"You market when you hire and when you fire. You market when you call tech support, and you market every time you send a memo." This is the perennial face of marketing. It transcends culture, community, space and time.
What has changed today, is the different streams in marketing. We have a garden variety of choices. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, You Tube; just to name a few are the channels through which our messages are dished out. "Inbound" is the refreshing concept in digital marketing, engagement is the sustenance of it and delivering delight is the ultimate target of todays' marketers. Digital marketing dominates our lives. We are inundated with never-ending stream of emails, instant messages, text messages, and tweets that has given way to mediocrity leading to diminished creativity and stifled critical thinking. Keep in mind, these are the marketing messages that we have all opted in. The result: We all suffer from this new disease called, digital distraction.
One of the articles published by moz.com Offline is the New Online Link Building Strategy talks about a physical event that was hosted by a high-end European fashion retailer and how the event was designed to draw attention to their brand and distributed across the social channels. Today, these events are considered offline link building, but prior to the internet it was simply called public relations. Back in the 1920s when the PR genius Edward Barneys was hired to rally more women to smoke, he devised the NYC Eater Sunday Parade-"Torches of Freedom". Today, instead of having a photographer taking the pictures and then distributing around the world; he would have used the technological eco-sphere of hashtags and Instagram.
Today, we have the infinite space of the internet. [Our finite minds are finally starting to grasp the concept of infinity.]
But, we miserably fail to draw people's attention. Partly because, we are all swimming in the sea of sameness. Making advertising messages stand out is the scorching challenge of marketers today. The life span of your twitter message is 90 mins and your Facebook update is 3 hours. Hence, the dire need for your messages to strike an emotional chord. Your Facebook updates, your tweets need to have triggers built in so that people take action. It should be no different than putting an ad in the trade magazine that prompts one to take action. In fact, you can do better than that. Follow the 10:4:1 Rule. [For every 15 of your social media updates, 10 should be pieces of other people's content, 4 should be your own blog articles, and 1 should be a landing page.]
What is the Key Differentiator in Marketing Today: It is You, the Marketer
It is no longer the few, the powerful and the furious who shapes our collective destiny as a species. It is you who choose the destiny of your tribe. With so much marketing data available at the click of your mouse, targeting the right buyers at the right time is of key importance now. "Marketing was inefficient without the intelligence that is commonplace with most marketing and advertising platforms. When marketers began to decrease their print ad spending, it wasn’t because print advertising was a bad idea; it was just less intelligent compared to most digital platforms." Today, the ability to target individuals based on their behavior and interests is the key difference between then and now. Today, you have the option to use Cloud2You or MarketSync, which deliver mail to individuals based on behavior. The keyword here is behavior.
Fusing the Old and the New
While we have established that the kernel of marketing is essentially the same amidst the changing media landscape, we now have to focus on the creativity and the strategy of the content that we put on line. We have to craft our messages with the same delicacy and intent as a high-end print ad or that of a Super Bowl Ad. If you’re creating blog posts, eBooks or look books for content marketing purposes, you need to advertise these materials just as you would a free demo or sale. "You need to market your marketing". As C.C. Chapman says: People always seem to forget that little part. Have to prime the pump for those first eyeballs.
It is about time that we move into a mind set that fuses the old and the new paradigm thus ushering the age of post digital fusion marketing. Here we use the different marketing tool sets as and when needed.
Above all, "Our job is to make change. Our job is to connect to people, to interact with them in a way that leaves them better than we found them, more able to get where they’d like to go. Every time we waste that opportunity, every page or sentence that doesn’t do enough to advance the cause, is waste." Seth Godin
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Are you ready to communicate with them?
Technology is the language and the fashion of this generation. Extremely savvy and constantly wired this generation could be the most educated in American history (according to a study conducted by Pew Research Center). Being "digital natives", they are on a path of constant learning, upgrading and sharing. In her book, Chasing Youth Culture And Getting It Right, Tina Wells discusses how crucial technology is in their lives. "If you want to engage with Millennials, you must understand the role technology plays in their lives. When we get scared of it as marketers, we tend to disconnect with our consumers. Technology doesn’t kill magazines or newspapers or music. What hurts these media is when we decide to stop innovating. Content is king, and always will be. Create an engaging experience with content, no matter what the platform, and consumers will engage"
Trade shows are ideal environments for face-to face marketing and an opportunity to experience your brand in a very unique way. As Tina Wells points out, communal consumption and existential experience is huge for this generation.
As trade show mavericks what does this mean? Create a designer space that is equipped with wi-fi, internet, ipad and the likes. You do want them to be tweeting and uploading content from your exhibit space, about your exhibiting brand. As a marketer you want your stories to go viral. Arm your millennial visitors with easy user interface to do so. To them it is all about speed and ease to use.
When it comes to existential experience, it is very pivotal for the millennials to have “once in a lifetime experiences.” This could be from a simple “coffee experience” to life changing service experiences in places like Africa. Measure for yourself how does this add up to your exhibit design. Your exhibit design is the home for your brand experience. Design a space to skillfully reflect the nuances of your brand's reputation, memory and product. Provide for a space that intelligently interacts with the 5 senses. Think about smell, sound, touch, lighting, the presentation of products, and everything else that goes into delivering a memorable brand experience. Your exhibit design is the one touch point that your audience actually gets to experience. Give them an experience of a lifetime, one that they can’t wait to share with their friends.
"Of all those in the army close to the commander none is more intimate than the secret agent; of all rewards none more liberal than those given to secret agents; of all matters none is more confidential than those relating to secret operations." Sun Tzu
We live in an Age of Knowledge. The competitive edge lies no longer only in gaining new sales lead or finding new partners and alliances. Gaining competitive intelligence over your industry, customer, competitor, suppliers, and potential partners are the new prerequisites of your competitive advantage and your marketing managers are the secret agents of this new battlefield. The goal of competitive intelligence is to convert raw data into something that can lead to a competitive asset. It gives you insights into what might happen in the near future. This process requires that we go from data to information to intelligence. Here is a basic example:
Data = Prices for our products have dropped by 5%
Information = New offshore facilities have lower labor costs
Intelligence = Our key competitor is about to acquire a facility in India that will . .
The differences between data, information, and intelligence can be subtle, but very real:
Data = Unconnected pieces of information: Nice to know, but so what!
Information = Increased knowledge derived by understanding the relationships of data: Interesting, but how does it relate to what I do!
Intelligence = Organizing the information to fully appreciate the implications and impact on the organization: Oh really, then we better do something!
Given this relationship between data, information and intelligence, now you are armed to visit your competitors' trade show booth and ask them questions on:
Product/service features and benefits.
Recent product/service introductions and upgrades.
Installation and maintenance.
Pricing strategies: commercial, non-profit, governmental
Special pricing policies - do they offer: credit, discounts, incentives, consignments.
Corporate and business philosophy
Be gracious and subtle. Remember: “Knowledge is what you are after. Information is the raw material you use. Intelligence is what finds and processes information.” The Intelligence Edge by George Friedman, Meredith Friedman, Colin Chapman and John S. Baker, Jr.
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Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. Franz Kafka