Updated: Jul 5, 2019
“Marketing should be an effortless act of informing, conversing, and engaging with your customers, not selling to them.”
Do you agree with this statement? Judging by the presentations at New Media Expo (NMX) earlier this month, the answer should be a collective “yes”. Here’s why non-marketing is the new black, and the time to adopt is now.
Real. Human. Interaction.: The rise of consumer democracy born on social media is now being raised on all the tent poles of marketing. When companies want to connect with their audiences, they should do so at a human level, as individuals, and refrain from marketing speak. As Bryan Kramer has said: “It’s Human to Human, not B2B or B2C.” Along with that, technology should take second priority to the audience you seek. Brands are no longer compelled to be on every social networking platform, or sport 500 sharing icons on their site, as examples. As Dino Dogan said, “The smaller the community, the greater the influence and intimacy.”
Theory to Practice: The human element is the most important factor that connects us; creating those authentic interactions will ultimately propel customers to move towards your company.
Branding is About “Being Yourself”: Don’t confuse this with putting zero effort into crafting your image—far from it, as Luvvie Ajaya said, “Build a strong voice, be consistent, and be authentic.” She also reminded us that ultimately, your brand is how your customers define you .Or as Martin Jones said, “If you’re not telling your brand’s story someone else probably is.” If you’re unsure what differentiates your business, Chris Ducker advises, “Find your originality. When you build the business of you, nobody can copy it.”
Theory to Practice: Whether small or large, discover what the special sauce is that makes your company different and run with it, full stop; ultimately your right customers will come to you.
Thou Shalt Not Promote in Content: This is a difficult pill to swallow for most companies. Keynoter Scott Stratten, known for his UnMarketing mantra, pointed out that by listening and engaging with your customers (and—God forbid—mentioning the competition when apropos), you build trust and position yourself as the logical choice when customers need you. Delivering news and insights that are educational, interesting, and even entertaining will build a loyal audience. Tamsen Webster asked thought-provoking, rhetorical questions like: “Does my content make the customer better? Would I share this content myself if I didn’t work here?” And of course, most importantly, “Will it compete with cats?” Jones summed up the importance of content as: “Social is how customer hear about you, search is how they find you, and content is how they qualify you.”
Theory to Practice: All content for your audience should be solely focused on those consuming it, not promoting your business. When you are helping your customers, you will be seen as the go-to, trusted partner.
The Wrap: While all this is well and great to think about for our own businesses, none of us should ever get too comfortable with any “formula” for success. It’s become more urgent than ever in this fast-evolving digital world, as Keynoter Lynette Young reminded us. She likened our businesses to an iceberg visual, “…to keep moving, growing, and learning. The iceberg is weakest at the waterline.”
Theory to Practice: I would call this the Three Rs: Reinventing, Risk, and Reach. When you juggle all three, even if you drop one, pick it up, keep going, and don’t ever stop the show.