I recently found this article in the New York Times and it got me thinking… Can marketing firms really have their cake and eat it, too? In other words can marketing firms create successful campaigns while still being unique and creative?
The article begins with the question “Why is So Much Marketing the Same?” Honestly, I often find myself wondering the same thing. Americans are bombarded by thousands of advertisements and marketing campaigns in a day, however, which ones can you remember? Who differentiated themselves successfully? Which one was unique and genuinely caught your attention? Often times I cannot really say and I’m sure (as a consumer) you can agree. Responsible marketing is capable of tracking key performance information and answer these questions. From the best calls to action (CTAs) to the most engaging types of tweets, your agency should be able to show you who is paying attention, which parts of your message are working and which parts aren’t. No one likes to make the same mistake twice, and given the analytics tools that are accessible today, there’s rarely an excuse. Nevertheless, tools alone, won’t get you there…you need creativity and that’s what Mueller claims is really lacking. Pushing on…
One of the culprits that Mueller cites is what he labels “Social Media on Steroids”. Mueller’s point is that the same thing that makes social media a democracy is also what blurs differentiation between brands. Moreover, he claims that most companies are outright scared of social media for the potential negative visibility it could create if and when the company ever makes a mistake (which, we all know never happens).
The fact that people (and businesses) are risk-averse, even paradoxically so, is nothing new. But savvy businesses are using this to their advantage, to stand out and show their character…and, guess what? Their audiences are embracing it. To the focused and courageous go the spoils and they have social media to thank for it.
In my mind, there are at least three key components that a campaign needs to be successful, and escape Mueller’s doldrums of mediocrity.
First, you have to be tuned into the pulse of your audience. If your audience is 12yr old girls in love with the Biebs, then you better have some bull- beyond the five back-to-back Journey concerts you saw back in ‘78. It’s important to keep customers attention by constantly raising the bar and introducing topics they care about. If you don’t care about such topics, see #2.
Second, you have to care. If you don’t care, your campaign will stink and people will smell it. This one just seems obvious to us, but is so often overlooked.
Finally, third, you have to be authentic. What makes you (and your business) unique is, duh, you. Forget that, and you’re stuck, while your customers are lost wondering why they picked you in the first place.
So, there you have it—Relevance, Caring and Authenticity—three old principles that in this author’s opinion are the keys to marketing success with minimal sacrifice.
Sure we all suffer from a little writers block and graphic design congestion here and there but that doesn’t mean that creativity is dead. Mueller seems to be whining instead of #winning. Don’t be so negative!
Head to the nearest café, put your thinking cap on, and finish that next great blog article. That slice of Red Velvet cake is waiting for you when you’re done!
Written by Sabrina Gilmore with Co-Author Christopher Pappas