Last week I got into a bit of a rant about what defined MarTech and how advertising methods change but consumers don't. When I originally started brainstorming for that article, it turns out I had given birth to two separate streams of thought but didn't realize it until I started writing the final version of the first article. This article talks about how to stop advertising as a bad habit and is sort of like a part 2 to last week (or not). You decide. Onward!
What Advertising is Like From a Marketer's Point of View
"New Shiny Object! Squirrel! Chase! Chase! Chase! Beat the Horse to Death! Beat the Dead Horse! Another Shiny Object!"
That, my friends, is the short version of this paragraph. :) But in all seriousness, it's mostly true. Every time a new marketing tool or advertising medium comes into play, early adopters lead to mass adoption leads to mass mutilation of said tool or medium. Rinse and repeat.
- When radio came into existence, marketers jumped on board, over used it, and consumers switched to streaming audio and paid for the upgrade to no commercials to tune us out.
- When TV came into existence, marketers jumped on board, over used it, and consumers bought a DVR or canceled cable altogether to tune us out.
- When telephones came into existence, marketers (and sales) jumped on board, over used it, and consumers got Caller ID to tune us out.
- When billboards came into existence, marketers jumped on board, are still using them, and consumers decided to keep their eyes on the road and ignore it.
- When direct mail came into existence, marketers found the gold ticket to physically get inside consumers' homes. Now they found the gold ticket to consumers' recycle bin (in most cases).
What's my prediction for social advertising? While the method is still young and I do honestly believe it can work when used properly and segmented well to those who may actually be interested in what someone is selling, there will most definitely be an end game for social ads too.
As I mentioned in my last article, there are two sides to social selling right now:
- Yes it's effective right now and yes I have several friends and colleagues who are masters in it. Nothing against them, this is their time to shine and I will gladly go to them for their expertise when needed
- BUT if there are others like me who have a problem with seeing everyone's happy lives or an actual case of social media addiction, the Facebook news feed blockers that already exist for desktop browsers may eventually become a commonplace for both desktop and mobile, thus rendering feed advertising useless. And not just for Facebook either. At some point I would expect other platforms to have blockers too, if they don't already.
What Advertising is Like From a Consumer's Point of View
"AD. BLOCK. AD. IGNORE. AD. MARK AS OFFENSIVE. AD. MARK AS IRRELEVANT. AD. MAYBE I'LL CLICK."
Again, short and sweet, sad but true.
This happens with pop-up ads, pop-under ads, banner ads, pay-per-click ads, social ads, exit intent ads that aren't strategic, and more.
As a consumer myself, I have to turn off my marketer goggles and consider the complete experience from the consumer's point of view. What do I want to see in advertising, if I want to see it at all?
Usually the answer to that question is "No, I'd rather take your ads and stick them where the sun doesn't shine."
So how do we as marketers avoid the common death spiral that happens every time a new advertising channel is created and made out to be the next best thing since sliced bread? And how do we as marketers put our consumer goggles on and truly take into consideration what is best for the consumer and not for our marketing or business strategy?
Easy. Make The Consumer Our Marketing Strategy.
What the Hell Do you Mean By That?!
We as marketers need to get off our high horse and stop talking about marketing. We need to gather up our dignity, swallow our pride, consider the consumers in our target audience as the core of our strategy and become the best damn teachers in the niche or industry we serve.
We need to prioritize content marketing and organic social sharing.
Here are a few reasons for this:
- Organic content doesn't come across as marketing. It comes across to the consumer as the answer they are looking for.
- Social media platforms, while they have advertising options, are meant to build value be a part of the community, not the end game to making a sale. If you DO need to advertise though (read "required by management"), consider top of the funnel offers only that are helpful, respectful, relevant, and educational, not pushy.
- Organic content is usually future proof when it comes to new advancements in ad blocking plugins and browser upgrades, such as Apple's recent addition of technology in Safari that limits or restricts ads following consumers around the web.
- Content marketing, when used as a part of an inbound marketing strategy, helps to qualify those consumers who are most willing and able to purchase our product or service. Make sure your strategy is 80% educational. The final 20% should only sell to those who are most certainly in need of your solution and therefore are qualified to start steering towards a closed online purchase or salesperson.
Humans are a species who hate to be sold to. But they love to be helped in order to make their lives easier. Sometimes it's easier to ask for help than to try and figure something out on your own. In either case, content and inbound marketing can offer a long term solution to turn your marketing game into a teacher's curriculum that consumers enroll for.