The state of advertising and marketing today seems to have changed tremendously over the last 2o years with the addition of so many different tools, technologies, and platforms to choose from that you’d be excused for thinking we are in some sort of marketing heyday.
Strangely enough, despite all of this additional capability, the effectiveness of our marketing and advertising has gotten less and less effective, in most instances.
There are a number of reasons for this:
- We have access to more and more information than ever before. Which means that for anything to cut through the clutter of noise is more difficult than ever before.
- Automation and digitalization of advertising that was meant as a tool to measure and make more effective as really not fulfilled that promise. In many cases, automation and digitalization has led to ads being misplaced or placed in mass, not with precision.
- Possibly the biggest reason has been a move to analyze and use data to such a point that most of the ads that are run feel generic, sterile, or out of touch with humanity. A lack of overall humanity in marketing that mirrors our culture at large.
While this isn’t a comprehensive list, I think you can see a few patterns and alarming trends:
- We need more humanity and connection from our advertising.
- We get inundated with so many choices that we get really good at how to deliver ads, but we are often at a loss to explain why our ads are important or meaningful.
- More just isn’t the answer.
The thing is that the crush of ads and noise that surrounds us isn’t likely to go anywhere anytime soon.
The pandora’s box of ads everywhere and with everything isn’t going to shut itself.
That’s really just a long-winded way for me to say that the mass effectiveness of our ads isn’t going to improve anytime soon.
That’s only going to accelerate the biggest issue driving the lack of effectiveness in our advertising today. That’s the idea that despite what we think of our product or service, in most cases no one knows about us and, more importantly, no one care.
For a lot of people, this is going to come as a shock because we have been bred on the idea that “build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.”
That was never true. Look at Tesla and Edison. Telsa’s invention of alternating current electricity is one of the foundations of the modern power grid, but Edison is much more famous for his direct current invention even if DC power is less efficient.
The truth is that as the noise and sheer amount of advertising continue to pound away at our senses, your ability to break through is going to be made more difficult.
What is someone to do if competing on mass and noise doesn’t work?
Each organization is going to need to come up with a formula to cut through the clutter. Each solution will likely be unique, but here are some guideposts that will enable you to think through the challenge more effectively.
Is Your Product Outstanding?
This is one of the big challenges of modern times. Any quick view through the businesses of Silicon Valley will show you far too many products and services that are just solutions in search of a problem.
Living in Washington, DC, I see the impact of the federal government on the way that everyone in DC sells and markets their products: as an apple in an apple world. No consideration made for unique value or differentiation.
The quickest way to cut through the noise is to be outstanding at what you do.
By outstanding, I don’t mean just being good. You need to be attention worthy.
You can achieve this a number of ways:
- Be first to market.
- Be the best in the market.
- Be unique in the market.
Whatever path you choose, the solution is to be able to stand out as an outlier in comparison with others.
To use myself as an example, I have created an environment where I am competing with myself in most instances because I have been able to lay claim to the mantle, “The Revenue Architect.” That focuses most people on generating money!
I like my chances.
Can you do the same?
Is Your Advertising Relevant?
Have you ever watched the Super Bowl?
That’s rhetorical because I’m sure that everyone reading this post has watched the Super Bowl and my bet would be that one of the big draws was that you wanted to see the commercials.
The thing about most of those Super Bowl commercials is that they are entirely irrelevant to the success or failure of the businesses are doing the advertising.
Most of the time after the ad has run and you’ve viewed a bunch of other ones, whether or not you remember what company was being advertised is less than a 50/50 bet.
The truth is that most of the time, no one remembers who the advertiser was.
Which simply means that the ads aren’t really relevant to the market that they are being aimed at.
That just adds to the clutter and your inability to cut through.
Don’t be fooled by those fuzzy, meaningless metrics like “likes,” “buzz,” or “engagement.”
All are complete and utter BS.
Any ad you run needs to have some sort of vision of success attached to it and more importantly, it must be relevant to the audience you are trying to reach.
A simple formula for figuring out the relevance of your ads is to answer 3 questions:
- Does this piece show off our unique value?
- Is this ad aimed at the person that can buy from us or influence directly the buying?
- Will this ad reach the person in a way that they are willing to accept the information?
Pretty simple, but often overlooked.
Do You Have Proof And Consistency?
Word of Mouth (WOM) marketing has become a bit of a buzz word. For good reason, because people totally buy things that their peers have had success with or enjoyed.
That makes WOM effective.
To capture WOM you need two things, you need people to have had good experiences and you have to have them willing to share that with other people in similar situations.
Maybe you don’t have the kind of product or service that drives WOM?
You can overcome that obstacle by focusing on consistency and proof.
Consistency just means a track record of success.
You know what this could mean?
Lots of examples of your work? A portfolio? Case studies?
Anything that shows you aren’t just a one-hit wonder or flash in the pan.
The second thing you need is proof.
If you have done a bunch of the above things, you likely have encountered people that are very happy with your work.
They can offer the proof you need.
Testimonials are gold for consultants.
Because there are so many consultants in the world that it can be difficult to figure out which ones are good or bad.
That’s where proof comes into play.
No matter what your product or service, you can get proof through testimonials, reviews, and other forms of positive feedback that hit the public eye.
You don’t have to wait for these things either. You can ask for them. Advocate for them.
Just make sure that you get them.
The key is that mass advertising isn’t going away anytime soon. By the same token, it isn’t likely to get much more effective. Your only hope of cutting through the mess of ads is by being smarter and better, or you can keep sinking your money and time into things that just don’t work. Your choice.