Having a Christmas break is great; it gives you perspective and clarity. Like many people, I spent time with my kids enjoying how they see the world and sharing a rather splendid campervan with them (note to self: this is a once-a-year activity with toddlers).
Getting out beyond the corporate bubble and workaday banter really gives you the ability to see the idiocy of it all. So I wanted to get this article out before those thoughts had faded and I returned to the Orwellian marketing machine that we seem to think is okay.
When you chat to people at the beach, the pub or a café, no one talks about fancy pants brand terminology. They certainly don’t care about the $100k packaging redesign that took a year and was intellectualised so much, the New York Times had to be called to witness its greatness.
Listening and chatting to a diverse range of people should give us the best ideas and insights. After all, we are simply trying to persuade people to buy our products and remain loyal through an interesting and mutually rewarding chat. So why do we make it so complicated and hard?
Here are six common sense marketing resolutions for 2017, in no particular order.
1. Stop speaking like a marketer
This is the quickest way to alienate the very audience you are trying to persuade. Yes we know the product is ‘super good’ and has fascinating ‘product attributes’. But guess what, the people who really care about these facts are not the punters. And while we love to throw around jargon and wanky buzzwords, who are these even for? There seems to be a formality to most copy that would not be lost at the Queen’s garden party. Now, I am not saying you should go all ‘Donald Trump rally speak,’ but there has to be a way of letting go so that you can have a conversational tone that people relate to.
Don’t underestimate the influence of millennial culture here, and remember the upper levels of these guys are now hitting 35 so the media conversation and tone resides with them, not One News.
2. Embrace your role as an entertainer
What gift are you bringing to this marketing deal? You want them to buy from you, so what are you giving in exchange? Let’s be honest, if your plan is to interrupt their favourite show or take over their favourite webpage, it’s not off to a good start. You must entertain. This immediately says you are bringing something to the party and therefore you are worth listening to and worth liking, loving even. Put serious thought into your story and how it will appeal. It may be that you are funny, moving, full of hope or even interactive. Don’t just start selling. Tease your viewers, give them some foreplay. Respect your audience and they will respect you back, which will help the longevity of your campaigns.
3. Remember, what you are selling is not what people are buying?
So, you might be selling insurance, finance, personal loans or this year’s latest chocolate biscuit. Do you really think people are buying these? We care about our families and ourselves. When we buy things that will emotionally make these two things better it will make us feel happier and more fulfilled (not just with choccy biccies). People want more time with their kids, less worry, being a better mum and being a better dad (I am always striving for this one). So spend some decent thinking time to ask the question: 'what are people really buying from you?' The answers might surprise you.
4. Keep your messaging succinct
People do not want to study every facet of what you have to offer to get to the point. Say one thing and say it well in a compelling story. Dead simple.
5. Keep in mind that talking a lot on social doesn’t automatically make you interesting
Ever been at a party when someone simply drones on and talks about nothing? Now, check your social strategy and see if you are ‘that guy’ or ‘that girl’. Nobody likes it. Do less better, make a great video, use the medium well, think through your responses and, above all, have something relevant to say to the environment you are in.
6. Spend less time on the road
Over the last few years, marketers have spent so much time bouncing from specialist to specialist to specialist, each of which are peddling some new variation of digital snake oil. We don't live in the early stages of digital any longer. The industry has wisened up and you can now get what you need in one place, be it media, creative or digital expertise. You don't have to be a travelling salesperson if you don't want to.
I wish you all a hugely prosperous and compelling 2017 with your customers.
- Dean Taylor is the managing director at Contagion.