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Friday, April 13, 2012

Has Social Taken the Magic out of Marketing?

This past week I watched the season premier of Mad Men. I've been waiting a long time for its return. My fascination with the show is partly due to the smart writing and partly due to the historical depiction (accurate or not) of an era long gone.

Today's advertising people can no more imagine hand-drawn story boards than I can not including social media in a marketing plan. Sadly, things will never revert back that way either.

Advertising and marketing used to be hand and hand; the more creative types went ad agency and the rest of us became marketers. There was a certain amount of magic to what we were doing, trickery if you must. We were convincing people to buy products and services in any way we could. Nowadays, word of mouth has become more valuable than slogans and campaigns and CEOs want to see the analytics behind our efforts. Marketing has become the annoying tag-a-long sibling of sales. A lot of marketers have lost their way and they might as well hang out in the doghouse with the ineffectual journalists.

But for those of us willing to have conversations with our customers (instead of using our old marketing bullhorn); for the bravest of us who are willing to continually be in flux and pursuing new opportunities and learning new things, it can be a very exciting time to be in marketing. It seems infinitely harder in some ways with the analytics and the drip campaigns, the conversations and transparency required. But in many ways, we have it easier too. We can communicate with our customers and potential customers. No more focus groups and what if situations. There's legitimate A/B testing that can help you decide which is the more effective campaign. If you're willing to learn the tools and how to use them,

What do you think? Do you miss the old days of smoke and mirrors or are you happy to embrace this new social cosmos? 

What a Writer Brings to Your Brand

Having a fiction writer (or at least someone who fancies herself/himself as one) is a great boon to your marketing department. The art of storytelling is ingrained in writers. Who better to capture your business' story or mission? We understand tone and don't become overwhelmed when you suggest we blog daily or write an article in ten minutes. We're writers. We write.

My one difficulty in entering marketing has been telling the same story over and over again. Marketers believe in the Rule of Seven that you must bludgeon your prospect with the same marketing message seven times before they act upon it. As a writer, I have no problem sticking with a voice or branding, or even conveying a consistent tone but saying the same thing over and over again in the exact same way can be challenging.

The beauty of social is that this is beginning to change. Content marketing is starting to receive the publicity it needs and is becoming the way marketing is done. (Again a writer would've known you should always write for your audience. Not sure why this is being billed as something new among marketers.) Content marketing has us providing content our audience craves, at the time that they want it, in a form they find palatable, in a way that is easily shared. Marketers are now trying to create magnetic content that will spur their audience to action. Since our audience is mobile and evolving (with many taking to the Interwebs to research products before purchase) it is possible that marketers will slowly move away from the Rule of Seven. After all, consistent messaging and repeating verbatim your same value proposition are not the same.