Money Down the Drain

What’s that sucking sound on the trip to engagement town?

January 19th, 2016 Posted by brand marketing, Insight 0 comments on “What’s that sucking sound on the trip to engagement town?”

Finding Marketing Magic when it’s so elusive.

Pffffft – that’s the noise marketing budgets make disappearing down the rabbit hole of attempted engagement when forced and bait-driven connection strategies are at play.

You want to tell your brand story. You believe it’s important that as many eyes and ears as possible hear the tale. So you look for every possible way to aggregate an audience in an era that works day and night against aggregation.

You have feature and benefits to deliver and you’re going to push it out like a starving man stacks a plate at a buffet line. So budgets are sliced and diced against an ever-expanding matrix of electronic and analog channels, working harder to sprinkle messages over a wide swath of potential walking wallets, like butcher salt on a 33-ounce rib eye.

Bob Garfield in a recent Ad Age column sums up the condition vacuuming marketing dollars in the elusive search for impact and effectiveness:

“TV audiences are shriveling like grapes in the back of the fridge. Online ads are blocked, unviewed by the banner blind or simply never loaded. Bots are chewing up dollars like Pac Man at a smorgasbord. Arbitrageurs are re-bundling dubious inventory and picking advertiser pockets with what the margarine ads used to call the “high-price spread.”

Pouring more money into this ecosystem is the moral equivalent of stuffing it into the fireplace and setting it ablaze. It makes you feel warm and comfy, but it results in a net loss of energy.”

What to do?

Step away from the transactional thinking speed train and onto the meaning and belief progress wagon.

Marketing today is a battle for valued and mattering. It is dependent on nurturing relationships with people based on their lifestyle aspirations and needs. It is always about them first and not us.

Differentiation is imperative. Uniqueness a virtue. And creating a Higher Purpose for your brand and business is the incredibly important first step. Brand relationships are built on the back of reciprocity rather than shoveling messages at people hoping their brains are an open sieve to receive and sort.

Plum Organics sells healthy foods and beverages for kids. They recognize and appreciate the gigantic lifestyle influence parenting has on everything, especially in the early years. So they engage at a genuine level with these stories and experiences, helping coalesce a community of parents based on their very real shared challenges in bringing up the little ones.

Plum’s focus is on parents – their needs, concerns and passions. It is the grist of Plum’s higher purpose. It feeds a marketing and communications strategy founded on these principles of relationship creation. It’s an enlightened path to growth that reflects the sea change in how brands are built today.

Plum Organics

Their campaign microsite – Parenting Unfiltered – is awash in authentic stories and inherently sticky content parents can identify with. The tilt here is recognition that engagement is an outcome of being meaningful.

And meaning starts with aligning your brand closely with what’s at stake in the lives and living your customers participate in daily. When you’re able to embrace this counter-intuitive idea that belief super-cedes the imperatives of selling, you will find a veritable garden of opportunities for engagement that doesn’t rely on digital spray and pray tactics.

Our Validation Marketing™ planning model is forged on this insight.

Think of the enjoyment to be had when operating on the side of the angels, working to help consumers want to join your brand community as members and advocates. The outcome is transactions that spring from belief and trust.

Bob Wheatley is the CEO of Chicago-based Emergent Healthy Living. Emergent provides integrated brand strategy, communications and insight solutions to national food, beverage, home and lifestyle companies.  Emergent’s unique and proprietary transformation and growth focus helps organizations navigate, engage and leverage consumers’ desire for higher quality, healthier product or service experiences that mirror their desire for  higher quality lifestyles. For more information, contact and follow on Twitter @BobWheatley.

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