As a marketer, I’ve been programmed to look for useful lessons in all things – you never know where the next great idea will come from to help your clients increase their profit margin. Quite frequently, the best (and quite frankly, fabulous) marketing tips come from the most unusual places, like from former Victoria’s Secret model, Carol Perkins and her company, Harry Barker. This makes sense. We marketers drag a concept into our field and jump on the proverbial bandwagon. It isn’t long before jargon like “SoLoMo” and “Tradigital” become everyday terms used by our clients.
To find the next “hidden gem” idea (new and tried-and-true reminders), you’ll have to look obscurely. In this case, take a look at the world through grey-colored glasses.
Once you get past the mediocre writing and obvious separation of one book into a trilogy to increase sales, there are some true lessons to be garnered from Fifty Shades of Grey. I’m not talking about the how-to’s of all the “props” used on the book or a reintroduction to the Karma Sutra. I’m certainly not recommending you go into a board room, drop the book on the table and announce that this is the source of your FY 2013 marketing plan.
But, take a deeper look. There’s a reason this trilogy has been on the combined Print and E-Book Fiction New York Times Best Sellers List for 18 weeks straight (currently in position 1, 2, and 3).
This book is about as personal as it gets. The lives of the characters are vivid and exposed to the reader – their experiences are about as raw as they possibly can be.
Whenever possible, this is the level of “real” that your brand should achieve with its potential consumers. Customers don’t want to be pitched to. They want an experience. They want to know that your product or service will truthfully fit with their strategy or lifestyle and enhance it in some way. The quickest way to achieve this sense of trust is to be as personal as possible. Don’t hide behind industry jargon and acronyms.
This is especially true on social media, but extends into the traditional realm. We are a culture of instant gratification and rewards. Consumers want to be recognized, and rewarded, for patronizing your business in a world where there are so many options.
When you can, recognize your loyal fans, followers, customers, commenters and bloggers. These are the folks that already like what you are doing. They are the people who will best represent your brand. Engage them through whatever means necessary. Host an exclusive event? Create an exclusive partnership offer with a complimentary business? Build an exclusive club of people who use your services? It doesn’t matter what it is – it just has to be engaging and personal.
So Christian is hot and Ana is cute, but how does this translate into attractive marketing?
Attractive and intuitive marketing with clear call-to-action will always yield better ROI than unappealing and confusing pieces.
When investing dollars into marketing, “it’s good enough” is never a sentence that should be thought of, let alone said. I’ve seen so many marketing pieces, both traditional and digital, that weren’t quite there. Regardless of what number revision the piece is on, if it’s not right, don’t publish. Why waste your marketing budget on something that isn’t going to make you more money by not being productive?
Trying new things (as kinky as they are) is a theme woven heavily into the trilogy. So try new things – in your marketing. If you do what you’ve always done, you’re going to get what you’ve always got. Throw last year’s marketing plan out the window and start from scratch. Ask yourself the hard questions: What worked? What didn’t work? Most importantly, why are we doing this? If the answer is “because we always have,” scrap the idea and try something else. Don’t be afraid to experiment (ahem).
Look at the example of the Dollar Shave Club.com. The company received international YouTube recognition for their out-of-the-box production advertising their new service. The results were impressive: in the first ten days, the company signed up 20,000 subscribers is on target to reach $50 million in sales in its first twelve months.
Be Mindful of Response
So, there is a lot of experimenting going on here. Make sure you read your audience well.
Take the time to study, and I mean really study, your analytics. What are your customers trying to tell you through their actions?
Are they clicking on an exclusive offer and then leaving the page? Try shortening the sign-up form or creating precise messaging about what the offer entails.
If you’re in the middle of a campaign, check your responses daily. If something isn’t working, make a single change and see if there is an improvement toward reaching your marketing goals. That way, you can avoid the sting of a whip from a failed campaign.