Marketers ruin everything. I know that’s a weird thing for someone who owns a brand and marketing agency to say, but it’s the truth. If there is a holiday you enjoy, marketers will race to monetize it. So, holidays get over commercialized and you start to dread them. Is there a social media platform you enjoy? Have no doubt, marketers are hot on your heels, using the new platform to get their message in front of you. I hate to admit it, but over-zealous marketers have a habit of ruining everything.
Scorched Earth Marketing
Kipp Bodnar, CMO of HubSpot and a B2B social media expert, recently wrote about how marketers have scorched the earth through their efforts to find the latest and greatest marketing channel. For example, Google came along and marketers jumped all over it and rightfully so. It’s an incredibly powerful tool that is now at the heart of how we purchase. However, marketers abused it through keyword stuffing. So, Google rewrote the algorithm. But it didn’t take long for marketers to figure out Google wanted helpful content. So content, like infographics and blogs, started popping up everywhere like a terrible, viral disease. While a wealth of helpful information is a valuable asset to consumers, a flood of shallow, un-insightful, copycat content, dilutes the quality stuff. The bottom line is, where ever there is a new opportunity to connect with customers, marketers will swarm to the channel to capitalize on the remarkable profitability.
How do you counteract the abuse of scorched earth marketing? How do you connect with an audience that is running and hiding from overzealous marketers? You do it by a thoughtful, persona-driven approach to strategy and messaging.
First, let’s make sure the distinction between strategy and tactics is clear.
Strategies vs Tactics
These are often confused. Or, even when they know the difference, sometimes people neglect the strategies and jump straight to the tactics. For instance, we often hear companies approaching marketing something like this “Let’s start posting more on Facebook.” While Facebook may be an excellent tactic, what is the strategy behind the direction that is governing the execution of the tactic? The key is to focus on the needs of the user, the persona-driven approach:Goal: To sell more widgets
Strategy: Provide compelling evidence to frequent widget buyers why our widget is the best
Tactics: 1) Create demonstration videos for use on the social platforms where widget lovers spend their time, 2) Develop search terms, landing pages and a helpful download guide on getting the most of your widget, so widget seekers can easily find you 3) Feature a break-through ad campaign on popular widget-lover sites
Choosing Quality Tactics
Again, let’s be clear on the order of operations. Your goal is to reach your target persona. Start by clearly identifying them. Then move to the strategy to reach them. Finally, once these elements are in place, the right tactics will fall into place.
Executing Quality Tactics
Even once you’ve followed the process for choosing quality tactics, it can be tempting to cut corners in execution. Don’t do it. You will be no better and no different than you competitors that are wearing out every possible channel. Try asking these questions of every post, email, page of website copy and digital ad:
- How would I respond?
- Would I read/watch/listen to this?
- Is this valuable to my target audience?
- Is it memorable?
- Being totally honest, am I absolutely positive that this is interesting to my prospect?
- Is it too complicated or does it require annoying extra steps?
The list of questions could go on and on, but the point of the exercise is to ensure that you are aggressively aware of the needs and desires of the end user.
At the core of every successful marketing campaign is a clear concept of who your ideal audience is. So why are people on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Yelp, etc.? Why do people use their email? Why do they google certain long-tail keywords that you are so interested in? Maybe they really want to find you, or maybe not.
As a marketer, make it your goal to do a fantastic job without ruining everything.