Many marketing efforts founder because they fail to cut through the noise – ensuring your marketing hits home means speaking your audience’s language
Defining the story, the purpose and a brand’s position is a hugely important step – one that a business needs to get on top of before successfully executing an engaging digital strategy. Embarking on a full campaign before defining exactly why people should care reduces the chance of its success. As an agency, we are all too often called in to help increase sales through a digital marketing piece but then have to go back a step to ensure the foundations are set.
The brands that know who they are seamlessly cut through the crowds and engage audiences. Brands with little belief or that lack a clear sense of direction for their product or services just fall into the background noise. Content marketing campaigns will fail to attract interest and white papers will fail to win over customers from competitors unless there is a clear authority and purpose to your campaign. This may seem like Branding 101 but I want to emphasise the importance of creating proper foundations for your marketing as it will make life easier further down the line. It should form the bedrock of all activity and marketing of any sort is less of a challenge once this has been carefully considered.
Everyone will be able to think of a campaign that didn’t quite produce the results that they were expecting. Was it down to poor creative, putting a channel to the wrong use or did it simply fail to resonate with your targeted audience? Was the due diligence prior to launch thorough enough?
A good exercise is to think about all the times a brand’s message has come through to you but you simply ignored it. For every time you followed a call to action, there would have been hundreds that you ignored. The reason you ignored them probably wasn’t because it was on the wrong channel, because it was at the wrong time of the day or because you were too busy to read it properly. It failed because it didn’t cut through the noise. You didn’t relate to it and it didn’t grab your attention.
Despite the fact that most marketers are obsessed with reach, marketing isn’t about how many times you can get your product or service in front of the right people. Getting seen is easy. Getting noticed is an entirely different battle. And getting committed action or acknowledgment is the holy grail.
So let’s think back to a time marketing has managed to connect with you. It probably wasn’t a piece of generic content marketing, it probably wasn’t an advert and it certainly wouldn’t have been a special offer. Instead it would have been a message that resonated with your needs, a message that spoke your language, understood your pains and carried enough authority to get your interest. Does your own digital marketing strategy achieve that? Are you just plugging your features and benefits or are you trying to relate on an emotional level with prospects and earn their attention?
Clearly your digital strategy must provide value to consumers. You need to be interesting and earn the additional time it takes consumers to engage with your marketing. No one has ever let a list of benefits interrupt their day but audiences can get sidetracked by anything they find interesting or useful. Is there any newsletter you always look forward to receiving? A company’s tweet you look forward to appearing in your timeline? A YouTube video you look forward to watching?
For me, there’s probably only one piece of branded content I genuinely look forward to. That’s Moz’s Whiteboard Friday, a weekly video that’s packed full of interesting facts on marketing. Not once do they mention their product or try and sell their services but they build authority and trust. It’s a constant stream of amazing content that grabs my attention and gives me value. I’m fairly certain they don’t spend any costs on distribution, yet they routinely get thousands of views and have built up an impressive base of followers.
Compare that to the Hellmann’s Summer Hacks campaign. An attempt at branded content that simply doesn’t matter – and hence was drowned out by the constant noise that fills the internet. These videos no doubt cost tens of thousands of pounds to produce but the 15 likes they got – compared to the hundred or so that a man in front of a whiteboard regularly attracts – tells the whole story of what marketing works and what doesn’t.
Ultimately, it’s time to think about your digital marketing in a slightly different way. Establish your purpose, work out why the world needs your company and deliver content that provides value to the audiences that you seek.