In this new year, in a wired world where everything seems to be in constant flux, it’s attractive for people to obsess about how quickly the rules of business change.
And there’s no reason brand managers should sleep any better at night than other professionals, when they face the same kinds of tectonic shifts of disruption that have rocked industries such as newspapers, retail, health care, and, of course, politics in recent times.
In 2017, marketers are faced with responding to the meteoric rise of such new marketing options as Snap (formerly Snapchat), which now boasts some 10 billion views of its video content daily. Not to be left out in the cold (or out of the gold), venerable social media lions are ramping their video capabilities (with Facebook Live, and Twitter Live). These platforms are literally turning the average consumer’s ability to broadcast live footage worldwide on the Internet to the point that every John and Jane Doe can now operate as their own Action News Team: to the world.
Companies will, of course, be able to advertise around those videos. If they’re very lucky, their products and services may even be the subject of some of them. But getting valuable, bankable “exposure” is now harder than ever.
It isn’t just enough to buy “exposure” in the online realm, as you know. Every study shows people are overwhelmed by digital advertising. Ad blocking is growing yearly, approaching 50 percent (according to PageFair). Fewer than three percent of respondents think ads on websites are relevant (according to Infolinks and bannerblindess.org).
Finally, Millennials themselves, the power Facebook users (according to Pew Research Center) admit they are far more likely to ignore online ads (banners, social media and search engine ads) than they are when watching TV or looking at a print newspaper.
What’s the solution for brand marketers? Simple. Because it hasn’t changed.
Today, in 24/7/365, always-on 2017, one thing better than any other captures eyeballs, hearts and minds, and purchase decisions: relevance to the beholder.
No matter who is exposed to your online marketing, from an 19-year-old college student who texts 150 times a day, to a 65+ three-day-week golfer, he or she will respond best to the advertiser who understands and speaks directly to them.
Here we are not just talking about “personalization,” where algorithms serve up ads related to previous searches that online visitors have made. Even with those technical marvels, statistics show that clickthrough rates of display ads across all formats and placements is a tiny 0.06% (according to Display Benchmarks Tool).
What we are talking about is companies understanding their target audiences and their mindsets better before you even contemplate creating marketing content. If that sounds like Advertising 101 from the days of Mad Men, well, it kind of is.
Regardless of how new and popular an advertising medium, and despite the demographic, you will sell more if your truly understand what people want out of your goods and services. Relevance, stronger brand relationships, enhanced engagement will come from truly understanding the personality of targets, and their true sentiments. Only then can you craft innovative, action-driving content. You must first understand them.
To do so today, we also benefit from the constantly changing world of IT. The latest, third-generation data mining tools, those pushing algorithmic learning to new heights when overseen by veteran brand marketing consultant input, are pulling newly accurate consumer sentiments by category, brand and specific product.
We can tell what resonates with people, in real time, in their natural language. We can see how they think: what they love, what they hate, what moves them.
Today, as in yesteryear, awesome bedrock strategy must underlie your marketing.
So, go ahead: welcome marketplace disruption!
Regardless of what newfangled platform, or flavor of information delivery (written, visual or spoken), if you know what the people you are trying to sell truly think, believe, and desire, you will better be able to motivate them to punch in those card numbers, expiration dates, and little three number codes on the flip side, too.
Some things never change.