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Advertising is different, not dead…

For the last five or so years, we’ve heard many marketing, advertising and business gurus talking about the death of marketing and advertising. Bullshit, to put it bluntly. Why? Because Coca-Cola and Proctor & Gamble are still going at it, and we don’t believe their finance departments would finance a lost cause. 

However, something has in fact changed. The way we engage with consumers has changed. The methods we use have changed. The approach to advertising as changed. But advertising is still very much alive, kicking and screaming like a naughty kid being dragged to shower after playing in mud. You just have to know how… which is where we come in. 

The cost of advertising has dropped dramatically with the advent of Facebook advertising. Goodbye Google Ads, hello Newsfeed Ads. This meant that every Tom, Dick, Harry & Co. have jumped on Facebook and advertised as well; some successfully, others, not so much. Pair that with the usual noise of social media and it means that we have to get creative with getting attention. We explained how attention works in our article “You’ve Got 3 Seconds”. 

Let’s break down how this whole thing works… 

Brand awareness

With advertising on social media being as cheap as chips, we should be focusing some of our efforts on brand awareness. Yes, good old brand awareness campaigns are still quite effective, and can be even better when they promote engagement. You see, if no one knows about your business, you’re pretty much stuffed. So, you need to tell people you exist, remind them every day in small pulses and then, they might just remember you when they need a product or service you sell. 

This is why the engagement part is important. When someone engages with you, they are much more likely to remember you than if they just see your content and scroll past. What you also need to remember is that your competitors also know this, so it doesn’t matter if you believe in it or not, your competitors do and they will have the upper hand. So, couple your brand awareness with some engagement and you’ve accomplished the first step in this world of chaos marketing while getting ahead of your competition. 

Copy, copy and more copy! 

Yes, with sparkly designs comes compelling copy. But not in the way you’re thinking. While we love a good spicy headline on social media, we’re talking about writing something meaningful that people in general, who are your consumers (unless you’re a super niche business), will want to read and perhaps even share. This article (we hope LOL!) is an example of this meaningful content; we’ve made it engaging, easy to read, and brutally honest as standard.

Now more than ever, it’s key to get your consumers onto your website… providing your website is top notch (if not, we can fix this for you). Having them there allows you to see what they are interested in, and gauge where your target market in general is. It’s a good way to keep consumers engaged on a platform of your own design. People who are genuinely interested will read your content, and the people who aren’t, won’t. This is almost like an instant filter process. 

Social media analytical data shows us all the data that print didn’t, and so often it’s scary. We’ve heard statements like, “But 150,000 people saw this ad and no one clicked on the offer button! This isn’t working!”. Well, it is working, but unlike in the past, when someone breezed past your ad in a newspaper and didn’t bother calling your office or visiting your shop, you can see the people who are seeing and not clicking, and the ones who are clicking… That data is so important, but many business owners and managers forget that. Now we can hone into those who act, and not just keep advertising in the same old newspaper with no idea of who’s acting on the CTAs. 

Jump on the bandwagon… Join a cause! 

Okay, yes it sounds a little gimmicky, but this is proven to actually work, and it’s something that’s completely out of TILT’s remit so we don’t benefit directly from saying this (just a disclaimer – you never know who’s reading these days!). But yes, joining a cause is something that resonates with people. Rallying your company’s staff and resources to help a local charity or build a community centre gives you brand equity like nothing else, only if it’s genuine. You’ve got to be committed to genuinely helping your community for this to work. People can see through bullshit. 

Find a way that your product or service can help, and keep rolling with it. An example of relevant sponsored work is the BKA’s website and brand sponsored by TILT as bird keeping is a personal interest of the MD’s. It’s meaningful to her, relevant to her line of work, and it’s a genuine sponsorship. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but for it to be effective in terms of impact, it should be public. Charity runs, sponsorships, company-run fundraisers and events are all examples of where this can work. Pick something, get stuck in, and make it a part of your business. 

Let’s get a little… human… 

Companies are made of people, run by people and people (consumers) can make or break them. But so many companies are devoid of any human existence in their branding and marketing. You know what I’m talking about – the websites without a single actual photo of any of the people working there… or at least representatives (like TILT’s zoo), or worse, only obvious stock photography that we’ve seen 200 times before. 

This is a very deep topic that we can write about until we’re dust, but by making your brand a little more human and not clinically sterile, you instantly earn +20 trust points. Granted, some industries call for sterility, but many don’t. It’s not for fear of being in the public eye anymore because virtually everyone in the working world has a Linkedin account. It’s just plain old lazy now. And on many levels, that’s really unacceptable. 

Add some personality, flair and human flaws to your marketing so they go from something the ad agency created to something that individual consumer could relate to. 

What does any of this have to do with advertising? 

Well, advertising is the budgeted promotion of content, and everything above is about creating content that will resonate, which will increase the efficacy of the advertising. Content comes first, then you put money behind it. The consumers interact with it if it’s effective, and perhaps become a customer one day. That’s how it works now. It’s no longer about build it and they will come. We have to go to them and make a compelling case. Business is about selling directly to informed, clued-up and skeptical consumers now, and it’s much harder than 50 years ago. So make sure your content is top notch. 

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