This is the true rubber-meets-road moment in marketing, IMHO. Here’s my general take:
- Marketing needs to evolve as a source of product
- We need to stop worshipping at “The Temple Of Big Numbers”
My two cents, just from places I’ve worked: a lot of times at jobs, people get promoted because of their ability to make money. This is only logical: if you’re considering a job for someone that might pay them $120K, it’s hard to justify giving that job to that person if they only generate $80K (that’s essentially a $200K loss every five years for the company). Because of this promotion model, you don’t always see “tried-and-true marketers” get promoted up to SVP/CMO jobs; for better or worse, the ROI of standard marketing is still hard to prove. (Think about it: you spend $75K on an advertisement, right? Great brand awareness but who’s to say that led someone to buy your wares, right?) You often see sales, ad guys, TV people, or ex-newspaper people with “oodles of experience” becoming top dogs in marketing. I’ve worked for 5-6 of these people in my life.
If you come from a background that’s more about sales and ads and margins and bottom-line dollars, then your natural inclination is to up-sell product and service when you author a piece of content. Problem is: the next generation with spending power? They’ve had ads everywhere their whole life. You think they don’t realize how to ignore it? They do.
I was actually watching the 2014 report “Generation Like” from Frontline yesterday:
(That’s not the full episode; it’s a snippet.) If you think about these “new generation media superstars” — Vine, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, etc. — a lot of the reason they gain a following is because what they do seems authentic, or at the very least humorous or slightly different. This works in tons of industries: for example, your restaurant can look like crap, so long as it feels “authentic.” In an era where the power of “brand” is declining and the power of customer service/interaction points is increasing, it seems our content should be a lot more focused on authenticity and our real story, as opposed to shoving a sales message down the throat of a potential consumer. Human beings are social animals and ultimately respond to connections and how a product or service will make them better, not some carefully-calibrated message from an ad sales team.
This post first appeared on The Context of Things