Marketing should look back rather than always forward

people

Working in marketing since 5 years, I realized how much time you spend to always search for a new idea, “something that still doesn’t exist”.  I focused my career on SEO and content marketing, and god only knows how many posts per day are written about the next big thing or “what companies should do” or even better “definitive guide to win your customers”.

There is a constant race to invent something new, and yet many companies are doing it wrong. Companies are asking copywriters to write no matter what, because “content is the way to go”. You rarely focus on the quality, because there is not enough time or enough money, or simply the important part is the number of posts written per month (yeah, nice KPIs). Companies are opening blogs, social profiles and so on that quickly become ghost cities or even worse a dump of everything created.

I was going through Mackenzie Fogelson presentation called “Why content strategy isn’t enough” and a voice in my head (nope, I’m not crazy) was saying: why doesn’t marketing stop for a moment and look back, rather than always forward?

Let me explain. Look at this slide:

customer

It’s a simple concept, but effective. And the sad thing is that apparently in 2016 we still need to encourage companies to be “honest about products” , “don’t let customers down” and “act with integrity all times”.

Wait, really? Those principles are basically the same thing my grandmother (ciao nonna!) always said to me and my family. My grandma never had a company but she was saying she was going to that shop, to that bakery, to that fruit stand because they were honest about what they were selling, they were kind and true and they were talking with clients understanding how to improve.

This was happening 50 years ago for my grandmother, and it’s crazy to think that after all these years we are not able to do the same thing online. We are spending millions of euros in stupid marketing (interruption marketing anyone?), we are talking about “stellar” content or “awesome” customer experience, yet customers fly away at the first chance. We are preaching to create a stellar content, and what about when all the companies will create stellar content? Are we going to suggest to create “interstellar” content? Apocalyptic content maybe?

Here is my suggestion: rather than always push forward, stop and look back. Go back to what was making the world a better place, because all online marketers have a lot to learn from traditional marketers; all big companies have a lot to learn from small shops and retailers. Traditional marketers weren’t even aware of the term “marketing”, but yet they were better than us, online marketers.

I’m asking modern marketing to go back to the roots of what was making a product a great product, an experience a great experience, and try to recreate that online. Rather than scream, talk. Talk with your customers, talk with the people in your company, talk with people who was doing the same thing years ago (before all this online craziness). Just because you are online and you have millions to waste doesn’t mean you are cool. Because in the meantime, people are still going back to the small cozy shops down the street, because they trust the people inside or they go online to shops where they can talk with real people on the phone or where there is a human contact. You can have the “stellar” content as much as you want, but it’s not enough. You know what? 78% of companies can even stop writing, can shut down blogs and social media, and they will never notice a change. The rest of the companies are doing just fine without writing 13 posts per week, and without spending money in interrupting the very same customers you are trying to impress.

My grandmother didn’t go to that retailer because he was interrupting her on her way to the church or home by screaming at her a different offer every day.

Looking back is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign that you care. 

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