The days of easy growth are over. The days of easy anything are over. Humpty Dumpty can not be put back together!
On the one hand you know this, and on the other hand you don’t really want to get into all that this means. Advertising is not dead, influencing is the new advertising. Advertising was the linear approach to solving your problem; you had your message and you knew that if you could get it out there enough times and with consistency, you could get results. But no longer can we push messages out effectively and efficiently. Today we need to be engaging customers where they are able to receive our messages – our influence.
Influencing customers/prospects is no different than influencing your kids. Telling your kids (old school advertising) is like yelling in an empty theatre. Even with your kids right in front of you, they have turned you off (their own internal Tivo). Influencing is connecting at the right times with different messages to move the ball forward. And simple it is not. Complexity, perseverance and focus rule the day for effective influence - and achieving bottom-line results.
Here are 4 steps to consider:
Step #1 – identify who you want to influence. And unless you are Coke, Ford, or Apple, you need to narrow your influence network. Old-school target markets no longer work by themselves. Influence begins with identifying the network market, and then understanding their connectedness so that you can create engagement and thus begin to influence.
Step #2 – Leverage all the media – old and older. Whether you use newspaper advertising, tweeting, or blogging, the key to making this investment pay off is creating content that has no dead ends. Every message, regardless of the medium, has to offer the reader or viewer the next step. Every message, every influence point needs to engage the customer. Engagement leads to higher awareness for your brand and thus is a step toward increased purchasing.
Step #3 – Make sure your messaging is meaningful. Messaging is all about content. Waste my time and you are dead. Provide me with a valuable benefit and I will continue to engage with you. Forget about meaningless promotional gimmicks. Giving away that free cup of coffee after the customer has purchased 10 cups, or that free iPod when you open a new account, may help the customer spend more money, but it does nothing for brand loyalty. Customers want meaningful reasons to be engaged with your business.
Step #4 – Say thank you. And then say thank you again.
In 2008 our Humpty Dumpty economy fell off the wall. And try as they might, all the king’s men and all the king’s resources have not been able to put Humpty back together again.