"Advertising is based on one thing - happiness"
Don Draper, Mad Men
Everyone loved the show Mad Men. It brought back Madison Avenue’s advertising world of a bygone era, replete with powerful executives, billowing cigar smoke, and tailored suits.
While long gone are the 1960’s, it feels though that many companies haven’t moved on, especially when it comes to their marketing. They still live in an era where outrageous Don Draper style, top-of-the-mind billboard advertising is the way to go.
While Don Draper certainly did well for himself, the rise of digital technologies have not only give companies new opportunities, they have also changed the way people consume and make decisions in a fundamental way. Not changing and adapting your strategy constantly is a surefire way of getting left behind.
Here are five ways your marketing is outdated, and why Mad Men style advertising won’t work as well in a modern day marketing strategy.
1. You Dismiss New Platforms, Preferring to Stick With What Works
When a new platform or feature comes along (and that’s something that happens quite often), many companies will often dismiss the new, and just stick with what they’ve been doing. Reasons that often cite is that the platform doesn’t look right for them, or they don’t have time to try something new out.
But with the pace consumers and the landscape moves, not trying new things out often would be a grave mistake. Sure, not every platform or new feature is going to work out (look at Google+), but you only need to be an early adopter of one successful platform, or to nail one new feature before anyone else does, for the returns to be worth it all. If you stick to the 80/20 rule, and you’re always experimenting and testing new things out, you won’t regret it.
Live streaming is gathering momentum, and new advertising methods are now popping up all the time as major social networks start rolling out their monetization strategies.
2. You Think Social Media is Free
Many people believe that you don’t have to spend any money on social media to see returns. In fact, many companies consciously avoid ‘buying Likes’ on Facebook and are extremely wary about the efficacy of advertising on social media.
This all comes down to a bit of misinformation. Sure, social media is free-to-play, but not using advertising methods would mean you’re missing out on real opportunities to drive direct returns from social media. It also means you’ll be left behind while other companies surge ahead.
Social media analytics suites nowadays are comprehensive. Advanced view filtering, conversion pixels and more graphs and numbers than you can point a stick at mean you’ll be able to track your spend and ROI extremely easily.
3. You Don’t Update & Improve Your Website Consistently
Websites are expensive to build. As a result, once made, many companies don’t change their site again, apart from updating the content now and then. As a consequence, there are a surprising amount of websites out there that look like they were built in the 90’s.
If you don’t think updating your website is a big deal, think again. Earlier this year, Google rolled out an SEO update that heavily punished websites that didn’t have a mobile-optimised website. As SEO rules, UI conventions and customer expectations change, your website will need to keep pace.
The primary goal, however, is to improve your website’s conversions. Conversion expert Bryan Eisenberg, states that “most websites don’t have a massive traffic problem, but every website in a world has a conversion problem”. To make sure your site is always performing at its best, you’ll need to consistently use Analytics and A/B testing to improve its ability to convert over time. It’s virtually impossible to build the perfect website in one go, so it’s something you’ll have to keep developing over time.
4. You Think Marketing = Sales
Nod if you’ve heard the role ‘Marketing & Sales’ before. Chances are, you nodded.
Previously, this dual role would have worked, but not now. Marketing is not about selling your product (although the end goal is to obviously get consumers purchasing). Marketing is about understanding your customer, and building a relationship with them. Sales are about persuading someone to buy from you right then and there. While it might seem like subtle nuances, the mindset is completely different.
Don’t use your marketing channels to sell. Especially on social media, this approach just won’t fly. Instead, use marketing as a way to build relationships and find opportunities. While salespeople have their place in a modern company, your marketing team should not be it.
5. You Think It All Comes to Promotion and Virality
It’s great to be at the top of everyone’s mind - awareness is certainly a major part of a customer’s purchasing decision. However, it’s important to realise there are different ways to be at the top of someone’s mind. One way to do it is to incessantly shove your product down someone’s throat. Sure, people will remember you this way, but you’re not going to win friends.
While the Mad Men traditional approach to advertising is now outdated, one thing they do right is build an emotional connection with consumers. This is something that’ll never go out of style. By engaging your consumers in a meaningful and fulfilling way, you’ll secure customers who will remain loyal (and valuable to your business).
Oh, and forget trying to ‘make’ something go viral. Arguably, you can't just engineer virality - while there are certain elements of virality that can be replicated, you can’t just create something and bank on it becoming viral. Focus on building that relationship, and who knows, something good might come your way.
Modern marketing is constantly on the move, and it’s easy to be left behind. Over to you! What kind of old-school advertising elements do you think remain valid today? Do you have any other tips on keeping your marketing updated?
This guide provides an overview of the five key stages of design thinking, from empathy through to test. Find out how to apply the approach and start innovating at your organisation.