A lot is made of the vast amount of data and rapid innovation in the digital marketing space, but to what extent is that a good thing, or even useful? After all, between ad fraud, metrics with issues, unusable data and analytics issues we’ve conspired to make marketing needlessly complex, whilst at the same time often making collateral less effective and justifying spend with poor metrics.
In the name of restoring a certain amount of sanity to this state of affairs, I thought we’d look back at the fundamentals, and how to construct relevant, useful, performant organic digital marketing campaigns in 2017.
At the root of this issue is something that seems useful, but leads to a race to the bottom in terms of quality. The problem is we aim to do the least amount of work to yield the greatest return.
This means we are happy producing something which is of ultimately poor quality if it’s simple and vastly replicable because the work involved is virtually nil, and the outcomes, whilst not great, are (thanks to the mass volume), workable.
Little input, lots of output. What’s not to like?
The Problem with the Problem
Producing marketing on this basis leads to creating things for our clients that, not to put too finer point on it, sucks. Creating clickbait targeting news sites aiming to get coverage might mean you get lots of eyeballs but it doesn’t mean anyone actually cares about the brand. Visits aren’t what helps a business grow sustainably. Neither is time on site, bounce rate or anything else. Those are all proxies to the two things that matter:
People wanting the product bad enough to buy it
It doing what you promised
That’s all you have to do.
The second part is down to your client (or if you’re client-side, your company) making a great product. The former is up to you, and here’s the first two parts in achieving it.
Marketing is talking to people. That’s all. It starts and ends with the communication you have with the person engaging with the content you produce. That means it needs to be…
You’ve got to grab the person’s attention initially. Without a great, immediate hook, your audience isn’t going to engage at all.
If you’re going to intrude into a person’s life with marketing collateral, you sure as heck better make sure that it’s so engaging that they’ll get from the start to the end of the content.
Whether you want to make someone feel outraged, scared, angry, elated, amused, proud, superior or anything else doesn’t matter too much. But you really, really need them to feel something as a result of your material.
Not just the visuals, but the entire experience of interacting with this content and the campaign it sits in needs to reflect the brand, flow correctly, and have all the details nailed down so it’s cohesive and memorable.
Doing these four things means taking time. It means not aiming for a spray-and-pray approach to your marketing efforts. You’re going to have to actually care about your content production and overarching campaign messages.
If someone only sees the brand once, they’re probably not going to remember it. Even if you delivered value, the memory of that experience will fade, and in the end:
Your brand is just the collected memories that person has of interactions with your company.
Some of those might be with the product; some will be previous marketing collateral, if they were previously aware. But it’s not enough to simply interact once and hope that’s enough. You need to be present enough to be constantly reminding your audience of your existence, in an engaging, interesting way. You don’t want to annoy them. But you do want them to regularly be reminded of your company, and to take away a feeling of positivity and tribe towards your brand.