marketing need not be restricted to large brands. Numerous small businesses have used the democratic nature of digital platforms to deliver, amplify and engage.
Tell a Story, Don’t Only Narrate Benefits
As kids, we loved listening to stories. We paid rapt attention to tales of kings and queens, of gods and ghosts. And even as adults, we love a good story. Effective marketing is designed to tell us a story, not just narrate benefits of the product or service.
We love the analogy of a faithful pug following us around to soulful music, while many of us are indifferent to another brand just listing the benefits of 4G. Similarly, Paperboat’s marketing evokes nostalgia is us and Coca Cola’s ads bring an otherwise strange drink concoction to life.
Storytelling applies to B2B marketing, as much as B2C. While B2B buying is often assumed to be a rational decision, all human action (and B2B buyers are no exception) is driven by a complex mix of emotions. A useful framework for understanding the dichotomy of human decision making comes from Jonathan Haidt’s metaphor of the elephant and its rider. The rider is the conscious, rational mind while the elephant represents the unconscious, emotional mind that cannot be controlled by the rider. In B2B buying, the rider is the buyer trying to make a rational decision, but is influenced by gut feelings and emotions (the elephant). This makes it imperative for B2B marketers to not focus only on the rider (reason) to the neglect of the elephant (emotion).
Create Experiences, Not Only Clicks
Millions of people (and not just gamers) around the world are playing Pokémon Go, driven by its experience. The Pokémon Go world of augmented reality gives players goals, activities and rewards, in a way few digital platforms have ever done before.
Digital today offers marketers the opportunity to move beyond plain clicks, likes and shares. Mobile offers rich interactivity, with the ability to use the power of voice, touch, gestures, motion, location, the camera, etc. Digital video views (of marketing and user generated content) are seeing exponential growth, especially on mobile. Mobile can also bring experiences through videos - with interactivity and storyboards.
Creating digital marketing that people love, is not an overnight project. It’s a new way of life for us digital marketers, which treats our audiences as individuals, who are driven by their beliefs, who are excited to respond to marketing that connects with them, and that they find useful.