If you haven’t noticed by now there is an ever increasing fragmentation in the marketplace. Single audiences rarely exist anymore and marketing your business, product or service has become increasingly difficult. Traditional marketing tempts you to use a wider ‘spray’ of your message but only serves up a diluted form or your message and by the time it reaches a listener that might care it doesn’t taste good anymore. The next wave of internet based marketing delivers a message more directly to audiences that should care but at best even paid internet advertising yields only marginal results.
What does a business do to advertise in a media fragmented environment?
In short – give people something to talk about.
You can probably count on one hand the amount of time you have purposely clicked a banner ad whether you are on facebook, youtube, google or some other random website. Why would you if you don’t have to? Who clicks the banner ads anyway? Nobody.
When’s the last time you clicked on a video or article link that a friend posted or liked? If you are even moderately interested you will click it, watch it or read it. Why? – because you trust your friend, you don’t trust the banner ad. You care about your friend, you don’t care about the banner ad.
Word of mouth is quickly becoming the only effective means of getting your message out and websites or web services that rely on ad revenue to survive are only limited to a handful of dwindling companies. I am boldly predicting the decline of the monster powerhouse – facebook. That’s right – unless facebook can find a way to better leverage the massive amount of information about ourselves and our habits, our likes and dislikes to force feed us products and services in an alternate form to banner ads it will continue to decline in value as a corporation.
How do you get people to click those ads? You can’t. Because of this something will have to change in order for facebook to be more than a advertising memory. Remember when a TV commercial run at the right time hit 80% of the population or remember when people cared? Instead it will be, remember when you could hit the exact target with your ad on Facebook and people responded? Hmmm… maybe that has yet to happen. It will only be a matter of time before people realize that the a ‘click-through-rate’ of 0.07% shouldn’t be above average. If you had that rate of response on other forms of advertising it would be a dismal failure but we’ve settle for this when it comes to ‘targeted internet campaigns.’
One of two things is going on. Either the products or services that are currently advertised on the internet via google, facebook, youtube or otherwise are all brutal and people don’t like them – or, this method of advertising is only marginally effective for brand awareness and pathetically effective as a means of driving sales.
I understand that there is are enormous psychological components that we are working with. Advertisers have a general understanding that people need to ‘see’ things at least 6-8 times before they respond either positively or negatively. What we are completely missing is that even if a person sees a banner ad 100 times on the column of their facebook page they are still only responding at a average rate of 0.04%. This means that only 4 people out of 100 who have ‘seen’ it click a banner ad – even less care enough to buy anything and less than that care enough to tell anyone else.
Basically – internet advertising that boasts of being able to pin-point your market and target them directly is no more effective than many other forms of traditional advertising. Why? Because people don’t like advertising. They like entertainment, they like to feel, they like to be emotionally moved, they like to connect… but, they don’t like advertising.
This all changes, however, when someone you like or admire cares.. or someone you trust passes the information along. The reason campaigns go viral is because it’s something people care about – a cause, a joke, a story… give people something to talk about or nobody will talk about you at all. With this you fight the inevitable temptation of becoming completely annoying to the general population. “Look at me everyone – I’m awesome” is not a productive way of attracting people. That’s why word-of-mouth is far more important. Companies might think they can ‘control’ their brand message but is that a good goal? Not if you want things to go viral. If you want people to start telling others that your company is awesome, then your focus needs to be on making your company ‘awesome’ and less about trying to control what others are saying, stamping out any potential nay-sayers.
Deliver a product or service that people are willing to commit to. Apple has created a following of dedicated users who buy their products, defend their brand and trust their recommendations. Rent this movie serves up a list of other similar movies you might like based on this one – it’s a continual up-sell that works. Apple’s advertising budget has grown, but their sales and worth have out-surpassed their rate of ad spending. Apple has started selling itself. If they can successfully maintain good customer support and continue to deliver quality products they will continue this trend. They now enjoy the promotion of an enlisted population base that will defend their products and their brand – and as long as Apple still gives people something to talk about it will remain a growing leader in it’s field.
We are not all Apple, but there is no reason why we couldn’t or shouldn’t strive for excellence in the products and services that we provide. “If you want someone to laugh, don’t tell them you are funny, tell them a joke.” Greg Stielstra (Pyro Marketing) Great marketing, strategic campaigns and large advertising budgets will not produce lasting results in this connected, invasive & pervasive social media age. The only thing that will produce lasting results is to provide exceptional products and services.
Only after others think you, your products, services or cause is ‘awesome’ should you begin to be strategic in providing others the means to talk about you. Nothing will grow a great idea faster than positive word-or-mouth and nothing will kill a bad idea faster than negative word-or-mouth.