Don't Look to Marketers for Inspiration

When every marketer is studying the same brands, reading the same case studies and trying the same tactics, you end up with a sea of sameness. Every ad has a similar look. Copy is indistinguisbale between brands. And blog posts are just written to outrank others in Google rather than deliver a specific message.

Most marketing is today disposable. It's an interruption, thrown in front of audiences that largely don't want to consume it.  

The best marketing, though, doesn't seem like marketing. As advertising innovator Howard Gossage said: “People read what interests them. Sometimes it’s advertising.” And that's true of any form of content — podcasts, videos, blog posts, emails, etc. People consume what interests them.

“People read what interests them. Sometimes it’s advertising.” — Howard Gossage

As marketers, it's our job to create editorial content and shows that interest our audience... that keep them coming back. To do this content needs to be either —

  1. Highly entertaining
  2. Super informative/educational

— or ideally both.

When it comes to finding inspiration, it's best to step outside of the marketing bubble. Study the successful media brands, podcast producers and reality TV shows instead of focusing on what your compitors are doing.

Media businesses live and die by attention — not awareness

Netflix doesn't celebrate one million people being vaguely aware of Chef's Table or having seen a 3-second Facebook clip about The Irishman. What Netflix cares about is how many hours people spend watching. ("Valued hours" is one of Netflix's key metrics.)

Marketers should care about the same thing (how much time people are spending with their brand). But online marketing has traditionally been focused on generting impressions, not leaving a lasting impression on your audience.

That's changing though.

Witsia is creating shows to build affinity with its audience. And Mailchimp is investing heavily in new podcasts and video series for its customers to “get them more connected to Mailchimp,” Mark DiCristina, the company’s head of brand told Variety. (At Buffer, we released our first narrative podcast series, Breaking Brand, last year too.)

Marketing is no longer about quick hits and how far you can spread your message — it’s about creating content that people actually want to spend time with.

Remarkable storytelling always finds an audience. And if you can tell the right stories in compelling enough ways you'll be able to build strong, lasting relationships with your customers.

To achieve this, we need to stop thinking like marketers and think like producers or showrunners.

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