Today’s marketing and advertising industry would be almost unrecognizable to a time-travelling marketer from 20 years ago. The rise of social media, broadcast and OTT addressability, and a slew of digital ad products have made it easier to reach people, but harder to cut through the noise and stand out.
Assume Your Customers Know Nothing About You
First, accept this simple truth: you know much more about your customers than they know about you. Even if you’re an omnipresent brand with sales strategies laid out for multiple demographics, to your audience, you’re still just a company trying to sell a product. More than that, you’re one of thousands, if not millions of companies trying to sell a product. Your prospective customers are bombarded with advertising from all around, all day, every day.
So, how can understanding this make you a better marketer? By operating under the assumption that every interaction with a potential customer is an introduction, you will train yourself to get to the point. Writing succinct copy and being able to tell your story visually as quickly as you can is key to competitive marketing in the 2020s. Grab their attention right away, show them the benefit, and ask them to buy.
Think Like Your Competition
After you’ve considered your customers’ point-of-view, it’s helpful to try to imagine what your competitors do with the same information. You should always know who the leaders in your industry are, and who your most direct competition is. In other words, if you’re ranked number four in market share, be aware of number one, but set your sights on number three. Study their brand voice and attitude. Keep an eye open for their ads. Where are they placing them? What are they saying? If they’re doing the same thing you are, you either need to do it much better, or much differently.
Stay Ahead of the Digital Curve
Moving away from customer and competitor mindsets, let’s talk about the modern advertising landscape. Most savvy marketers with decent budgets are buying digital in one way or another, from banner ads, to boosted social media posts to geofencing campaigns. No matter what anyone tells you, you don’t have to buy every platform. That’s simply not possible or affordable for most businesses. You do, however, need to be aware of what advertising opportunities are available and evaluate them. This is easier said than done, but the more you try to keep up, the better prepared you will be.
Understand the Value of Influencers and Brand Ambassadors
While digital may have been the most revolutionary game-changer in advertising in a generation, the rise of influencers and brand ambassadors is one of the most interesting. It is also one of the most misunderstood. Just as CEOs would tell marketers a decade ago: “make a video go viral!”, many are now asking “Why don’t we have brand ambassadors?” or, “Why aren’t influencers talking about us?” These questions, while common, show a misunderstanding about influencer culture.
First, realize that only a select segment of products or services make sense to align with influencers. Those that do are typically younger skewing. Before attempting to court influencers, it is imperative that these companies have a rock-solid social media strategy with engaged followers. Influencers are not meant to start the conversation about your business. Rather, they are meant to amplify and spread strong messaging. Don’t put the cart before the horse, put the work into social first.
Always Test and Monitor New Strategies
Finally, embrace what search engines and social media provide you: a wealth of analytics. If you advertise with any social or SEO platform, you have access to incredible amounts of data about your customers and how they engage with your marketing. Monitor this as you deploy campaigns, but as you start planning new ones, build test audiences with this information. Try A/B testing across demos. Look at what results come in and use those to strategize.
Marketing in the modern world is like putting together a challenging puzzle. Starting can be tricky, but once the pieces start to fall into place, the reward is incredible!