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Advertising is dead. Long live Engagement.

Apr 25, Piyush Suri | 3 min read

Advertising is dead. 

Sometime in the 1950s, fat advertising budgets coupled with some of the greatest advertising minds (Ogilvy, Bernbach, Burnett etc.) resulted in the golden age of advertising. The math of large advertising budget and a product to sell could make ridiculous amounts of money for a company. 

 

Fast forward 2018, everything has changed.

 

Engagement is everything

For the first time in decades, the relationship between advertising spend and the sales has become non-linear. Marketers can surely pick up new customers by aggressive advertising but the results wear off quickly if there is no value-add to the customer.

More choices than ever for consumers, hundreds of platforms to market on and short attention spans have resulted in aiming for engagement, not just advertising.

Engagement is everything, and its harder than ever to achieve. 

 

The Rules of Engagement 

If content is king, then context is God

Truth be told, this golden rule originates from one of my favorite marketing gurus of the digital age, Gary Vaynerchuck. This is the decade of creating valuable content, helping your customers discover great stuff and communicating your narrative. But people forget that now more than ever, great content is predicated on the context. 

 What does this mean for brands? 

Contextual relevance in this age means respecting the platform and the audience. A business executive might be doing a different thing on Linkedin than on Instagram. Engaging brands realize this difference and respect the frame of time their audience is in, on the targeting platform.

Moreover, good brands respect their audience’s attention - if you want to sell a car, you really have to ask yourself how can you make it interesting and more relevant for this executive you’re targeting. 

 

Treat your customers like micro-influencers

Everything you do - every article copy you write, the brochure, the welcome gift, that standee design or that social ad becomes part of your brand. People experience it; form good or bad biases. If there is a negative impression, it gets stuck around for a long time, much longer than a good impression. Details are more important than you think.

 Micro Influencer Strategy

A great brand engagement not only converts customers but a consistent one turns those customers to micro-influencers. Patajanli, the now billion-dollar brand is the perfect example of this. By building a ‘your local brand’ narrative, combined with holistic Ayurvedic retail experience, it has thrived on almost no mainstream advertising (until recently). Patanjali customers are micro-influencers.    

 

Power of freebies 

Quality promotional products will outlast every piece of digital content you will create, period. If done right, your audience will make a customized gift their own, use it often to associate all positive emotions with the story of your brand. 

Custom Promotional Shaker

The touch and feel of a promotional product engages more senses than a regular brochure or a social ad. 

An article in the Journal of Marketing proved that people who got free product samples and freebies talked 20% more about it than those who didn't. They also are more likely to buy your product irrespective the cost, which is further validated by the Consumer Behavioral Theory.

5By7 helps companies use the power of freebies and promotional products to connect with their audience and build a brand. 

 

In Conclusion 

Brands have to work extra hard in the new marketing era, the old advertising guard is no more and new tactics need to be not only adopted but sharpened often. Value and consumer relevance mean more than ever in building engagement. The three key rules to creating differentiation and engagement are context is god, your customers are your micro influencers and using the power of customized freebies.  

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Piyush Suri

CEO & Chief Storyteller of 5By7. I write about Marketing Ideas, B2B Sales Tactics & Growth Strategies to help people build long-lasting & engaging brands.
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