As a group, we marketers can be a bit ... verbose. Particularly when we add in experts and analysts who talk about marketing for a living.
With attention spans dwindling and Polar Vortex induced cabin fever setting in, we tried to brainstorm a way that we could make use of the projections and thought leadership of pioneers in our field without an encyclopedia full of content.
Hence, the birth of Marketing Mad Libs: Expert Edition, in which we gave some of our favorite analysts, authors, and all-around awesome marketers the task of finishing a sentence with a prediction or insight. (The shorter and pithier, the better.) Take a look:
A few core themes emerged from our favorite fill-in-the-blanks:
The Power of the Crowd
Recently, LinkedIn announced that everyone can now publish with their Influencers program, following in the footsteps of Medium and other publishing tools that allow the masses to create and publish content. That trend in content, combined with the massive success of Uber and AirBnB, led both Jeremiah Owyang and Michael Lieberman of Square 2 Marketing to reference the power of the crowd in their Mad Libs. Jeremiah referenced Quirky and GE’s willingness to crowdsource product feedback, while Michael referenced resurfacing client content as one of the most underrated marketing tactics.
As marketers, we take pride in being content machines, but we shouldn’t hesitate to lean on our customers, followers, and community from time to time for valuable content. Regardless of the publishing platform or the marketing focus, one thing is clear: Your audience wants to get out of the stands and into the game, and brands who ignore this trend do so at their peril.
The Human Touch Matters
David Meerman Scott isn’t one to mince words, so it’s no surprise that he shared this advice: “Stop trying to pimp your products and services. Nobody cares.”
The team at LinkedIn agreed, noting that brands spend too much time trying to distinguish between B2B and B2C marketing. At the end of the day, Lana Khavinson from LinkedIn notes: “There is no such thing as B2B or B2C, it’s all H2H, human to human.”
Far too often, marketers think about their emails, landing pages, websites, or campaigns without giving enough consideration to their audience. How do your customers consume content? What do they care most about? How can you help, educate, or entertain them? Earning attention is far more impactful than renting it -- that's one of the most important tenets of inbound marketing, and a consistent refrain from Marketing Mad Libs.
Learn to Tell a Great Story
Allen Bonde of Actuate said “a passion for storytelling” was his number one criteria for hiring a new marketer, while Rand Fishkin noted the power that serendipity can have in your marketing efforts if you’re willing to look beyond just data. Anne Mercogliano of Twitter shared that the businesses that break through social media noise are the ones that “prioritize content that offers value” to their community.
One thing is clear: Whether you’re at an event, eating dinner at a bar, or interacting with a brand for the first time on social media, everyone loves a good storyteller. So if you're creating visual content, writing awesome blog posts, or giving incredible presentations, remember that a compelling story wins the day.
How would you finish some of these mad libs? Comment and let us know!
Originally published Mar 7, 2014 2:13:00 PM, updated February 01 2017