Marketing is Dead.

June 6, 2012 No Comments by Anthony

Marketing is dead. Don’t believe me? You should. We are in a new age, an age where the consumer has a larger voice than ever. If you are a traditional print or interactive marketer, this article for you.

R.I.P. –  Marketing
Why is marketing dead? Well, it’s not. But the way marketing has taken place over the last 50+ years is. As I mentioned in an earlier post, there is a lot of noise in the world – more than ever in fact. If you want to get noticed, you can’t simply yell louder, it just doesn’t work.

You need to stand out.

The dinner party
Have you ever been at a dinner party and sat next to “that guy.” You know, the one who won’t stop talking about about himself? Traditional marketing has become “that guy.” If you want to be a good host, and/or the life of the party – you listen. Ask people questions, and listen. Why? Because there is power in silence, and people love to talk about themselves and activities they are interested in.

Traditional marketing has become “that guy.”

Wouldn’t it make sense that marketing and social media should operate the same way? Engage in a (professional) honest conversation with your customers. Let your superfans build your brand for you. People are going to like your products and brands because their friends (digital and analog) told them about it, not you. The trust level between “corporations” and people is low, but people do fall in love with certain brands when they get a peek behind the curtain. Your customers want to know who your company really is. “Your” being the actual human beings that comprise this “thing” we call a business.

A few ways to “talk” to your customers
Here are just a few suggestions, but the main idea is to start a conversation with people in your “tribe” (reference to Seth Godin’s book: Tribes).

  1. Post trivia questions about your industry on Facebook, and reward those who answer correctly with a small prize.
  2. Have an essay contest about a topic that is interesting to your customers, and post the winner on your website, Facebook and Twitter pages.
  3. Ask your customers what their favorite XYZ is, and make sure to respond with honesty and sincerity.
  4. Post pictures from within your company on social media platforms – people love when organizations are transparent, and, dare I say…human?
  5. Host a live chat session at an industry trade-show. Customers love having access to your leaders – be sure not to over-share and screen as appropriate.

La, la, la…I can’t hear you

I can honestly tell you that I avoid this gas station whenever possible. Because without my permission it blasts loud and annoying news headlines and commercials while I fill up.

I’m trapped at the pump, and they know it.

While it does get my attention, it doesn’t lead to a purchase. It leads to me going out of my way to avoid this particular gas station, and thinking twice about pumping at any of the parent company locations. Instead of lobbing news and advertising at me, I would love to see something like this:

  1. Press “1” for gas at $3.49 a gallon (with commercials)
  2. Press “2” for gas at $3.59 a gallon (without commercials)

I love this concept. brilliantly does this with their Kindle e-reader. On the baseline Kindle you pay about $80 for the device with ads, and for $109 you get the same device without any ads. I own a Kindle Touch and my model does have ads. Most of the ads are for items I use and are hardly intrusive.

We also see this model with At Hulu, you get to choose a few options before viewing your content:

  1. Watch a three minute commercial before your show and a few 15-30 second spots during the show.
  2. Watch the show with longer commercial sets of 30 second spots in pairs (similar to normal TV).

In addition to the above, many times you get to choose which commercial you would like to see. I’m not a fan of commercials, but if it’s not that same annoying one (you know the one), I can tolerate it better when I get to choose.

Closing thoughts
As the world gets more and more noisy, consumers are fighting back; with silence. In fact, the city of Sao Paulo Brazil does not allow billboards in their town and have passed a law banning them – yes, this is legit. Here’s an article that explains more.

Look at me! look at me!

It doesn’t work anymore. Marketing is about relationships, and falling in love with a brand. Stop telling, start asking.

Are you telling, or are you asking? How is it working for you?

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