To begin, you need to be prepared to relinquish some control.
Nothing happens without the social participation, and you will surely encounter opinions that differ from your own. You can’t control this. People will say offensive, negative and inaccurate things. Don’t respond. You can’t win.
If you make a mistake, respond immediately, and be respectful. In a way, brands are living beings, imperfect ones, but like a friend, that’s what you like or don’t like.
Brands who pretend to have no blemishes make people nervous.
This will sound strange but brands need to be human. Consider that when creating your own. Striving for perfection will create a culture that is impossible to maintain. Let your brand breathe, grow and mature. Remember, good marketing has a lot to do with what you do when you screw up.
There is no longer a ‘primary’ marketing channel.
Everything is in play, and you need to play everything. The breadth of approach is important. Think of building a living breathing eco-system across print, social, digital, PR, etc. Appreciate that you will never be able to fully optimize a channel, but don’t sit on the sidelines because of this. Sure you want to do a video series, but that won’t happen. Scrape together a video, put it on LinkedIn and keep going.
Only the “big” have budgets to wage full out war. The rest of us have to rely on a series of guerrilla attacks.
The secret? Keep attacking - it matters. Nothing works as well as you think it will or want it to work. The win is slow and cumulative. Over time the needle will move.
Every lead matters. They will never come in in droves. If you are dying of thirst in the desert, are you careless with water? No. All businesses exist in a desert. Don’t be careless with leads. The trick is to put them somewhere where you can’t lose them… seriously. My stress level goes down dramatically as soon as I create an ‘opportunity’ in my CRM system. Let the machine do the work from there.
People only want to talk to you when they are ready to talk to you.
The key is to make them believe they are ready to talk to you before you talk to them. This is only possible if you get into their brains in advance of a conversation. There is no other way to do this outside of creating content. Sure you can advertise, but who can afford to do that? Suck it up, create the content and push it out.
Nobody will talk to you, but they will stalk you.
But be smart about it. Good marketing is all about tracking someone through the discovery process. The key is to hunt the hunter - this is impossible without marketing technology. If you aren’t tracking people online, you are wasting water, and there will come a day in business when you will want that water.
If you are boring, you might as well take off your clothes and run naked into the desert. The trick is in understanding that you don’t have to be boring to be credible. If you are going to say something, say it with conviction and power. If you are going to create an image, find an emotional one. Your carefully built presentation to a prospect can be pre-empted by a viral video of an elephant wresting a giraffe. You are always competing for someone’s time. It doesn’t matter how credible you are if you are talking to yourself.
Use original ones, and put them in the order that will catch people off guard.Language is one of the best ways you have to differentiate yourself: if your home page says the same thing as a competitor, that is on you.
Don’t try to be everything to everyone. You will end up being nothing to anyone. Identify an audience and block out everyone else. Capitalism doesn’t allow for anything but that. The world is too competitive. Figure out what you are, and be that. This is what it means to be authentic - and authenticity is the new integrity.
Timing almost trumps everything else.
If you are trying to get into new conversations - versus talking about trying, but not really trying - you need to respond to engagement within minutes. If a prospect reads something, clicks on something, opens something, or watches something, you need to respond with a personalized note within minutes. Yes, this creeps out one in twenty people. However, are you focused on the one or are you focused on the nineteen other people? My advice, focus on the nineteen.
Don’t assume that people care enough about that you to “try” to absorb the information you send them. This is why video is important. It allows someone to sit there with their mouth open and absorb information. Yes, it has reached the point where even reading is painful.
Why am I writing? Simply, there is no one rule. Modern marketing requires an adaptability that is truly hard to comprehend. Yes, you need to anchor your brand and message to something, however, outside of that there are no rules. The most successful marketing campaign in our industry (financial services) this year was a statue of a “fearless girl” staring down Wall Street’s charging bull. Who saw that coming?
By Kyle Dunn