You want a recipe for boring, cookie-cutter content? Probably not, but I’m going to give you one anyway. Start out by considering your own opinion, and then forget all about it. Instead, work on producing what you think other people want to see, and saying what they want to hear in the way that you think they want to hear it. Avoid saying anything that could remotely be construed as controversial, mix in some loosely relevant jargon, and put a bow on it with a vague inspirational quote.
Guest post by John Andrews
My business partner Ted Rubin deftly points out in his book The Age of Influence that “everyone influences someone”. I’ve heard him say this at countless speeches and presentations around the world to leaders of marketing and retail and I agree with his statement wholeheartedly. In fact, personal influence has long been the most powerful marketing force in existence. Proof of the statement can be found in the rule of five. Your wealth, health and most other factors about you can often be predicted by your five closest friends. It’s even a little deeper than that, we share 1% of DNA with our closest friends, the same amount as our 4th cousins. We unconsciously find those most like us and tend to think, act and behave as they do. Everyone influences someone, personal influence is a powerful force that can literally affect human behavior. Marketers know how powerful this tool is, they just aren’t sure how to harness it.
Use the tools available to get to know your prospective partners, colleagues, and customers.
The most important thing a manager can do to grow her team’s “impact and effectiveness” is to strongly encourage them to be change agents. To step up, be the one who’s brain actually storms in a Brainstorming Session, and be Fearless (FEAR LESS).
When you’re trying to learn the real story about a product or service as a consumer, do you turn to the people who market that product or the people who actually use it? Do you build a connection with a brand because of the way that a product is pitched to you, or because of the benefits that product provides when it is in your hands? Sometimes, the most important questions from prospective customers are best answered by other customers, and the longest-lasting relationships are seeded by personal experience. User-generated content is one of the most effective ways to tap into that consumer-to-consumer mindset, and earn some social proof in the process.
Ad giant WPP recently reduced its full-year earnings for the second time this year with CEO Sir Martin Sorrell citing a myriad of challenges… from consumer goods company spending cutbacks, to Trumponomics (disappointed by this reference to say the least). Sorrell’s comments over the past couple years, and in the Cheddar interview here, highlight the challenges facing the ad industry and its clients as media consumption increasingly migrates to digital channels and on-demand consumption and the “me” media evolution. Sir Martin also points to the fact that Google, and now Facebook, have become the largest investment pools WPP is deploying for their clients. Maybe the problem lies in the fact that Facebook and Google are tactical vs. strategic decisions but are being treated as overarching, and all encompassing, approaches. Many media decisions currently being made in digital seem to be retreads of traditional media tactics where bigger is better… and interruption is still rules the day (a strategy fast facing extinction).
As small business owners, we sometimes tread a very thin line between what we consider success and failure. Margins are small, money is tight, risk is high, and some days it seems that everything we try is a bust.
Have you ever had a job that you simply couldn’t stand, due to a poor relationship between the decision-makers and the employees responsible for carrying out those decisions? It feels like no matter how strong an effort you make or how much you like serving the customers despite the poor work environment, it’s hard to perform at your best with so much negativity in the air. As a business owner, apathetic, disengaged employees can spell real disaster for the quality of your customer service, and the data consistently show how disengagement correlates with poor customer service. This is an age-old problem that has always been a hurdle for business.
The biggest mistake brands make when trying to engage influencers is not first trying to understand who they are and what they stand for. They think it is all about the money, and simply the number and reach. I write a lot about Looking People in the Eye Digitally… so for me the most important influencer marketing tool is building relationships.