What is marketing?
Ask a handful of people walking down the street and most will comment that it has something to do with advertising and sales however, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Marketing is really about telling a story and making a connection to the consumer and without these factors, it is likely that your marketing strategy will not stand the test of time, especially as technology accelerates.
No longer is good enough to simply make a banner and slap it on a webpage. No longer is it good enough to do some simple SEO and have your site rank number one on the search results.
More and more consumers are turning “ad blind” and are tuning-out to advertising, especially online. Search engines like Google are also getting savvier when it comes to SEO and have some strict, nearly impossible to work out rules that tend to favour consumer reactions.
In the early days of the internet, companies could easily and quickly put together a “brochure” type website and see click through rates of up to 20 percent or more.
Now, it is virtually impossible to sell a customer on a “brochure” as consumers have become far too inundated with content and selections.
The internet has opened up a million opportunities to consumers and with all those opportunities it can be difficult to see your product or service stand out from the crowd.
In order to stay relevant, your marketing strategy has to move away from sales and advertising and into something much deeper…..a conversation.
Marketing has really moved away from “You should buy this now” and into truly understanding and relating to the consumers so they feel a sense of “I want to buy this now” instead.
To achieve this, marketers not only need to understand the psychology behind sales and advertising, they also have to understand the psychology behind the target demographic as well, and work out ways to fill the void between the consumer and the product or service.
This requires some creativity as well as empathy and understanding to the human condition. In fact, marketing is much like telling a Hollywood story-it requires you to take your consumers on a journey, tap into their emotions and inspire them to take an action.
Story-telling has become so crucial to the life-cycle of marketing and marketers really need to come up with creative ways to capture an audience’s attention and keep them engaged long enough to hear the message.
There are many ways to do this but the most tested formats include-
Social media is a big driving force when it comes to story-telling-marketing, as one of the best ways to get consumers engaged is through social proof. If their friends can vouch for it, if their friends own it, then chances are they will want it too.
Social media is also the number one source to help drive campaigns viral thanks to the ability to share, like and comment. This also helps to create a conversation and get people talking about something.
Blogs can help to create a story and can also offer consumers valuable advice which can help build trust and eventually lead to a sale.
Blogs also help to boost followings on social media and help businesses to create their voice, vision and brand.
In fact, even magazines and newspapers that were once only accessible through paid subscriptions are now seeing the value of offering free content. Even though they may not be directly making sales from consumers, they are now making more through advertisers and sponsored posts.
We all know the saying- a picture tells a thousand words, and that is why visual content is so appealing when it comes to marketing and telling a story.
Especially when it comes to online content, imagery is extremely powerful as it is instantly able to convey a message to the consumer and evoke a feeling or response. Just take sites like Instagram and Pinterest- they are all image based and have millions of users every day.
Videos are an extremely powerful way to convey a story thanks to the music, the imagery and also the dialogue or text; but they need not be elaborate.
Thanks to sites like Vine and YouTube, it is super easy to clip together an effective video. The trick is to keep it short, sweet and instantly engaging so consumers are likely to watch the rest.
All of these mediums are now necessary, if not crucial to marketing and selling a product online. If your website doesn’t have a social media platform of some kind, if you don’t offer a blog, or you don’t engage with your followers, chances are consumers are not going to trust you.
As customers become more and more blind to traditional advertising, marketers really need to come up with creative ways to capture their attention and keep them engaged long enough to hear the message.