Users online are smart. They use the internet every day and are no longer phased by fancy blinking banner ads or emails that promise they will make $5,000 in a single week. In fact, KoMarketing’s 2014 B2B Web Usability report revealed that the top elements causing buyers to leave vendor websites included distracting video or audio that plays automatically and animated ads that crawl across a page or pop up.
Yet, businesses continuously “dumb down” their marketing and advertising for users in hopes of reaching the highest number of people. While the world has no shortage of idiots, the average internet user is middle class and many have an advanced education: the 2011 census showed that almost 90% of all households in the United States that had bachelors degrees had internet access.
Instead of tricking your audience into believing something is real (e.g. the Pepsi Max commercial that the internet has decried as fake), why not focus your efforts on creating lasting connections through genuine storytelling, which makes great experiences for your users?
Below are some steps for creating experiences as part of your marketing campaigns, no matter your target industry.
Take Something Personal For The User and Do Something Great
Think about what your target audience loves more than anything. What do they think about every day, or better yet, what do they use and do everyday?
Here’s an scenario: Do you sell office products or organization supplies? Have a surprize Organization Police drop in to the average office and organize everyone’s desks while they are out at a company meeting. Secretly videotape the cleaning and the look on everyone’s faces when they come back to their desk to see it as the dream version of their desk that they’ve always wanted it to be. Feature your lines of products to match each person’s personality.
Another great example is the Disco Cab, which was mentioned by Ramon DeLeon in his presentation at Social Media Strategies Summit that I covered in Chicago this year. This cab is a rolling disco club and makes even the most serious business person have a little fun:
It is possible to make business marketing fun. You just have to think about what your audience is the most passionate about, and make something happen to make that part of their lives easier or better.
Don’t Fake It
As mentioned in the introduction, some companies think that they can fake experiences. Take the Organization Police example above. If you used actors instead of real office workers, yet tried to pass it off as genuine, your YouTube or commercial audience will know. Remember, they aren’t stupid.
It is worth the effort to make something real. It not only creates real emotions for everyone involved, it also makes it more memorable. Instead of pushing a fake agenda for anything involving your audience in order to get it done faster or for less money, spend the time to make it real instead. Your brand influence and ROI will likely be much higher.
Make Content More Than Drivel
Many companies create content just because they think that they should and have no real content marketing plan. Publishing filler content just to complete a commitment isn’t going to make any audience feel warm and fuzzy about your brand or what you have to say.
If your company created a blog just because “everyone else has one” and it is never updated, or, is full of content that is full of boring news items or pieces that don’t challenge and advance the thinking of the target audience you want buying your products and services, it may not be worth having a blog at all.
The web has become something bigger than checking in on old high school buddies on Facebook or stalking potential leads on LinkedIn. It is now a content powerhouse that requires creativity and mind-blowing content from companies that want to get ahead of their competitors. A good example of B2B companies doing this well are HubSpot and Buffer.
The right content has illustrative graphics or screenshots that explain visually the main points of the content, with helps with comprehension and to lengthen reading time. In addition, the right content will take the reader on storytelling journey that they can come away from having learned something new or with a better feel of what the company has to offer them (through experience), without coming off as salesy or over the top.
When it comes to choosing to create experiences instead of spewing out the same old marketing language, the main factor that sets suberb examples of companies doing this and the “rest of the pack” is thinking of your audience as people, not targets. Follow through with this strategy in mind, and you will rise to the top, without having to claw through everyone else first.