Image by luc legay via Flickr
There are certain things in life which are definite. For instance, you can always answer the question “Is the Pope a Catholic?” with a “Yes.” Or “Will the French go on strike this year?” can be answered with a confident “Yes.”
Other certainties used to be that marketers entertained their audiences with spectacular advertisements or beautiful websites.
But we, the audience, have changed. We have greater freedom to express ourselves with our own blogs. We gather information and news from social networks and spread them around our own networks rapidly.
For instance, three days ago on Twitter, I picked up a Tweet fro Stephen Fry about a complaint to Virgin Airlines from a passenger about the food he was given during the flight(http://tinyrul.com/virginfood). It was one of the funniest articles I had read for a long time.
Naturally, I ‘Re-Tweeted’ the article to my network and emailed to some friends and family. Three days later, the breakfast news did a piece about it. It was old hat by the time it came up on the BBC news and Virgin had already made statements to say that Richard Branson had seen the letter and they were taking action.
Furthermore, consumers will soon be able to watch TV programmes when they want to rather than when the broadcaster tells them to watch.
So, marketers can no longer interrupt their audiences to grab their attention, when it is more likely that consumers are already gathering an opinion about their product through their networks which has for more impact than the biased opinion of the marketer.
So, how do you work as a marketer in the new world to grow your business? Marketers have to ensure that they make the experience with their brand a meaningful one so that the perception of it is transformed. You have to go beyond entertainment and move into providing branded applications which give your audience a service which enhances their experience with your brand.
For example, the VW web site is a wonderful piece of work which makes choosing car easy. Rather than having to do cumbersome comparisons as you do on other sites, you can filter down using a simple set of tools on one screen. They provide a set of tools to help you make sense of the wide variety of choices and options in their cars.
As someone said to me the other day, "...when you get in a VW, it feels like they know what they are doing." I agree. It does not get much better than that in marketing. No flashy videos showing me how the car is good at missing puddles. Just branded applications to provide a meaningful experience.
It was so good I bought a VW.