Dump The Monologue, Pull The Dialogue
Consumers have forever flipped market opportunity upside down and inside out. CMOs, CEOs and their team members inside retail and manufacturer organizations have been aggressively e-tipped, e-shaken and socially stirred throughout America's business world. In our socially charged internet economy, traditional push advertising is expensive and mostly ineffective and for many consumers simply irrelevant. Pushed brands and products become an unintended, uninvited distraction to internet savvy consumers if not smartly gathered and relevantly engaged through socially preferred networks and mindsets. Push advertising can no longer stand alone and can no longer effectively make or take a market as a solitary art form.
Push advertising is more than just consumer ineffective, it is financially disabling for any brand who cannot pinpoint their best buying audience at a place and time they are most willing to engage and to buy. Pushing is wasting time, investments and opportunity. Pulling is saving time, profitably investing and hoarding market opportunity for your brand, for your company. The most effective and profitable consumer pull is either in congress with social engagements or at the last three feet of the sale in the brick or cloud retail aisle. The most effective and profitable marketing abates push monologues, creates socially engaged pull dialogues.
Consumers have changed. Methodologies to draw, mature and profit consumer traffic, preference and buying habits have also changed. During this mammoth global and local historical change consumers are righteously and gainfully content engaged, content spoiled. They have individually and collectively united as content publishers while simultaneously becoming “search engine addicts." They trust their social environments, have limited time for push distractions as they e-hunt and e-pull across varying pieces of glowing glass. Consumers today hunt and pull content, information and knowledge which is most relevant, engaging and valuable to them: not to you. The point? Well actually, there are two points.
The first point is: I am willing to bet you cannot remember one pushed TV, radio or internet commercial from last night, let alone the day before yesterday. The only exception is remembering perhaps a Geico Insurance ad (because of the hundreds of millions of dollars they spend) and perhaps other insurance companies trying to draft to Geico's north wind sails. Why don’t you remember the ads? Mostly because the ads are not relevant to you. The ads do not deliver the dignity of product knowledge (features, advantages and benefits) you crave as a potential shopper. Instead, the ads are metaphoric and attempt to be comical leaving savvy consumers frustrated, disappointed and confused.
Hence, “flip, flip and goodbye” through the remote control, through the mouse. In a world where the majority of intelligent shoppers have a multitude of smart glowing information boxes at their finger tips, it continues to amaze me that ad agencies create 30 second nonsensical TV and internet commercials that generally offer 24 seconds of nonsensical metaphors leaving only 6 seconds to reveal the product. So broken, so useless, so completely the opposite of how consumers think, shop and engage. Waste of time, money and resources let alone winding up with the largest museum of failed products with this old school method of monologue brand and product pushing.
The second point is that evolution is revolution for those who want it, for those who recognize it.The history of marketing communications has been for 60 years about pushing messages to convince consumers to take action. Today, in order to have consumers lean in to build market opportunity for your brand you must recast your push methods, your strategy and tactics to the new consumer order-of-engagement methodology. You need to move from expensive and wide push monologues to narrow,and relevant pull dialogues. Less expensive, yes. Much harder to focus on yet much more valuable when accomplished, yes. We are in a critical inflection point in our businesses evolutionary path, with consumers wrestling away power and control from the camps of traditional marketing wisdom. Today, the consumer is the great socially enabled message gate keeper and editorial brand pylon not the aggressive ad agency pushing old school, expensive and metaphoric advertising. Today it’s all about pull engagements, not sluggish and ineffective push derangements to make or take a market.
Publishers know this and know this well. I was both fortunate and honored to be a Publisher with the Ziff Davis Publishing company for nearly ten years. I learned and earned from the very best, most innovative, creative and intelligent publishing leaders in the consumer and tech industry. We collectively understood and promulgated four pillars of successful “new school” publishing. We knew and understood these same pillars also worked successfully for product marketers seeking to make or take a market:
1. Absolute pinpoint relevancy in communications to the audience you seek, to the audience you serve, to the audience who will willfully, gleefully and socially amplify your message and proposition.
2. Core down and heavy up your marketing investment and messaging resources on your very best, most relevant and active opportunities (buyers) first and foremost.
3. Deliver relevant and highly valuable content, not metaphoric pap, to those who have the will, the need and the means to take action for themselves and others.
4. Understand your potential buyers by acting, selling and marketing like a Publisher. Publishers start with a content strategy designed to target a particular buying audience. They ask “who are my readers, how do I reach them, what are their motivations, what are their content-informational needs, how can I help them, how can I better serve them then my competition? They ask and deliver on “what products, content and packaging will compel them to purchase my product, my brand?”
The old school of interruptive, monologue push advertising and marketing entailed purchasing expensive, hard to measure and quantify metaphoric advertisements. Our new school of highly relevant social marketing dialogues recognizes consumers want authenticity, not spin. They want peer participation, not ad propaganda. They want and frankly demand on time communications from you (right time, right place and right product) not irrelevant, metaphoric product interruptions. They want engagement and dialogue, not monologues across broad market push.
Advertising and marketing is not supposed to be about ad agencies winning awards. Rather it is about your company winning business, gaining competitive advantage. Engagement marketing, make that socially engineered dialogue marketing is made up of consumer generated blogs, chat rooms, social engagements, consumer reviews, editorial reviews and relevant friend facts; not metaphoric fiction.
Dialogue and engagement drives results, drives sales. Clearly in our very open, time-shifting, multichannel, web centric, hyper changing, short product and pricing cycles, relevant social engagements and open dialogue environments work dramatically better than intrusive push marketing. Market leaders know: “dump the monologue and pull the dialogue to super-fuel short and long term market opportunity.”
Peter Weedfald is President of Gen One Ventures and author of Green Reign Leadership
Related story: You Can’t Push Us Around Anymore