Marketing principles hold constant against the odds of change. Technology is always evolving. For those of us working in the digital realm, this constant evolution has a tendency to make us think that marketing principles always change, too. The truth is, some restricting parameters surrounding marketing principles have never changed. As the platform used for advertising has shifted from print, to radio, to billboards, to TV, to the internet, and now SoMoLo, some key points have remained constant. Here’s a look at some of the marketing principles that will likely always stay the same.
Way back in 1985, Neil Postman wrote about cultural over-saturation in his book, Amusing Ourselves to Death. Postman probably could not have foreseen the scale that the internet would reach over the ensuing decades. Beginning with the advertising craze of the mid-twentieth century, companies have been hitting the public right and left with ads.
In and of itself, advertising is simply a business move. But the more ads presented to a given consumer, the harder it really becomes to gain a conversion from that consumer. The internet is a swirling pool of ads both overt and covert, and the effect can be stifling to marketers.
For this reason, our marketing principles really need to work hard to give relevant meaning and appropriate context in order to retain the attention of our audience. In other words, keep it short and to the point, and dead-set focused on engagement leading to conversion.
People buy a feeling
As the character of Don Draper once explained on AMC’s Mad Men, people do not buy products, they buy feelings. Although it seems otherwise these days, Apple is a company that has mastered this concept. Whenever you purchase a new iPad, you are buying a membership card to an exclusive club of Apple users. Whenever you download some content for that iPad from the iTunes Store or App Store, you pay your dues to wear the club tee shirt. Simply put, the best branding inseparably integrates itself with the consumer’s lifestyle.
The need to create a feeling within the consumer has been in place since the good old days of the television advertising boom, and it is up to us in the marketing world to adapt the principles pioneered way back when on Madison Avenue to the web. Look to the likes of Apple, as well as Facebook (duh, right?), Spotify, and Google for more pointers on creating that oh-my-gosh-gotta-have-it feeling that will translate to your customers.
Here’s a recent impressive oh-my-gosh-gotta-have-it feeling campaign by the WordPress theme company, Optimizepress. You can tell from their video promotions that the theme would make life much more easier for anyone with a WordPress website and has the potential to revolutionize how entrepreneurs build and manage their websites. You can take a look at their recent video here.
Existing customers are pure gold
The money you’ve invested into getting that first-time buyer has already paid off once they have made that purchase. When you follow up correctly and engage that shopper in the right, unobtrusive manner that reminds them why they spent money with you in the first place, your company stands an excellent chance of earning a repeat sale.
The best news is that it is generally less expensive to get a repeat customer. The costly part of the equation is drawing in a new customer. Done right, considerably less expensive methods, like email campaigns, are genuinely effective for gaining repeat customers. The important point is to remember not to leave your existing customers out of your digital marketing budget – in fact, the more you can budget for engaging them, the sweeter the return, in my experience.
Creativity is king
As I stated above, the sea of online ads is vast, and getting the consumer’s attention is the same hurdle it has always been even in other mediums. Being truly creative is the only way to stand out from the crowd. Creativity should not be convoluted. Keep it simple and to the point. The best “advertising” is the advertising that is not too obviously advertising. Subterfuge is a beautiful thing when it comes to digital age solicitations. Whenever the creative elements start to be too complex, step back and solve the problem by searching for a simple, effective way to reach your customers.
Sound marketing principles are sure way to succeed
Planning, meaning strategy, is truly the only way to go to business. The fact may seem obvious to most of us, but sometimes having the right strategy is the real challenge. You need to know who your consumer is in order to profitably connect with them. Likewise, you really have to know who your competition is, noting both their strengths and weaknesses. Information is powerful and building a good digital marketing strategy starts with understanding the external factors that will affect your business.
A digital marketing strategy assess not only the extra-company factors you need to gain a command of, but also factors your company’s budget, and most importantly, meeting business goals. The more effort you put into effectively planning around these concepts, and on-boarding your team with the plan, the better off your marketing efforts will be. This information is Business 101, and it has been a fact of life for marketers since the earliest days of advertising.
Technology is changing rapidly. As marketing professionals scurry to keep up, it is important to keep a frame of reference on the fact that some tried and true marketing principles never change. As the old saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Consumers are more overloaded with media than ever, but they still value a lifestyle that they can buy into. Once they have shopped with you once, it is comparatively simple, yet utterly important, to work to get them to shop with you again.
All of this is made more simple by a fresh dose of pure creativity. Above all, the need to build a solid marketing strategy will never change. So as we forge ahead riding the wave of tech as we come up with new marketing techniques to increase conversion and customer retention, let’s not lose sight of the tried and true basic marketing principles that have built a million businesses before.