The ONE THING You Need to Know About Marketing: Then and Now
Photo Sources: Bob Wright Creative, Campaign Asia
The marketing landscape has changed dramatically over the years. Heck, it’s changed dramatically overnight. From a campy tiger pushing cornflakes to a slick tiger selling Asian beer.
But more importantly, the chase is over. The customer is now in (almost) complete control of the content she encounters. She controls when, where and how she learns about your brand.
Basically, the momentum has shifted from push to pull.
So… are you still PUSHING a 1990s-era message at your prospective clients, or PULLING them in with a new message that is smart, timely and topical?
First, the definitions:
A PUSH strategy forces the product in front of unsuspecting or (potentially) uninterested clients, typically with paid advertising: TV ads, radio spots, billboards and print publications.
A PULL strategy makes it easy for the client to find the messaging, particularly as organic digital content: blogs, ebooks, LinkedIn posts, Instagram images, Youtube videos, and a long list of other formats work well.
In the age of Don Draper, brand stewards could PUSH a marketing message at consumers, and they were forced to watch. A mediocre product could own the market, if it were driven by a clever ad campaign with a gregarious cartoon tiger or a funny supermarket manager squeezing the toilet paper because it was so darn soft.
Photo Source: Ad Pulp
Today, a growing majority of TV viewers use a DVR to record their favorite programs with the specific intent of skipping the commercials. Many audiophiles prefer podcasts over live radio for a similar reason. More daily news content is consumed online than in print.
In this environment, the ONLY message to succeed is one so clear and captivating that the audience PULLS it in. Period. The battleground is completely online. Winning brands must set the table in such an attractive way that clients pull up a chair whenever and wherever they’re ready to know more. Thus begins the buying cycle of the new age.
To be clear, it’s not just one guy (me) pontificating.
Here’s a similar admonition from Entrepreneur – see “Reason #2”. The same advice shows up in Forbes.
Here’s how it works:
Step One: Client wants to know more about your industry before making a buying decision.
Step Two: Client goes to her favorite search engine to find current, clear content from a knowledgeable source that will explain what she needs to know.
Step Three: She ignores the ads, and the most helpful content that she finds on page one of her search results will be read.
Step Four: She will learn from, and appreciate, the content that assists her most.
Step Five: She eventually calls or contacts the source of the best content.
It’s that simple.
Even better if your message develops an echo. What?
That’s right, a Brand Echo. It’s a term we developed at Brady Media several years ago to describe a brand message that gets repeated by word of mouth – or on any other media platform – because of its “share-ability”. It travels automatically, spontaneously and free-of-charge. How?
We live in an era of increasing content. Most of it is banal, bland & boring. Press releases and (most) TV commercials fit this description. They are not shared.
At the same time, we are all hungry for wisdom. We crave great stories that add value to our daily experiences. We want narrative snippets that provide insight or learning. Great stories do just that, and we tend to seek them out, and pass them along.
The best brands develop an echo that is forwarded, shared and liked repeatedly because of the clear and unique value of their message. It hits a nerve or solves a problem. If she likes your story, she will forward it along to friends and family members with whom she wants to share great information.
It’s the science of Brand Echonomics. You can find the book at B&N.com or Amazon.
(Yes, yes another shameless self-promotional opportunity. Mea Culpa.)
But here’s the point. There’s ONE thing to understand in this digital era of clicks, likes and TiVO:
PULL, don’t PUSH. Be polite. Be patient. Publish it online and they will come.
And if your content is built right, it will develop an echo that summons the world.