In the 1950s, advertising became the rage in the US. I just finished KING OF MADISON AVENUE, by Kenneth Roman, about David Ogilvy, one of the really big thinkers of his time. His golden rule of advertising was that it was the new face of door-to-door selling. He would say things something like (not a direct quote): "You wouldn't knock on a housewife's door and sing to her. Why do you put jingles in your TV spots?"
Advertising shifted from print to radio to TV and now onto the web, and there, it hit some really hard walls really fast. Advertising still works to some extent, but it's not exactly pulling as hard as it used to, and that's troubling to marketers and sales people who need to push more products. The problem isn't with the ads, exactly. It's in how we've shifted since those days. Some thoughts.
Trust and Attention
The new price for entry for getting your product sold is attention, and then trust. We're busy. I have 290 unread emails in my box while I'm blogging this, and most every one requires more than a one-sentence response. So first, you have to get my attention.
Is your product even interesting? If you're selling a brand new MP3 player, it damned well better do more than be a different color or have different buttons. If you're selling a piece of software, why should I use you when I already know your competitor's brand better, and when there are hundreds of other people looking for some of my time to try out their thing, too?
As for trust, I'm not believing you any more that your service is 600% faster than the competition. I don't actually care. I'm not buying in that Tiger Woods is awesome. Instead, I'm looking for which of my friends or online colleagues is using the product, and what they think of it. I'm hoping that their reputation will translate to a level of trust, and that I can skip a few steps to evaluate a product based on their consideration.
In short, I ask for recommendations much more than I research these days.
So What Should You DO?
Companies are learning how to use tools like blogging and podcasting and videos to build relationships. Some are performing old fashioned advertising in a new arena. The guys from
sell blenders by demonstrating how powerful they are in a funny, clever, viral way. But it's just plain old advertising. Nothing wrong with that. It's working. What works best is that one can take the ads and embed them on their own sites, or pass them around, or load them onto an iPod and take the videos with them. (That's the secret key there, by the way.)
Companies are learning that real, two-way conversations via blogs, via social networks, via video and podcasting tools, is a great new way of content marketing, where the relationship-building feels more genuine, where people explore the chance to understand the humans behind a product, and where somewhat more meaningful connections can be made.
The tools aren't especially difficult to use, once you experience them. The culture of the online world is different than old fashioned marketing, but it's not insurmountable to learn the right lessons to move forward. Understanding how to shift from push marketing to inbound marketing takes a little bit of practice and execution, but the results speak quickly towards your intended goals.
In short, there aren't a lot of reasons why you shouldn't put together a simple strategy to align with your 2009 goals, and then put up some potential measurements to judge success. Think beyond the tools. Don't look for 10,000 YouTube views. Look for 5 more sales. Don't look for 2,000 pageviews on your blog. Look for conversions. Don't do
. Do a few things that make sense, that are easy for you to measure, and that you can test quickly.
What do you think? Does this make sense? Can you see how this is really just a new way to build relationships, that you're still human, that the end results all still have to be about your business and marketing goals? What else didn't I cover that you need?
I look forward to the conversation.
Chris Brogan runs the
Inbound Marketing Summit
events taking place this April in San Francisco, May in Dallas, and September in Boston. He is President of
New Marketing Labs
, and blogs extensively at
, a blog in the Top 10 of Advertising Age Power150, and in the Top 100 blogs in the world, according to Technorati. He is funnier in person.
Photo by Sooz
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Originally published Mar 24, 2009 9:29:00 AM, updated July 28 2017