One of our greatest challenges working with clients is getting their attention, let alone their target market demographics. Some see this shiny market wrapped in social media and buffed with billion dollar valuations.
Reality is much tougher and itâ€™s not all the clients fault. We marketers are equally as guilty - we get seduced by the same data our clients see and at times forget the noise levels in this ADD driven world are outrageous, necessitating crystal clear marketing strategy.
The High Risk and Reward Attention Economy Demands Brand Excellence
We are going to talk about a six month client engagment we workedÂ on in this post entailing six months of work: branding and positioning, web site design, content development and social media marketing via Facebook and Pinterest.
After thirty days of competitive analysis for/with the client we realized there was one market leader in this B2B niche; selling products for/with non-profits to raise money, necessitating marketing to non-profits and deploying consumer facing marketing campaigns. Our first mistake was not giving the client compelling reasons to niche in at the outset, as opposed to deploying a marketing strategy against the market leader.
We should have said “itâ€™s our way or the highway” but in our defense, clients can be like spouses. Hard to command their attention.
Food for thought: any business your undertaking that necessitates marketing to businesses and consumers simultaneously increases the risk and reward factors exponentially.
Brands: Itâ€™s Noisy Out There - Your Strategy has to be Spot On
- Have a customer feedback loop and analysis baked in to your brand strategy from day one for course corrections downstream.
- Attention is expensive in this market; itâ€™s a fools game to assume high growth across the social web means unlimited opportunity.
- Ideas are cheap in our world today. Tactical execution trumps everything else.
- Niche in and find a foxhole to defend and ignore the false promises on the horizon. In most markets youâ€™ll have one or two market leaders (see Google and Yahoo) and over time this is probably going to distill down to one.
- Every market has competition. End of story. Brands that delude themselves by ignoring and/or not doing competitive review will get their heads handed to them on a platter.
- Web site design drives your overall strategy: itsâ€™ the foundation that all of your tactical marketing and excruciatingly painful to rebuild a web site after itâ€™s been launched and fraught with peril.
Ideas Are Cheap Tactical Marketing Trumps Everything
We ran 60 days behind on this product launch as we went back and forth on the content strategy and rewrites 3-5 times. This in turn diluted some of the clientâ€™s marketing resources, which we needed badly in the post launch phase to drive consumer awareness for Facebook organic updates and advertising.
- The “driver” for your content has to be a short Facts doc that is a derivative of an elevator statement. Holistic content marketing campaigns have too many moving parts: start with one page and go from there.
- Time to market is critical for any business, but especially a small business with limited startup funds and a small team.
- A digital agency functions like scouts ahead of a column (excusing the militaristic analogy); listen to them and act accordingly. Not blindly mind you, but when they substantiate a brand strategy thatâ€™s well grounded listen and move. Custer did not.
- Donâ€™t get bogged down in “meeting speak” and analysis paralysis; “lead, follow or get the hell out the way…..” should be penned on your whiteboard.
Timing is Everything and Anything
We started our marketing campaign on Facebook sixty days ahead of our product launch to build up the community. We scaled the account from zero to 3.5K “likes” and drove good engagement form the community.
But, as we launched the the product in the third month we realized we needed a lot more firepower on Facebook (itâ€™s an advertising platform) than we budgeted early on.
What was more painful, our 3K plus community members clearly “loved” our clientâ€™s brand but they werenâ€™t purchasing our non-profit focused products and we needed a much larger marketing budget to drive eCommerce revenue.
- Startups using Facebook as a sole lead generation mechanism need a strong product and/or a compelling brand strategy with implicit value for the consumer. Anything less is brand suicide.
- Your organic reach into your community will be no more than 10-20%. Meaning, ad spend needs to be ongoing and coupled with excellence in organic status updates. The bottom will fall out of your community if you stop advertising.
- Hold Facebook advertising fire power until your ready to generate revenue. Starting early may help to build community and ranking via Facebookâ€™s Edge Rank but in the end your diluting marketing ROI.
- We are in an “attention economy” and getting the consumerâ€™s attention on Facebook or any social platfrom can be expensive, with an average cost per lead of $.65 and this doesnâ€™t factor in ongoing community management and associated costs.
Success Drivers in the Attention Economy
- Curated content drives engagement with your brand and “attention”
- Move your digital assets into the cloud to leverage costs and reduce time to market.
- Repetition is needed to drive attention: see ADD above.
- Brand consistency drives credibility.
- Future proof when/where you can: show downstream value for your brand.
- Identify and build a tribe with exclusive capabilities.
- Social proof drives credibility: quotes, white papers, meaningful blog posts.
So, thatâ€™s our mea culpa warts and all and we hope it broadens your perspective, drives value and information!