Content Marketing World is to marketing trade shows what Metallica is to a rock band. The movers, the shakers, the sales record breakers— they all converge on this annual event as a sort of instinctual pilgrimage to refuel themselves with marketing knowledge and to get a heads-up on what’s coming down the pipe. If you’re in marketing, you want to be here.
This year’s convention was a whirlwind of energy emanating from some of the most knowledgeable speakers and marketing geniuses in the industry. I spent my time doing my best impression of a sea sponge, soaking in all the Awesome and Hell Yeah that I could. I was shaking hands, making friends, starting relationships— you know, a typical day in the Life of Brian.
Here’s just a sampling of what I feasted on at this marketing smorgasbord.
It’s Not You, It’s Your Execution
Sometimes the best advice comes in the form of a criticism. Such was the case when I heard from more than one attendee that their marketing approach was, for the most part, “okay” but other items were not. I asked them what parts were sub par, and they singled out their plan and their execution.
Always Be Executing
Planning is wonderful. Planning is necessary. But planning is not the end of the trail, pardner. Simply saddling up to team of planners is like making a grocery list, going to the store, and staring at the produce. Doesn’t make much sense to make a list, much less travel to the store, if your aim isn’t to purchase the items you’ve deemed to be needed, does it? Of course not. You have to execute your plan to make your efforts worthwhile.
Just Put It Off For Another Week
Would you buy athletic apparel from a company that incorporated that as their slogan? If you would, I’d like to talk to you about some discounted tickets I have to the Winter Olympics to be held in Houston in 2022. By now, everyone and their pet rock knows who is behind the tagline “Just do it,” three words that have become such a part of our lexicon that it is impossible not to have visions of the famous ‘Swoosh’ logo in your head when you see/hear it. Your marketing plan should pay attention to these three words. Don’t get caught up in lamenting a lack of resources or a plan or an endgame. Just get off your ass, start chugging along, and see where your efforts take you. You know more about what you want and how to get there than you think you do. Trust me. And if you spend too much time planning, chances are you’ll never leave the starting gate.
It’s Story Time
Remember when you were a kid and reading for fun was better than reading for a test? Think of your marketing in the same way. Make your marketing a “Choose Your Own Adventure” that will keep your audience coming back to find out what happens next. Give your brand a back story. Give it a face, a name, likes/dislikes— make it something that others will feel an emotional bond with. Too many brands are vomiting out material that only help their targets pass some imaginary test. Their marketing feels more like a necessary evil than something you would ever give even the slightest crap about. Give your audience a means to form their own mental movie, and watch the results swing your way.
A Penny For Your Thoughts
Unless you’re a shrink, your customers don’t need a steady flow of advice from you. To me, that conduit is sterile and boring. I hate antiseptic, hospital-esque relationships. The tide has turned toward the shores of interpersonal relationships between brand and consumer. Consumers want a brand they believe in, one that they know what to expect when they utilize it. They want to feel a part of its evolution and of its success. They want to KNOW your brand. So what do you do to slake this thirst? Pour them tall glasses of experiences. Serve them stories and observations in both your fine crystal and your plastic iced tea cups. Provide case studies of others’ experiences with your brand. Talk TO your audience, not AT them.
Puttin’ On The Ritz
Recently, I sent out a tweet while flying from New York to Cleveland expressing my looking forward to a pleasant stay at the Ritz-Carlton in the latter city. Without a hint of seriousness, I mentioned that it would be awesome to have a cold orange Sunkist waiting for me in my room. Well, when I arrived in my home away from home at the Ritz, there wasn’t an orange Sunkist.
There were FOUR orange Sunkists, on ice and beggin’ me to imbibe. Turns out my tweet from 30,000 feet ended up in a corporate executive’s lap, and they notified the Cleveland Ritz about it, since the latter did not have their own Twitter account. (You better believe they do now.) To say I was pleased is putting it mildly. The Ritz-Carlton NAILED engagement, and I was lucky enough to witness it firsthand.
Tweet Your Tweets On Twitter And Show Your Face On Facebook
Social media is the greatest thing to happen to marketing since the internet. Never before has it been so easy to communicate with consumers, whether it be informing them of an offer, alert them to a new product, or to just keep in touch. Hell, start conversations with people. Get to know them, and have them get to know you. Remember, it’s about RELATIONSHIPS now so if you’re not engaging your audience in a dialogue, you’re enjoying my backside as we sprint toward to the marketing success finish line.