Why do all that hard work behind the scenes, only to deliver boring work at exactly the right time to exactly the right person? This is the issue raised in this guest post by Founder and Commercial Director at Edge, Fergus Stoddart.
‘Everything has changed, but nothing has changed’.
‘Same, same but different’.
‘The more things change, the more they stay the same’.
No doubt you’ve heard these sayings many times before – indeed, you may have even used them yourself? I certainly have – and quite a lot lately. And here’s why…
I‘ve become increasingly concerned over recent years about the obsession with the ‘data, rigour and measurement’ elements of the Marketing and Communications process (they are all absolutely necessary and totally valid by the way) at the expense of the quality of the communication that is being pushed out into the marketplace.
For the life of me, I can’t understand why anyone would go to the trouble of planning each and every element of the messaging journey (in finite detail), making sure it accurately aligns with the target’s ‘journey’ (in equally finite detail), determine and implement all the measurement metrics – and then push out dull, uninspired, forgettable content. It’s crazy. It’s pointless. It’s ineffective. It simply makes no sense.
Why would you do all that hard work behind the scenes – only to deliver boring work at exactly the right time to exactly the right person? I don’t know the answer – but I do know that lots of brands are doing it. Beyond being wasteful, it’s ultimately damaging – to the brand and to the Marketing team’s reputation within their organisation.
Let’s face it, engaging communication in whatever form it has appeared through the ages has always and will always have a far better chance of effecting behavioural change (or if desired, re-affirming existing behaviour) than communication that begs to be ignored.
Engaging content demands attention, gets talked about, gets shared – and more often than not, will sell more widgets either directly or indirectly. And isn’t that the very reason we’re creating content (in all its forms) in the first place – to bring people closer to a brand and pre-dispose them to purchase.
I attended a number of presentations at the ADMA conference a couple of weeks ago and was astonished to hear the majority of senior marketers highlighting the importance of engaging content as though it was a ‘breakthrough finding’ from all the work they’ve been doing lately.
I was of course very happy to hear them promoting the need for engaging content, but equally saddened to hear that it was a ground-breaking revelation to them. Sorry, but there’s nothing revolutionary about it.
Get people to connect with what you’re saying and they’ll follow you right to the cash register. Connect with them for long enough and they’ll drag their friends with them.
From the days of the first newspaper ad, the first print and radio ads, the first outdoor poster and bus sides, the first TV commercial – and the first ‘every-other- platform’ since day dot, engagement has been the trick.
The proliferation of new platforms brought on by recent technological and digital advancements has changed much of the game forever – but at the end of the day, all the science, all the content planning, all the strategy, all the amplification methodologies are pointless unless the content you are providing is engaging.
And therein lies my challenge to all CMO’s reading this article: please demand from your marketing teams equal amounts of effort, care and passion for the science as well as the (commercial) art.