What does that tell us? Both the idea and the way it is distributed matter! What we are talking about here, quite simply, are the three golden rules of effective marketing communications: meaning, creativity and relevance.
Since audiences now have more control over the messages that they would prefer to receive, it is important to make the communication meaningful. However meaningfulness does not mean the message needs to be comprehensive. On the contrary, it has to be concise with simple points focused on benefits. Don't lecture consumers about the features of your products or services; tell your prospects how these features will benefit them. Put the focus on your consumers instead of on your company. If you are a cell phone company, for example, share with your customers how your cell phone service can better connect them with their friends, families and clients rather than the technical features of your cell towers. 4G only matters because your customers will get the data they want more quickly and can share that data more efficiently.
"Creativity will be an increasingly essential business tool."--Juicing the Orange
Why do we prefer to sit and watch a Coke commercial but get up to make a sandwich or go to the bathroom during other advertisements on TV? Why do we go online to search for an Old Spice video on YouTube, while spending extra money to skip advertisements with a DVR or subscription to a web page? Because they are creative! Creativity adds flavor to everyone's life. Not to say that creativity alone sells, but that creativity has to speak to audience motivations.
"Going viral" is the holy grail of modern marketing. Getting something out there that blurs the line between advertisement and entertainment is key. Once achieved the audience grows on its own. This tact does come with its own hazards however.
Creativity can lend itself to self-indulgence, "art for art's sake". Worse yet it can be seen as a blatant attempt at social/pop culture relevance and create contempt in the audience who may feel condescended to or insulted. This is a method that requires a greater investment in creative vs media spend than other methods and the rewards can be astronomical, just ask the Old Spice guy. At the end of the day though keeping a message relevant to your audience couched in entertainment is your best bet.
The biggest challenge that most companies and advertising agencies face nowadays is that technology is threatening to make messages less prominent. When a message is less prominent you must rely on the audience sifting through and choosing to listen to what you are pitching. You can do this by creating relevance to what you are saying or you can see where relevance exists and seek a way to integrate yourself into it.
Think about WholeFoods. The core idea is that it is an organic market with a different selection, but the concept they are selling goes beyond that. They convey that there is something inspiring about people's decision to embrace a healthy lifestyle and that buying from WholeFoods translates into a cleaner/greener world. This differentiated message definitely motivates WholeFoods' customers to be more loyal and willing to spend more than other competing supermarkets' customers. Relevance, however, is important not only in the message itself but also the channels that deliver those messages.
A few years ago, Nordstrom shifted its marketing efforts online and away from TV. The reason behind that move is that Nordstrom discovered that busy women shopping the Web wanted more than just product details; they love fashion, but they don't have time to go to the mall. These women didn't wait for an ad to inspire them to go into a store to start looking, they started looking online from home and work all on their own. That's why Nordstrom reformed its online store with music, and a goal of delivering fashion directly to the shoppers' desktop instead of investing in less relevant avenues for this particular audience. They became relevant to the browsing and shopping from home habits of their natural audience.
Improve Your Next Campaign:
If your last marketing communication fell short of the three golden rules you may not have seen the results you wanted. Communications that are meaningful, creative and relevant are more likely to bring in and keep customers during tough times and in the better days ahead.
About FiG Advertising and Marketing:
FiG Advertising + Marketing (Focus Identity Group, LLC) is dedicated to providing affordable, results-driven brand marketing communications and campaigns to businesses just like yours. It is important to communicate and connect with your customers on a level that has more meaning than an impression.