Marketing CampaignBy Bryan Adams

And eight good reasons to stop cheating on your customers.

On four separate occasions this month I’ve read news about amazing progress in the fight against cancer… I even read this morning about one cancer drug that has the side affect of giving you 10 years prolonged natural life.

Great news! Go Cancer Researchers!

But the big C that’s killing marketing is running wild with very little hope of a global cure anytime soon.

We need to stand up and fight back against marketing campaigns and this is my first contribution to the cause.

Let me explain.

Stop Cheating On Your Customers

Your marketing should be about the wants needs and desires of  your customers and one of the biggest outcomes you can hope for is to spark a new relationship or sustain an existing one.

World-class marketing tends to reflect a long-term relationship with your audience(s) as opposed to a dating frenzy of one night stands.

In short, we have to stop cheating on our customers and start putting their needs before our own.

I’m pleased to say there’s finally lots of evidence to suggest that marketers are investing in the research and time it takes to truly understand and empathize with their audience.

We’re experiencing lots of engagement surrounding our persona and empathy mapping downloads and it’s a vital part of our new client induction process.

So, now we’re investing in the understanding of who we’re trying to strike a relationship with but, in many cases, we’re still just using that great intelligence completely wrong and even selfishly.

It’s like going to extremes to listen and discover the true needs, wants and vulnerabilities of your wife, only to leverage them to your advantage when you want to play golf or go out drinking with your friends.


Jean Giraudoux Has Lots to Say About This

Jean Giraudoux famously said, “The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you’ve got it made.”

What an amusing dude.


In this day and age, our audience (and our husbands and wives) can smell baloney a mile away.

(It’s called the critical faculty—the part of the brain that evaluates information coming from all five of your senses.)

It just doesn’t wash anymore and the best route to take is the straight and narrow one. We can’t afford to take short cuts or design our communications in short-lived campaigns.

I bet Jean Giradoux marketed his novels and plays in campaigns!

The first symptoms of the campaign disease can be unnoticeable.

Eight Signs You’ve Contracted the Big C … Campaign

If you really want to add value to your audience and plan to build a genuine, authentic, and mutually respected relationship, here are my top eight signs you’ve contracted the illness of marketing in campaigns and why it’s potentially killing your marketing.

  1. Start and end dates of marketing campaignsBy design, right from the off, a campaign has a planned start and end date. How can you plan to offer sustainable value to your audience if you plan to stop the activity or value at a point in the near future?
  2. The goals of a typical marketing campaign benefits you not them. In most cases, the focus or set goals of a marketing campaign are based on benefiting your business and not the audience. How else will you measure success right? How rude. Is it me or is this exactly the same as a young man planning a big night out on the town hoping to not wake up alone (that’s as eloquent as I could put it)?
  3. Synthetic cheap imitations for the real deal. Trust is replaced with evidence to build credibility. If you have an audience who blindly trusts your advice, values your content, and appreciates your contribution to a discussion, you don’t need to follow it up with a case study, testimonial, or whitepaper or prove your point. There are plenty of brands that have this level of loyalty with their audience and it’s because they consistently provide a high level of quality of service to their community. Not because they consistently produce campaign after campaign. Instead of investing the time in half of those whitepapers and case studies, why not invest in a sustained dialogue with your audience? It’s cheaper, easier, and everyone wins. Real loyalty is replaced with manufactured systems like gamification. I’m a fan of gamification but let’s not confuse the issue. Brands use gamification in the absence of real loyalty to artificially mimic a loyal audience’s behaviour to manufacture the benefits of having a loyal audience. True loyalty is sticking with brand in the absence of incentives, bribes, offers, and rewards. Gamification is expensive, much more expensive than building true relationships with your audience. It is an excellent way to analyze the behavior of an audience so there are lots of acceptable, holistic benefits to using this tech.
  4. Consistency is something that people value in a number of different types of genuine relationships. With a more consistent long-term relationship, intuition and gut feel start to help guide your quick decisions about what value to produce for your audience. It sounds daft but, when you know, you know, right? Everything we do is evidence-based, however your deeper understanding how to approach a topic, the language to use, and priority of key benefits and messages just gets easier and easier the more familiar you become with your audience. Consistency also breeds confidence which is appreciated, respected, and rewarded with more engagement. If you know what you’re talking about, it helps right? If you’re comfortable with what you’re talking about it helps more.
  5. Attention! Getting the attention of your audience is proving to be one of the toughest if not the toughest challenge of modern day marketing. Have you heard the saying, “it’s cheaper to keep a client than to find a new one?” Well it’s the same with your audience, it’s easier to keep the attention of your audience (with valuable content) than to resurrect it and find a new audience and seek their attention.
  6. Givers gain. The stronger your relationship with your audience, the more you can ask for help with things such as sharing, participation, and even asking your audience what you should write or talk about. Once the barriers are down, you’re proven, trusted and respected, why wouldn’t someone help you as much as you’re helping them right? If you try asking a new online community to help you without giving value first, good luck! Let me know how that goes for you… Go ask the Reddit guys for a share or a link. OUCH!
  7. Teaching and learning. I talk about giving your audience value by putting out your best content… Help, teach, educate, share, give. It’s a very good approach and one that I stand by. I believe in this approach because it’s a non-selfish approach to relationship building—not a tactic to infiltrate a community. If you lead with this approach it’s very likely you will genuinely learn as much as you teach. Have you ever received comments back from content you’ve published which includes links to other similar resources or new findings, ideas, and explanations? It’s this type of engagement that helps you learn more about your topic or area of expertise and also you learn more about your audience, too.
  8. Groundhog Day. Did I just say that? What a waste of time. When you conduct marketing in campaigns, you quite often have to start from scratch on a number of fronts. A good example of this is usually the overarching theme of a new campaign. With a new initiative typically comes a focus on a benefit or new style, creative idea or concept to trial. This typically means you have to start form the beginning with educating your audience about the new messages, benefits, or points you’re making and your audience has to make a first judgement…. Far too many firsts for my liking.

This number of firsts (the inefficiency of stopping and starting) is very costly.

Time spent educating your audience on something new could be time spent on adding more value on a well presented existing area of expertise.

With a campaign’s inherent fragmented and start-stop approach, you will only learn about your audience via different small samples of reactions making it more difficult to hit the mark or progress with a deeper dive of areas of interest to your audience.

Each time you start a new campaign you have to do a lot of thinking again and again.

Now, don’t get me wrong, we should always be thinking about jour audience, however not thinking about the same things over and over again to achieve the same results.

That’s just crazy.

image credit: Shutterstock

Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams is CEO of Liverpool’s award-winning digital agency Ph.Creative and author of Getting Goosebumps. A strong leader with a background in communications, Bryan is a social media addict and inbound marketing strategist with a passion for contagious content and disruptive ideas.

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