According to a recent survey sourced in Ad Age, 75 percent of marketers said that content should frequently mention products and services, yet 60 percent of their audience turns down salesy content.
This is the true rubber-meets-road moment in marketing, IMHO. Here’s my general take:
- Marketing needs to evolve as a source of product
- We need to stop worshipping at “The Temple Of Big Numbers”
My two cents, just from places I’ve worked: a lot of times at jobs, people get promoted because of their ability to make money. This is only logical: if you’re considering a job for someone that might pay them $120K, it’s hard to justify giving that job to that person if they only generate $80K (that’s essentially a $200K loss every five years for the company). Because of this promotion model, you don’t always see “tried-and-true marketers” get promoted up to SVP/CMO jobs; for better or worse, the ROI of standard marketing is still hard to prove. (Think about it: you spend $75K on an advertisement, right? Great brand awareness but who’s to say that led someone to buy your wares, right?) You often see sales, ad guys, TV people, or ex-newspaper people with “oodles of experience” becoming top dogs in marketing. I’ve worked for 5-6 of these people in my life.
If you come from a background that’s more about sales and ads and margins and bottom-line dollars, then your natural inclination is to up-sell product and service when you author a piece of content. Problem is: the next generation with spending power? They’ve had ads everywhere their whole life. You think they don’t realize how to ignore it? They do.
I was actually watching the 2014 report “Generation Like” from Frontline yesterday:
(That’s not the full episode; it’s a snippet.)
If you think about these “new generation media superstars” — Vine, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, etc. — a lot of the reason they gain a following is because what they do seems authentic, or at the very least humorous or slightly different. This works in tons of industries: for example, your restaurant can look like crap, so long as it feels “authentic.”
In an era where the power of “brand” is declining and the power of customer service/interaction points is increasing, it seems our content should be a lot more focused on authenticity and our real story, as opposed to shoving a sales message down the throat of a potential consumer. Human beings are social animals and ultimately respond to connections and how a product or service will make them better, not some carefully-calibrated message from an ad sales team.