As marketers, we talk a lot about marketing. And for the most part, it is to help our clients unlock their marketing potential, increase sales, strengthen the brand and grow. But do we get carried away in our own products and packaging? This article talks about why nobody cares about marketing.
5 minutes required reading time
By Tim Cooke / Growth Marketing Manager
As a young child, my mother worked as a professional artist and gallery owner in Queensland. She’d host artists from all over and I’d attend every exhibition opening. I watched all of the exhibitors talk about their passions, inspirations, their ideas and the emotions that came about. They even talked about the future, their next exhibition, the weather even.
The thing is, they never talked about the work itself.
They’d talk about what they planned or where it came from but never about the painting or the sculpture they were trying to sell. And even as a kid, I remember thinking, when are these guys just going to talk about the art?! The physical thing right in front of us.
Cut to adulthood and I have developed a decade’s worth of content (both creative and commercial) and digital marketing experience. And I hear a lot of Marketers talk about the future and the past.
They can use techniques and jargon to package a product, adding the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) as well as the solution to all your marketing woes. And I can’t help but think, hell, marketers can talk a lot and say very little. They talk about the theory and the strategy but rarely focus on the implementation.
And that’s the problem…
Marketers can get caught up in the idea of a thing and become an idealist, rather than an implementer. The old adage that talk is cheap, springs to mind. The newer adage, that marketers are full of shit, seems more prescient.
I’m not saying all marketers are this way. In fact, there is a strong majority that works in the here and now, focused only on delivering results. For the record, I’m not here to put down an entire industry and burn the bridges that make my bacon. The intent of this informal article is to talk about how easy it is to fall into traps as a marketer and how easy it is for our clients to fall into that very same snare. Well, that and to confront the truth that nobody, really, gives a fuck about marketing.
So, let’s talk about some of the pitfalls marketers fall into.
Adopting and Repackaging
The technical terms marketers use are primarily developed for and used by, marketers.
Nu-wave marketing (I just made that up and I bet you it exists).
At Adaptify, we use the term adaptive marketing. This is our way of saying that we work in a timely, strategic, reactive and omni-channel way. At the end of the day, all it is, is a term we use, for ourselves. We will never sell you the adaptive marketing package. Nor would the adaptive marketing package be a good package to sell. Why? Because it’s vague. The space between what we see Adaptive marketing to be and what you think it is might be very different.
But many digital agencies are often fighting to stand out against a sea of other marketers.
The competition is fierce, the technology ever-changing, so staying in front means being a digital pioneer, the spear tip of marketing.
What happens (more often than not) is that marketers adopt what other marketers are doing. Then they repackage these older products with new terms.
It is digitally reinventing the wheel to be the coolest cat, the best in digital marketing.
What’s worse is that this is effective. Marketing companies that have done something incredibly well for years are being outflanked by digital pop-up agencies that slap paint over an existing product and call it their own.
Often this leads to lesser experienced companies burning bridges with clients, unable to achieve the product’s goals, and this bad experience makes clients less likely to go with another more professional digital agency.
On a more nuanced level, this can also lead to disparity between client expectations and marketer results. Because the repackaging is designed for promotional reasons and promoted as something that no one else is doing.
The idea that people are being given the inside track to success is a by-product of good marketing. But not if it is irresponsibly delivering false expectations or worse an outright lie.
The vertical: believing one size fits all
Digital marketing agencies get clients by proving results. If you can prove that you are good at what you do, you instil confidence. If you prove that you are good at a first date, you are more than likely to get a second, and a third.
All agencies find trends in industry verticals. Carpet cleaners, as an example, might find social media an effective means of advertising. And, when you have proven that advertising on social media works for carpet cleaners, you may get more than one carpet cleaning company as a client.
What’s the problem?
If it works, nothing. But three consequences arise for digital marketers which can have a ripple effect on the clients.
The first being cross-contamination. Negatively impacting one client by marketing another in exactly the same way.
The second is a disconnection from the Unique Selling Point (USP) of clients within that vertical.
And that leads us to the third. A lack of identity, making one client indistinguishable from another for potential customers.
It is important for marketers to always, ALWAYS, understand the USP of their clients. Because the USP has a direct correlation to the customers of those clients.
If a carpet cleaner is highly praised for great yet colloquial customer service, testimonials might be an effective marketing tool, especially on social media.
Just because one method works, doesn’t mean it should be applied to all situations.
Marketing to Marketers
This one is a trap that all marketers fall into at one time or another. But Marketers forgetting their audience is like a locksmith welding a door shut.
If Marketers develop products and practices that only other marketers understand or appreciate, this defeats the purpose of marketing from the very foundations.
Of course, marketers like to stay on top of the latest trends and products. But remember, nobody gives a fuck about marketing. People care about results and (hopefully they care about) the ethics with which those results are achieved.
The terms and jargon have their place, which is to define to the client, what something is or how it will be approached. It is not the ancient language of homo digitalus marketus.
But one must concede that it is an easy trap to fall into. We marketers work at a fast pace, and we need to talk about complex and faceted issues quickly and succinctly. Our digital marketing lexicon becomes our native tongue.
The foundations of great marketing come down to empathy and understanding. Which is a two-way street? Even if it takes a little more time, it is important to discuss marketing with the people who need it and not just the people who use it.
Let’s be clear
The argument is not that we should hate marketing, marketers or digital agencies. Quite the opposite.
The ability to help other people and businesses achieve their goals is a constant source of fulfilment in my professional career, as with many I have previously and do currently work with. Marketing can allow for immense creativity, commercial and community growth.
But true digital marketing agencies and their marketers are all about partnership, not pretense.
Which brings us to-
Partnering with Digital Marketing Agencies
If you are partnering with a Digital Marketing Agency there is a good chance you are not interested in marketing. You are interested in the results that marketing brings.
In my experience, people who partner with digital agencies are interested in one of three or a combination of three things. That is leads, brand or something technical.
“We make you want you” -Marketer talking about Leads.
Nine times out of ten, when people want leads it is transactional.
The remainder are looking for community outreach or to educate. Now I classify this as leads as well because you are looking for the people who you want to engage or educate (i.e. you are looking for leads to be engaged or educated).
But whether they are selling a product, a service, information or community outreach, they want to increase their leads.
The why may vary.
It could be for business growth or to warn people about the dangers of Aluminium foil in the microwave. Leads is about reaching people.
Marketing is about reaching the people that will listen.
“We make you look good” -Marketer talking about Brand.
Marketers either love or hate working with Brand.
The rules are solid. Which means that there are limitations to marketing possibilities (creatively speaking).
But some marketers find it better to work to a tight brief than a loose one.
And sometimes the best creativity can often come out of limitations.
However. A lot of people say they want to promote their brand when really they just want leads.
The difference is, that those who want Brand often feel secure enough in their business to pursue originality or unique sense of consistent brand identity.
“We make it work” -Marketer talking about something technical that he will force the technician to figure out later.
This is for the businesses who identify a way of making their business more efficient. A website for e-commerce. Something that creates a better customer experience.
Connecting their marketing data to their sales data. Connecting their online marketing to their inventory or POS retail systems. API, CRM or Plugin integrations are a common request.
Now, why are we talking about this…
It’s simple really. Marketing answers these three statements…
- I want more people to find us.
- I want more people to see us.
- I want to quickly use the data people give us.
And it all comes down to one thing really…
I want them to choose this.
With the exception marketers or the ethical, moral or legal grounds, nobody really cares about the marketing techniques used to achieve this goal.
If it works and is done ethically, nobody cares. Sometimes they don’t even care about the ethics but that is another article/angry rant.
We should always be open and honest in our conversations regarding marketing.
And while we can get caught up in the artistry of it all, it is important to remember the purpose behind everything we do. That the true art of marketing lies solely in the results.
Want to talk to the team who actually care about marketing.
We aim for results. Come and have a coffee with the team at Adaptify to discuss your project or campaign. Call 1300 423 566 or get in touch with us here.