On this team we fight for that inch. On this team we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when add up all those inches, that’s gonna make the fucking difference between winning and losing! Between living and dying! I’ll tell you this, in any fight it’s the guy whose willing to die whose gonna win that inch. And I know, if I’m gonna have any life anymore it’s because I’m still willing to fight and die for that inch, because that’s what living is, the six inches in front of your face.
Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday.
I’ve been thinking about marketing for a while and what works and what doesn’t work and I wonder if the distance between the marketing and us is a factor. Close and personal marketing is where it really has a positive effect but there are many obstacles and filters preventing this. Good. There should be.
Think about the various forms of marketing and advertising that are there. They’re sent out from people thousands of miles away and made and distributed hundreds of miles away. With old tech the cost of sending a tailored message to one person was huge but a bland message to thousands was cheap. Broadcast. With new tech it is becoming quite cheap and almost free to market to every individual and respond to each and every piece of feedback from every individual.
The Internet can be thousands of miles away or it can be inches depending on who uses it and in what way. It can remove geographical restrictions but at the same time add new ones that can slow sales and marketing. The biggest one is the inability to personally react to a person.
The best form of marketing is all about how close it is to you and how it reacts to you and gives you what you need, not what they need you to do. Long-distance relationships are hard to do.
Consider some of these forms of marketing:
TV and radio – thousands of miles to dozens with Satellite or broadcast from a tower. Shotgun approach to marketing but with advertising as well as TV shows and their content. Barely knows anything about you, they can’t react to you. Tethered to JNLR figures. The online equivalent is a website, the plain old brochureware type sites, splash page or no.
Billboards – Big large posters hundreds of yards away. Can know a little more about you due to your location and from rough surveys. Still doesn’t know a lot about you, not age, gender or interests. “Works in financial district”, oh great. The online equivalent are banner ads (thus the name).
Guy with sign in town – Local but broadcast
50 feet to three feet away. Holds the sign announcing what they do. Don’t know you, don’t make effort to know you. The online equivalent is a website, maybe these are banner ads that guess stuff based on your IP address. These are people announcing crap on their Twitter profile that use it as a one way method to get news out there. While they’re in your local area like the town or twitter, they’re not actively contributing.
It’s personal. Some of the nasty creatures put their hand out which many people instinctively respond to by matching it. Then they grasp on and try to sell. These are the people who are conferenes put their hand up to ask a question and instead promote the work they’ve done. “I’ve found when I did X work for a client that”. Online these are the people that respond on mailing lists, LinkedIn, blog comments and Twitter whoring their stuff and not actually giving a damn if they are relevant or not to you. (Pic above from Lette)
Photo owned by markhillary (cc)
Did you ever notice the personal recommendations from Waterstone’s staff on little cards on the bookshelves? A person recommending something to you. It has a little more power than just a “buy this book” type card. The online equivalent is a blog of a business recommending products or highlighting a recent product. Amazon tries to do it but it’s automated, cold and misfires a lot.
Online Reactive Marketing:
Google Adwords are a good example of designing ads based on what you want. You tell Google what you want when you enter a search term and Google spits it back to you in the results but it also acts as a guide to commercial companies that want your attention. It in a way reminds me of the very competitive restaurants you walk past in various holiday resorts. You go down the streets hunting for food and the salespeople try and sell you the restaurant’s charms.
Facebook demographic marketing
Facebook don’t know what you want. You’re on a social network, not searching. So they just make the ads on it much more personal. They’re still ads though and as yet are not based on your actions or your wants. They know lots about you but they can’t see your reaction and respond to it. It’s getting personal but not personal enough and is done on Facebook and when an ad is placed on a profile it’s in conjunction with 2-3 other advertisers too. That dilutes the message too. Unlike Google Adwords, the inclination to click on the ads isn’t strong. They do not answer the question in your head or one that you asked a few minutes ago, do they? The offline equivalent of this is loyalty cards in Dunnes or Brown Thomas.
Photo owned by Rachel from Cupcakes Take the Cake (cc)
Value added local marketing – Austin in Bubble Brothers’ shop in the English Market
Austin is two feet away – you have a relationship, communications are two way. You chat about the weather, you bring in local events, you ask Austin about wines and what would work best with what food. You use his expertise, he shares it with you. He’ll recommend a few selections and ask your price range. You know he’s not there to make you pick the most expensive bottle. You’ll come back and he’ll ask how you got on with that wine. The online equivalent is a blog and leaving comments or going on Twitter and asking @bubblebrothers direct.
My friend/my work colleague/my shared situation person
In the office you might ask for a recommendation for a good Italian restaurant or back to the wine idea, you might ask for recommendations on a good Italian red wine. This shared space can be virtual where you can ask in the status update in Facebook or ask on Twitter. You get answers back from the personal network you have. Anyone recommend some wine to go with this? Online you might see Mike from Curious Wines on Twitter reply to that information request and you’ll respect his opinion as he’s the wine expert or you might respect that of an office colleague who knows a bit about wine. Being of use to the wine searcher or to the person the wine searcher goes to is personal marketing. It’s close enough to be reactive and works well enough that the relationship will remain personal over time.
As a company or a marketer, how are you fighting for those inches? How are you getting to know your customers and letting them get to know you?