Imagine what it would be like if we lived in world where smiles were the currency. Marketer’s would be broke, and its true – we suck. For the last fifty years we’ve done a lot of talking, and naturally people have stopped listening. Seth Godin will tell you something about this in all twelve of his best seller’s, but I like this line in particular from his blog post:
“Ideas spread from person to person, not so much from you to them. So find your biggest fans and give them a story to tell.”
Storytelling isn’t exactly what comes to mind when you think about advertising, and that’s a problem. It’s one of many tools that marketer’s should have in their toolbox, and yet it’s nearly unheard of amidst agency chatter. Essentially advertising is lame. It’s discourse is centered around things like the best deal in town, and the please take me off your list. It’s the reason we have pop-up blockers, spam folders, and it’s almost always the most annoying part of every company. When the day comes, and you really have a story or an idea worth spreading, who’s going to listen?
We have shoved things in front of your face at supermarkets, sprayed you with awful perfume, dressed up in customs, worn signs, spun signs, created jingles you cant forget, repeated slogans over and over, destroyed your dial up connection, spammed your email to the point where they had to make something called a “spam folder”, and butchered things that you used to love – feel free to add any other annoyances because I could go on all day.Of course marketers are Seth’s “target audience”, but does he really have to remind us to stop talking at people, and start listening? Absolutely he does. There’s a reason why marketers are so awestruck by these simple takeaways. We are so lost in the traditional, outbound way of doing things that we cant even put the simplest things in to practice, like participating in a conversation instead of conducting an auction. Can you imagine what it would be like to sit down with a stranger over coffee only to have them begin auctioneering at you? The feeling would probably be to leave as quickly as possible, which is what most people do when they feel like they’re being marketed to. Your words wont make since to someone who isn’t listening.
Remember when YouTube didn’t have any ads? It was a simple and beautiful day when I could watch a video about fishing and not see an ad for a new car. The car ad has nothing to do with fishing and for that I pay a little less attention to the car company. The more they spam me, the more influential the feeling becomes. You’ve probably heard this one from Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Forgetting the importance of a simple idea like this can lead to a mistake that you wont be able to bounce back from.
As a rule of thumb in marketing, don’t do things that make people angry. Your business will suffer from a thing called negative ROI. Now think about what that means for a moment… It means that your potential prospects, instead of converting to delighted promoters, will convert to enemies of your brand. People will tell others how much they despise your ads. You’ve lost a promoter, possibly hundreds of thousands of potential promoters, who just wanted to watch a video on Youtube about fishing, when you came in and interrupted them. What could have happened is you could have taken the time to learn about your customer, gained an insider understanding of their pain points, offered a solution, and possibly closed a delighted promoter. Promoters are the people that help grow your business. They’re your biggest asset. Don’t forget that.
Put yourself in front of a device of your choosing. When you click, tap or swipe any object on the internet you do so for a specific reason right? You were told that it would take you somewhere that you wanted to go. A single click is a gift from you to the website owner. That click (gift) should be rewarded with a speedy redirect to the information you want to see, not punished by some cheap outbound trick. Here we made this for you… but first a countdown. If your like me you probably focus all of your attention on that little countdown in the right hand corner that lets you know when you can click “skip”. I’ve learned to love the feeling I get when I’m able to click the “skip” button. I’m certain I’d buy anything that that “skip” company sells. They know what I like, and the’ve made a special skip button just for me.
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