We live in strange times in the land of marketing. My inbox is replenished daily by a stream of snake oil salesmen trying to sell me the next can’t fail marketing trick. Or equally often a seminar at which you can hear someone talking about it at vast expense. Some of the sub-Brentian marketing speak has to be seen to be believed. Only this week I was exhorted to try ‘socialising the enterprise’ but usually the focus is on conversations with customers, reinventing the consumer/manufacturer relationship, working out a new dynamic where the brand creates a relationship with the customer rather than, heaven forbid, actually sells to them. Pseud’s corner would have a field day.
Somehow the advent of the internet and social media has made many marketeers take leave of their collective senses or at least allowed them to entertain the gobbledygook being served up. The internet and all things on it are an essential new suite of marketing tools, able to reach people faster and with better targeting than ever before. But people haven’t suddenly changed. They don’t want a relationship with their soap powder. They want one that does the job at the best price. Nor do they want to want to love their energy supplier like they love John Lewis as SSE’s CEO recently aspired to. They want a reliable product, a fair, transparent price and a call centre that solves their problems quickly and efficiently.
Too much energy is being expended on thinking up ever more convoluted ways of expressing the relatively simple notion of selling a product to people and too little on creating relevant, engaging selling ideas for the brand. Too often all the marketing claptrap results in nothing more than setting up a chummy Facebook site or wince-inducing twitter feed. Whereas the focus should be on presenting your product in the most informative, creative and engaging way.
Bribing people to like your Facebook page might make you look good but it won’t increase your sales alone. Nor will filling it with irrelevant creative content. There is a current lazy trend of commissioning/using someone else’s funny idea then slapping your brand name on it. I suspect people don’t feel grateful to brands for bringing them entertainment, assuming they can remember which brand it was that delivered the content. Watching teenagers use the internet it’s clear they don’t want their content branded – they like things to be anarchic, self-discovered, democratic and random.
So let’s ditch all the weird jargon and get your agency’s copywriters and designers to do what they are best at: presenting your product’s strengths in the most engaging, informative, witty and eye-catching way possible. Sometimes that might use humour, sometimes it might require hard-hitting facts but let it always be relevant.
Marketeers should stick to what they’re good at – selling to their customers, where at least the relationship is an honest one. Use your copywriters and designers to create relevant, witty, selling content and you’ll find, whatever the medium, digital or traditional, you will get a far more tangible result. Check out the new monster.co.uk TV ad. It hasn’t socialized the client’s enterprise, but it is funny, immediate and relevant.