Good Friday afternoon, dear readers! And welcome to our favorite part of the week: the part where we sum up some of the most interesting and relevant articles on trends/topics we think you should probably know about.
The theme of this week’s roundup is challenging the status quo; or really, challenging what many of us think we know about marketing. From a campaign meant to defy brand perceptions, to a column written to help us better understanding what “marketing to Millennials” really means (or doesn’t mean), our favorite headlines this week should help you think differently about your business, brand, and message.
If You Want to Build A Brand, Create an Emotional Experience First
The Takeaway: We couldn’t agree more with Inc.com contributor Jeff Barrett (who also happens to be a fellow Grand Rapidian. Woot!). We’re particularly keen on the this definition of branding from Entrepreneur’s Small Business Encyclopedia: “…your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors.”
That’s right – a brand isn’t just the way your business looks on paper, but how people feel and think about your company and the products or services you provide. When a brand delivers an exceptional experience – whether through a marketing piece, an event, their product design, or their support team – it is that experience that will dictate what people will remember about the brand and will guide the way they think and talk about you in the future. The same is true when a brand delivers a bad experience (except the effect is often multiplied). Whether you’re a bank trying to win the trust of Millennials, or a manufacturing company selling to other businesses, always consider the experience (or lack thereof) you’re providing for your customers. Is it an experience they could get from somewhere else with a lower price tag? Can the experience you create provide more value for your audience? Are you delivering on the promises you make in your advertising or marketing?
Audiences: It’s not just ‘who’ — it’s ‘where’ and ‘when’
The Takeaway: As if you didn’t have enough to think about already, right? The point of this article isn’t to overwhelm you, but to share how the age of digital marketing has brought with it more nuance and, as a result, the need to understand our audiences more wholly. Simply put, that means that we must be more and more specific with audience targeting. “Where” and “when” are already decisions you make with every marketing tactic you choose, but the answers have always been related to strategy instead of audience.
An example of applying “when” to your audience is to target an email campaign based on behavior, as opposed to traditional demographics or psychographics. That means you’ll only send to a specific group after they take a certain action, like visiting a product page. It’s as simple as that!
Suave Fooled A Bunch Of Beauty Influencers Into Thinking It Was Luxury Haircare
The Takeaway: Is it okay to say that we’re a little envious of the team at Unilever who dreamt up this campaign? This commercial from Suave is a brilliant example of a brand using research to identify a weakness, committing to a message to combat this weakness, and putting it out there creatively (and effectively) using storytelling. It can feel like an uphill battle to overcome perceptions about your brand, but Suave did it gracefully using real people, a fun bait-and-switch, and an integrated landing page.
Now that we’re done gushing, we’ll issue this challenge: Think critically about your business and brand. What perceptions are your fighting against, whether they’re derived from your industry, your region, or your past? Can you help people see past these perceptions? More importantly, can you do it authentically?
Don’t Call Me a Millennial — I’m an Old Millennial
The Takeaway: Author Jesse Singal’s point about being called a Millennial reflects a big problem in how marketers think about Generation Y (or any generation) as an audience. For one, the term Millennial encompasses anyone born between 1980 and 2000 – a range that includes 37-year-olds with a full-time job and three kids, young twenty-somethings who may or may not be married, and traditional college students (who likely don’t have a job or kids). With that in mind, you might understand why we shudder when someone promises the key to marketing to this very broad, very diverse group.
It’s true; there are certain characteristics many Millennials share, like tech savviness. And we get why a business would want to go after them; after all, they have more spending power than ever before. But it’s also important to look beyond generational lines when you’re segmenting your audience. What specific characteristics might your audience have in common, other than the year they were born? What does their life look like? What behavior makes them a qualified prospect?