Say it First and Make it Wicked

It’s those people, and brands, willing to be the first to say today, what we’re all thinking, that will win tomorrow. 

Have you experienced live-tweeting? You know, the digital version of note-passing in class. The act of telling ‘Yo Mama” jokes to strangers watching the same show. A cultural phenomenon which involves being the first to troll the entertainment you choose to watch.

The concept is unique. Unlike anything we’ve seen throughout communication history. Real-time discussions about the topics we care about. No other medium allows people to share their thoughts, opinions or jokes to mass audiences, instantly. Unfiltered. It’s theoretically and technically revolutionary.

So of course businesses see dollar signs. Wherever people go, and whatever they see or hear, will attract advertising. Live-tweeting is today’s untapped advertising resource. Brands are joining the discussions; getting involved and trying to attract and engage. But just because brands are learning to show up to the party, doesn’t mean their invited inside.

The 2014 Billboard Music Awards aired this past weekend. ABC was smart enough to know they need to be part of the discussion. #Billboards2014 and #BillboardAwards were trending hashtags all night. And ABC made sure to stamp the entire broadcast with their hashtag of choice; encouraging viewers to join the conversation and live-tweet. Viewers listened. Topics, thoughts and jokes streamed throughout the Twitterverse. On paper, it worked.

But what ABC missed, or more specifically, couldn’t have predicted, was an even bigger trend.

Lorde-Performing-at-Billboard-Music-Awards-2014

When Lorde performed, Twitter went crazy.

 

Was everyone making the same exact correlation simultaneously? Was Lorde so obviously a Wicked Witch of the West clone that the analogy created itself? Or did one person make the joke and everyone followed? Probably a bit of both.

Neither ABC nor the Billboard Music Awards could have predicted this trend. No marketer could. It was fluid. Organic. Original. Memorable. Obvious. People saw the joke and understood, immediately, there was truth behind the punchline.

Live-tweeting, and social media as a whole, is filled with these examples. Brands spend money trying to get people talking. And then some random person, with no real influence one-ups the pros and finds success.

For the digital marketing and advertising industry to find success on social media, pre-packaged and planned messages will never work. They’re too safe. Too scripted. Too perfect. And in business, the safe way almost always gets chosen.

Which works out for the few people and brands willing to cross the line. To make the insight, joke or observation we’re all thinking, but not quick enough (or brave enough) to post.

Let’s hypothetical:

If the first person to post the “Wicked Witch of the West,” comment was secretly a marketing advocate for the release of a new, re-mastered version of the Wizard of Oz, how many extra DVDs would they have helped sell?

Or, what if this person was actually the social media marketer in charge of promoting WICKED the musical? And the day after starting the “Wicked Witch of the West” trend, you saw a commercial for the musical. Would you be more inclined to buy because it was fresh in your mind?

Business and brands can’t plan for these unscripted life moments. But when they happen, and people are willing to listen, an unrivaled marketing channel opens. It’s those people, and brands, willing to be the first to say today, what we’re all thinking, that will win tomorrow.

 

 

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How-I-Met-Your-Mother-Pie-Chart-Favorite-Bars-BecauseYouGoogledMe

1st World Digital Marketing Problems

 

In essence, we must fail to succeed. – Daniel M. Christensen

What can you learn from reading LinkedIn updates? That everyone is an expert. Regardless of their field, every professional is convinced they must prove they have all the answers. Because of the inherent self-promotional attitude necessary, marketing professionals suffer from this “guru-mentality” at much higher percentages. Every marketer, especially in the digital realm, is convinced their methods will lead to success. They’ve tested, perfected and out-performed all of their peers.

The truth is, however, most digital marketers simply pick-and-choose segments of data, test results and insights to “Frankenstein” their own personal creed. No marketer likes to admit they’re still learning.

Luckily this method works. Too many executives, bosses and decision-makers know too little about the industry. They hear their business must exist online, but don’t know how truly make it grow. They understand social media is culture’s latest “fad,” and believe simply existing on Facebook will grow their business.

They want success, but don’t always believe in investing in true talent. True success comes from true talent. Talent’s the offspring of competition. To compete is to fail. And to fail is to learn. In essence, we must fail to succeed.

But before one can succeed, it is necessary to teach the inexperienced. In today’s corporate environment, all people, regardless of title, must keep social media in their mind. Today, no business-related action lives in isolation. It is crucial to include marketing teams in most business decisions, since each decision affects customers. And marketing teams are often the first point-of-contact for many customers. Whether through social media, email, or online review, customer’s opinions are often first heard by marketing teams.

Unfortunately, too many people are still unsure what digital marketing entails. It’s time we discussed today’s most common misconceptions.

1st World Digital Marketing Problems:

What my Boss thinks I do…

How-I-Met-Your-Mother-Pie-Chart-Favorite-Bars-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What my Co-Workers think I do…

Hamster-on-a-Piano-Derek-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What the Accounting Department thinks I do…

The-Joker-Burns-Money-Stack-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What the Web Designer thinks I do…

Zoolander-Files-in-Computer-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What the I.T. Guy thinks I do…

Hackers-I-Want-a-Cookie-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What Google Search thinks I do…

Cats-and-Kitties-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What my Customer’s Inbox thinks I do…

Hoarding-Burried-Alive-Newspapers-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What my Grandmother thinks I do…

Iron-Man-2-Touch-Screen-Scene-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What my Friends think I do…

South-Park-World-of-Warcraft-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What my Optometrist thinks I do…

Clockwork-Orange-Treatment-Scene-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What Teenagers think I do…

A-Night-at-the-Roxbury-BecauseYouGoogledMe

Mayweather-vs-Maidana-The-Moment-Mike-Tyson's-Punchout

Recruit Redditors for Your Marketing Needs

The next-great marketer is more likely to come
from Reddit than Harvard.

Whoever created the first The Most Interesting Man in the World meme deserves a cushy job from Dos Equis. Sure, the commercials, created by Euro RSCG Worldwide  went viral themselves. Similar to Chuck Norris, The Most Interesting Man in the World is known for achieving unachievable greatness. With enviable swagger, and perfect poise, The Most Interesting Man in the World is exactly as his name implies.

 

But in recent years, the commercials have trended second to the popular meme. You can’t visit a 9GagCheezburger, or Tickld , without seeing a The Most Interesting Man in the World meme. The setup and punchline are so easy to understand, replicate and share. The meme is likely selling as many Dos Equis beers as any commercial advertising.

Most-Interesting-Man-in-the-World-Best-Example-Paradoxes

Viral marketing is the next evolution of marketing. And similar to other forms of evolution, it occurs gradually, without anyone truly noticing. You may know it better as content marketing. Or social media marketing. But the goal is the same; create memorable content that is shared across the web. In effect, creating brand advocates who actively and openly endorse your message. All the great companies are participating.

From GoDaddy

 

to Old Spice

 

and Taco Bell

 

even Sprint.

 

Their approach is simple. “See our content. Like our content. Share our content.” It’s (relatively) cheap marketing. Turning viewers/users into brand advocates. When a consumer shares a brand’s content with a friend, the brand is receiving a word-of-mouth endorsement, along with forging an additional advertising channel.

Every marketing firm and advertising agency is looking to become the next viral thing. To create the next internet sensation. Unfortunately for them, it usually comes organically.

Like from some sinister looking cat,

 

or an innocent kid on drugs.

 

But sometimes brands have success. Gangnam Style wasn’t an accident. The record label perfectly calculated their marketing strategy. By first building a Korean audience, then gradually promoting Psy on American media networks, they were able to turn Gangnam Style into the most viral video of all-time

 

Devil’s Due, a horror movie, which by all accounts, bombed in the theaters, succeeded in their viral marketing. Unfortunately the movie couldn’t hold up to the “scares,” of their prank video. But the buzz for the opening weekend was huge.

 

In the very near future, it will be the creators of viral content that will become the most successful marketers. These creators understand what the internet is looking for. How to develop it. Promote it. Optimize and share it.

You won’t hear me claiming to be on the level of any of the content creators above, but I do understand the importance of honing the craft. Experimenting. Practicing. Testing. Failing. Learning.

Today I created some content, a gif, to promote an event. SHARE if You LIKE.

Mayweather-vs-Maidana-The-Moment-Mike-Tyson's-Punchout

A Professional Introduction

Remember when marketing and advertising was simpler? Buy a commercial during primetime, or in the Sunday paper, and rest assure you’ll have eyes on your message. Try that today and risk your target audience fast-forwarding through your commercial, or asking, “what’s a newspaper?” The options were not only narrower, but more popular. Netflix, Pandora and RSS Feeds have essentially killed the market-saturation approach. The internet has created a segmented market, and having all eyes on your message is, if not impossible, at least improbable. There are simply too many entertainment options competing for attention. How can Mr. or Mrs. Business tell the world they exist?

Every day the industry shifts closer to inbound, and away from outbound marketing. The consumer, if not actually smarter, is at least more clever about filtering messages. People, in general, spend much of their day trying to avoid advertisements. The shift is leading to companies utilizing a “branding” approach. Pushing the “brand,” rather than the “product or service,” prevents the consumer from instinctively tuning-out. A beneficial result of this shift is how creative possibilities expand. Focusing on “brand” broadens the businesses’ message. The objective shifts from, “buy our product,” to, “like us.”

Diversification has long been the safety net of investing. Even marketing strategies have incorporated the concept. Rather than focus a budget on a handful of media formats, spread the dollars across several. Not only does this allow for better market testing, but increases the likelihood of reaching your target audience. This isn’t a groundbreaking concept. Traditional marketing has prospered with this strategy for years. What is new, however, is the depth at which this concept is no longer a suggestion. Diversify or perish.

Today’s top marketing talent will be diverse. They will understand how to design quality content. How to create and curate. What it takes to build social engagement. How to turn a Like in to a Share. And a Follow in to a Customer. They will test and optimize as second-nature. Their ears and eyes will always be open to the latest trends, industry news and the competition. Most importantly, they will be capable of managing all of these concepts simultaneously. Top marketers will understand how to produce a commercial, upload it to YouTube, promote it on Facebook and Twitter, compose emails linking to it, edit blog entries about it, develop keywords for PPC advertising, and how to craft titles and alt-text for organic optimization. The segmentation of marketing disciplines, into specialties, is a diminishing necessity. Diversify or perish, in business, and professionally.

Internal corporate synergy is no longer an appealing business model, it’s an absolute mandate. The decisions of one department can no longer live in isolation. The consumer can now take their complaint directly to Twitter, for the entire world to see. Handling issues exclusively in-house can be detrimental in today’s culture. To succeed in marketing, all business divisions must communicate and collaborate. And the only way to truly foster this cooperation is to assure your marketer(s) understand the bottom-to-top concepts thoroughly. Today’s marketer(s) must understand the depth of systems, be they platforms, media formats or devices, because they all intersect. SEO, social media and advertising must all connect, and success depends on acquiring the talent that understands it all.

Today, more than ever, creativity is the key to marketing success. Digital marketing is such a new and evolving industry, that profit depends on equal parts “best practices” and “outside-the-box thinking.” The goal of every marketer should be: experiment, test, learn, and repeat. Follow the successes of industry leaders and expand upon their insights. However, as a wise man once said about obtaining knowledge:

“The more you know, the more you know you don’t know, you know?”

~ Daniel M. Christensen