It’s commonly said of advertising that it’s not the message that’s changed but the method. True, television and radio use different techniques to sell a product, but the core message hasn’t changed: “Here’s our product – remember us.”
As a story in The Atlantic pointed out, people who say “I’m not affected by advertising” are fooling themselves. Good advertising doesn’t hit you the way you might expect — with a call to action or a declaration. Good advertising simply sticks in your brain years after the campaign has gone off the air.
As The Atlantic observed, this is a $70 billion industry — ad execs aren’t going to take their craft lightly. Of course, if you want to use some effective internet marketing strategies, you don’t need millions to make your mark or build your brand.
Whether you’re a mom-and-pop shop in a small town using custom coffee mugs and T-shirts to build your brand by loyalty and word of mouth, or a major corporation looking for the perfect print ad or trade show swag, take some advice from marketing experts of the past and present.
Paul Brown, an author and contributor to Forbes, recently wrote a column for the site with selections from a book he authored 25 years ago. In it, Brown had interviewed and picked the brains of some of the biggest names in marketing. Dusted off, they’re still shining examples of smart marketing advice.
1. Roger Enrico, the former chairman and CEO of PepsiCo
“You are always better off having a point of difference in your product, instead of just coming out with a me-too and relying on your merchandising and advertising ability. People in an industry as competitive as ours who say ‘we are better marketers than our competitors that’s why we will win,’ are just fooling themselves.”
Enrico’s point is simple and true — you can’t just produce amazing marketing content, you need to have the product that sets you apart. Me-too companies and their products can ride the wave of a zeitgeist for a short time, but they’ll have no staying power without a differentiating factor. That’s why Pepsi is still able to stand up against the likes of Coca-Cola, after all.
2. Southwestern Bell Telephone Company marketing department
“Fifty isn’t fatal.”
This gem came from this telephone company’s marketing department after it launched The Silver Pages, it’s phone directory designed for folks ages 50 and older. The lesson here is in how Southwestern Bell nailed a niche market that was getting ignored. Not only should you know your product or service demographic, but you need to break it down further into sub-demographics. The more niche your advertising becomes, the more effective your message can be. And you may discover untapped potential in an often overlooked corner of the market.
3. J. Jeffrey Campbell, former Burger King CEO
“In corporate America, we are our own worst enemy, and bureaucracy is the tendency of the age. The bigger you get, the more insulated you tend to become and the less likely it is that you are ever going to see a customer. And our excuses for this are pretty lame. We are very busy. We have to go to meetings. Have to read the numbers. And, in doing so, you lose touch with the marketplace.”
Campbell’s point is one that’s repeated by several marketing gurus in the excerpts from Brown’s book. It can sound a bit hokey, but Campbell is right: Lose touch with the customer and you lose touch with your marketing. To return to The Atlantic’s observation, customers may not think they’re being influenced by your ads, but they are — so long as you understand the marketplace and know how to work it.
Not surprisingly, most of today’s marketing experts are as focused on social media than older forms of marketing — if not more so. The Content Marketing Institute collected the musings of a few modern masters on social media marketing today.
1. Andrew Davis, author of “Brandscaping”
Davis came up with a concept called Social Media 4-1-1, a sharing system which provides a simple equation for gaining visibility on social media. According to Davis, for every six pieces of content you share via a social media platform:
The numbers can change, but the philosophy behind this form of sharing should remain consistent. It gets you noticed and makes your influencers thankful and more likely to share your content in return.
2. Jay Baer, author of “Youtility”
“If you’re creating content that’s interesting, useful, and helpful, your customers and prospects will do more of your marketing for you, helping your company work less arduously and expensively on interruption marketing in its various guises.”
As The Content Marketing Institute put it: Social media is just the gasoline — content is the actual fire. You can improve your marketing workflow and help spread your brand by encouraging sharing on social media, but your rate of success will be a lot higher if the content itself is stellar, exciting and viral in nature. The best way to do that, according to the news source, is by telling great stories and solving consumer pain points.
3. Jason Calacanis, serial entrepreneur
The Content Marketing Institute cited Calacanis recipe for what he considers the perfect content product. It’s defined by these five characteristics: real-time, fact-driven, visual, efficient and curated. As the news source pointed out, if you look at the world’s most popular websites, each hits these five criteria and often excels in most of them. Use them as examples to market by.