The current digital landscape is crowded. I know—understatement of the year! In a world undergoing an exponential digital transformation, you must create deliberately to cut through the cruft and reach your users amongst the barrage of content they face daily. It is a daunting task to put together all of the pieces in a modern marketing strategy. You must try to maintain your Zen-like composure as you walk, chew gum, and try to reach a global audience.
While I may not be able to help you with the walking while chewing gum part…I will do my level best to point out a few pitfalls that you should avoid when you are shining up your marketing plan.
Three Common Marketing Pitfalls
We’ll keep it simple: three common pitfalls and three guiding principles to help you avoid the pitfalls. Sound good?
Pitfall #1: Content Missing Strategy
The first pitfall, where content lacks strategy, can be characterized by an insufficient deep understanding of your business objectives, target audience, and marketing goals. Omitting strategic direction leads to creative built hastily on shallow assumptions. While your content may look great on the surface, it will fall flat and fail to move your audience to action.
Skipping ahead to creative tactics while neglecting strategy tactics is akin to a doctor performing surgery without first diagnosing their patient’s ailments. A sound strategy is a tremendous advantage that mitigates risk and sets the tone to maximize creative impact.
Pitfall #2: Strategy Missing Content
The second pitfall, where your strategy doesn’t prioritize content, describes marketing efforts that underestimate the need for great creative. All of the understanding in the world about your targets and goals will do you no good unless you let that knowledge guide creative development, production, and distribution of your content.
In today’s noisy world, content needs to do more than just share information or entertain. It needs to engage—create a sense of wonder, spark curiosity, and provoke an action.
Pitfall #3: Missing the Target Audience
The third pitfall, missing your target audience, conveys a failure to use the appropriate channels and methods to distribute your message. Your chances of posting content – even with great creative content – and simply having it become an overnight sensation are incredibly slim. Why leave your success up to mere chance?
It’s a shame to pour all of your resources into a thoroughly formulated strategy and expertly produced campaign only to have your creation get lost in the fray, unnoticed. Engaging your target audience requires identifying their preferred channels, creating content that inspires sharing, and adopting a mindset of iteration.
Three Core Marketing Principles
Good news! You don’t have to land in a landmine. Apply the following guidelines to ensure your marketing efforts are a success.
Principle #1: Seek Understanding
Deep understanding is the strategic foundation for communicating with your target audience. We believe the key to thorough understanding resides in uncovering insights in three main areas that we describe as The Three Agendas: Business, Creative, and Audience. First and foremost, you must empathize with the people behind the buying decisions you aim to influence. How can you connect your technology to their daily life and enlist them in your mission? What are the mindsets that motivate them to engage with your brand?
People don’t buy technology simply because it checks the boxes of speeds and features. We invest because products are a joy to use, make life more convenient, make us money, or save us money. If you are sure to ask questions, listen, and pursue knowledge before making any creative choices, your tactics will be firmly rooted in a substantiated vision.
Principle #2: Give Form to Vision
The insights you identified through research and discovery will allow you to synthesize creative form that connects with your audience on a visceral level. Creating emotional bonds and inspiring enthusiasm through classic storytelling methods certainly aren’t new concepts. For generations, from folklore to screenwriting, people have connected by embedding meaning into their communication through honest, relatable, intriguing stories. These stories move people and are shared because they follow a time-tested arc.
Seek inspiration from the greats like Joseph Campbell or Robert McKee to bolster your message with timeless structure and form. Elevating your audience to hero status can help form a relationship with your viewer. Relatable stories allow the viewer to imagine themselves in the shoes of the story’s hero. In the process, they will intrinsically connect with, and be empowered by your message.
Principle #3: Amplify Your Story
The journey of spreading your story begins with reaching your audience, but that’s only the beginning. To truly amplify your message you must open a dialogue that inspires your followers to share with their networks so that your campaign takes on a life of its own. A strategy with Paid, Owned, and Earned” distribution sets the stage for reaching your audience, earning their trust, and turning that trust into increased opportunity.
In order to see continued momentum, it’s all about landing fresh content at targeted times to keep the conversation going. We share to entertain, nurture relationships, express ourselves, and spread the word about brands we believe in. If you can tap into these motivations your audience will naturally help spread your proposition.
Focus On Creating Connection
There is a chasm between you and your users. You’re bringing change to the world faster than they can easily grasp. Audiences are skeptical and resistant to advertising as products become more of a distraction in an otherwise congested market.
There’s a lot to keep track of and at times it can feel overwhelming, but by following these core principles you can avoid the common pitfalls and discover ways to make meaningful connections with your target audience. By finding the crucial intersection of business objectives, audience mindsets, and creative storytelling, you can inspire your audience to engage with your brand and ultimately even advocate on your behalf.