Word of mouth is the single biggest spreader of anything, hands down. If you don’t believe me, check out this quote I found in Seth Godin’s book, Idea Virus: “You cannot sell a man who isn’t listening; word of mouth is the best medium of all; and dullness won’t sell your product, but neither will irrelevant brilliance.” – Bill Bernbach, former dean of American Advertising. I don’t think this quote could be any more true, even though it’s over 20 years old.
Again, advertisers need to offer their customers something in exchange for doing the marketing for them. What they should offer them is what they really want, which is free content that appeals to them. Why are we paying for TV? So we can be advertised to, and they can make even more money? The advertising should be in exchange for giving the content away for free. This not only gives users a reason to keep the advertisers around, but it’s a gift to the people who are going to inevitably spread the word of great products for the advertisers.
This is something that right now is not utilized in marketing, and the full value here is not yet realized. Sponsor content that your customers care about, and maybe they’ll care more about you.
However, the biggest issue with advertising is still relevancy. I mean, as a 22 year old, I don’t even watch TV anymore, or at least I don’t pay for cable. I watch all of my TV shows and movies on streaming sites like Veetle.com, or basically on demand sites like TVshack.net. One reason is they cut out all of the ads for you.
On TV, relevant ads are almost impossible to implement. Sure you can target me based on the shows I watch, but what you’re hitting me with is a commercial..what can I do with that? The internet offers a much more interactive approach that allows advertisers to finally give their users something of value to them, whether it’s free content, a cool widget, or even a stupid free game that gives me 5 minutes of pleasure while on a conference call or something.
Advertisers should no longer waste money marketing to people who are not in the market for what they are selling. Data can be gathered to tell if a person is, or should be, in the market for their product based on purchase history and online search activity. If you can get a person to already specified a favorite brand for a certain kind of product, that data could be collected and taken into account too.
Some people have issues with giving information away, especially to companies, but think about it this way – right now when you buy something, the company that actually made the product usually doesn’t keep track of the fact that you’re their customer. They don’t know who you are, yet you use their product all the time. That product is made for you: their customer. The company’s responsibility is to make a product that suits your needs, but if they don’t know you, it makes that job a lot harder, which inevitably means you lose out by being limited to products that are in no way shaped by their users. If you introduce yourself however, then they’ll have to listen, and the experience they give you has to adapt to you. Giving them your information holds them accountable for supplying you with a superior product, or experience. They would have no excuse.
As consumers, we need to be open to giving our favorite brands some information about ourselves, and our wants, so they can better address them for us. We don’t do it for them. We do it so our experience in life can be better, with less irrelevant ad noise, and a bigger signal to noise ratio for all. This trend is just beginning, and will not go away. It’s time people stop caring so much about their “privacy” and use their data to their advantage. Privacy is a new invention anyway. Was it so bad when everybody knew their neighbor? Let your favorite brands get to know you!
Written by: Dante Cullari Founder & President Beat-Play, LLC