It's the all-important difference between just reaching customers and actually touching them. For most of us, it's not so hard to remember the time when TV, radio, print ads, and even (God forbid) telemarketing calls were the only way to get the word out on your business. Successful marketing relied much more on the amount of money businesses are able to spend, rather than what they're trying to say - and all they kept saying was how great their products were. Being on the receiving end of these ads, you'll know it doesn't really work. Gee Ranasinha of Kexino points out, "We don't care about marketing because most marketing doesn't care about us."So, why are businesses still making the same mistake today?So many companies today, especially the "big players," spend ridiculous amounts of money for little to no return. What's more, these big spenders invariably lose to others that spend a fraction of the amount on their advertising. As Mahesh Murthy of India's Economic Times puts it, "Increasingly, a big ad spend is not a sign of brand health, but of brand illness. If your brand needs to pay to be on media and can't earn its way there by its own remark-worthiness, then you're simply not being smart enough."This isn't limited to traditional advertising media, either. With the infinite possibilities presented by the online universe, many migrate online just to keep making the same mistakes. There are countless pop ups, banners, and so many other types of ads - all being ignored, or worse, actually driving people away despite initial interest in the site.
Today, we live in what is often referred to as "The Age of Transparency." This means that whatever your marketing message, people will know the truth of it, and quick. Moreover, this also means that if you are somehow targeted by a smear campaign, you should damn well be able to prove your innocence. An article by The Guardian's Scott Monty cited the "pink slime" scandal to hit McDonald's not too long ago. In response to the alleged gross disregard to the sanctity of human food, McDonald's Canada actually posted a YouTube video showing the entire process in creating their signature nuggets. This not only disproved the smear campaign, but has so far earned almost 4.5 million views and 9,000 likes.The moral of the story?Marketing is no longer about tricking people into thinking your product is more than it is. It has returned to its proper place as a mere component in your business's overall 'machinery' (sorry for the pun). The most important aspect of your business has always been and always will be the product or service that you offer. Make it good, make it sincere, and make it something that people will want to buy. Everything else is just gravy (again, sorry).