Monday, August 31, 2009

Antisocial Media

I think we can all agree that relationships are the essence of any successful business. And in today's world, many business relationships are forged, developed and sustained online – via email, discussion forums, social networking sites, blogs, Twitter and the like. But then there are those who don't get it, don't want to get it, and won't ever spend enough time online to ever get it. Should they be ignored or disregarded as out of touch, old school, or behind the times? Perish the thought, please. To do so would be irresponsible and yes, even snobbish. Whether or not we'd like to admit it, these individuals are everywhere and not just in the over 50 crowd. They too have buying power and prefer not to follow like sheep into cyberspace in order to interact with the world. They prefer meeting face-to-face; not on Facebook. They're out-of-home, on the move, and living life, in their own way. They will still respond to traditional forms of marketing and advertising because from their perspective, social media is more of a paradox than a preview of things to come. Do I understand it or even advocate their point of view? It doesn't matter. What matters is that as a marketing professional I must listen to them, and recognize their right to be heard, and thus be able to recommend ways for my clients to retain them as customers. Everyone is different, unique, and as valuable as the next person, even if that person is seemingly taking communication to another level. In the quest for brand loyalty or market share, no one can be ignored in this economy whether explicitly or implicitly.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Selling the experience: Are you relevant?

Welcome to the way brands break through today. Through Experiential Marketing. Experiential marketing is more than a PR stunt or special event. It's the fundamental philosophy behind the next evolution in branding. Today's consumer is savvy, selective and yes, cynical. To reach them, requires a connection on multiple levels. Of course as we all know, the world is cluttered and fragmented. Shortened attention spans put higher demands on brands to make a quick impression, or money is simply wasted. While thirty second spots on radio and television once had a great impact, modern technology has changed the playing field. Yet the needs and desires of consumers remain relatively the same. Selling an experience becomes a sense of rapport between product and consumer which only serves to reinforce an individual's values, goals and ideals.

Appealing to a variety of senses, experiential marketing can tap into that special place within the human heart that fosters inspiring thoughts about what could be, without ignoring practicality. Understanding what the consumer is likely to think and feel, is a great tool in evaluating a brand's relevance, because the impulse to purchase is short-lived. An enduring brand must relate to both lifestyle and worldview. It must appeal to prevailing beliefs and personal agendas to capture more than just attention, but admiration, and ultimately, adoration.

Yes, this means looking at what you say and how you say it. But more importantly assessing where you engage your customer and at what levels. It makes all the difference--between who buys today, and who will continue buying tomorrow.