The Death of Traditional Marketing

So I’m ready to ruffle a few feathers… but if you are addicted to spending insane amounts of money in an effort to interrupt enough people into becoming “aware” of your business… Skip this. You are not going to like it!!!

Recently I have been glued to the show “Mad Men”. For those who aren’t familiar with it, the show features the cunningly creative employees of an advertising agency in the 1960’s. It is a riveting show, demonstrating the marketing tactics from the past and how brands could get their message across. What I find really interesting is how similar our current marketing tactics are today from those in our past… at least our marketing efforts seem to be.

But the unfettered truth is… THE GAME HAS CHANGED

If you are throwing brand advertising at the masses and hoping something will stick, you are playing a game that is already over.

Sure, multinational companies are still swinging for the fences that are no longer there, but they have millions to blow on creative ad campaigns, for now. And spending millions feels good. Seeing your billboard downtown or your commercial on TV seems like a strategic win. At least you are doing something, right?

My concern is the message this sends to small and medium sized businesses. If you think that throwing money at media is the only way to reach your prospects… IT’S NOT.

Think about Jared Fogle, yeah the subway guy, who told a compelling story of how he lost so much weight, simply by eating Subway.

During the duration of the Jared campaign, Subway sales more than doubled to $8.2 billion. Following Jared’s brief departure as Subway spokesman in 2005, sales immediately dropped 10 percent, prompting Subway to quickly bring him back.

His story was useful. It was inspiring. It was educational. It was about the benefits, not “brand advertising”.

Ironic that instead of coming up with “creative” commercials every month, they stuck with what people wanted… and it worked!

So what does this look like for your business? Here are a few steps for the business that does not have millions of dollars to throw at traditional advertising:

1)    Build an audience with useful, educational, and entertaining content.

2)    Listen carefully to their frustrations, fears, problems, and desires.

3)    Create or adapt products and services that better serve THEM.

This is a very simple strategy that can be difficult to execute. But it’s absolutely worth it.

If you had enough money, the good old days of brand advertising were truly good, like shooting fish in a barrel. Those days are long gone, but the opportunities still exist if you look for them in the right places.

-Cole Spriggs- Director of Marketing for Kroma Marketing (A company that finds profitable marketing strategies at a fraction of the cost.)

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