4 Ways To Make Sure You’re Not A Car Alarm In A Mall Parking Lot

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Are your marketing and advertising like a car alarm in a mall parking lot on Black Friday? You make a lot of noise but no one really pays any attention?

It’s likely the most common mistake we see in the market. That so-called mirage of marketing where it appears that your campaign is working but when all is said and done, it falls flat.

And we’ve said this time and time again in our posts. One of the most significant deficits in marketing is the harsh reality that you don’t know if you are winning or losing until it’s too late. The movie is out. The product is on the shelves. The election night is over.

With that said, there are certain approaches — what do you do before you launch your campaign — to make sure that you won’t just add more noise to the most cluttered, confusing, and chaotic marketplace in history.

First, write the playbook then burn it. Yes, there are certain strategies that are required for any product, content, or cause. There are basic rules — as one consultant say, “the blocking and tackling” that shouldn’t be changed. But beyond that you should try to flip everything upside-down and inside-out, second-guess every assumption and every dollar committed to decide if this is best for your content. The biggest mistake is taking what worked for someone else and thinking it will work for you in the same way. Know the rules. Follow some. Ignore the rest.

Second, digital is faster and cheaper but don’t abandon what’s offline. Yes, online is tremendous. It’s where the world lives. It’s how audiences consume, shop, gather news, engage with friends, go to school, and find their own tribe. Our only word of caution? Don’t lose sight of offline experiences. Over 70% of word-of-mouth, from what we last saw, still happens off-line. In addition, consumers want that tactile, in the moment, real experience — going to the concert, to the show, to the park, to the beach, to the restaurant. Yes, you can listen to the album, watch the show, be in the backyard, look at pictures of the beach, and have food delivered — it is similar, but not the same. Remember to balance the offline with the online throughout your campaign.

Third, if you’ve read best-selling author Donald Miller’s book Storybrand, you’ll know this idea: make your audience the hero. You are not the hero. Your product is not a hero. That’s a classic mistake — drawing attention and focus back to your content, your business, and your cause. The true hero is the audience. That simple shift in your message can make all the difference. Let’s face it: simply touting your new film isn’t enough to get someone to make a decision. We must put the audience first. Make that dad a hero for picking a great movie and bringing the family together after a busy week. Make that donor a hero for finishing that water well in a drought-stricken village. Make that reader a hero for buying a book and sharing it with their book club.

Finally, start early and end late. In other words, marketing and distribution campaigns should start earlier than you think, as early as possible, and should end long after you expect. The end of your campaign only really begins when you’ve exhausted every opportunity. You will not succeed by “coming out of nowhere,” surprising audiences, being fast and furious, blitzing the market with hype, and then dropping it all after the launch. To win you must think long and hard — yes, exactly that — long and hard. A long time with a lot of hard work. Start early. See your campaign through to the better end.

Do you ever feel like everything starts to sound the same? Us too. Every new product, cause, and content begins to lose our attention because it all runs together — the same strategies, the same messages, and the same appeal. Buy this. Support that.

The risk is following that same script … and believing that you, this time, despite the odds, will make it work and achieve your greatest goals. Maybe. Maybe not. Likely not. Unless you do things differently. Think unconventionally. And put reimagine what your marketing and distribution can and should be.

©Aspiration Entertainment, 2020

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