Put a Face on Your Brand as a Marketer

I’ve been around long enough to have worked as a marketing professional both before and after the emergence of the Internet.

I’ve seen what was once called plain, old marketing transform into an array of digital marketing, social media and online capabilities we couldn’t have imagined back in the day.

Now we have artificial intelligence, chatbots, smartphone apps, ephemeral content, SEO, ABM, AR, VR, YouTube, podcasts, geo-fencing, blockchain, TikTok, voice search, programmatic advertising, omnichannel marketing and social commerce.

Having at our disposal practically all the tools, tactics and technologies we could ask for, it’s a ridiculously awesome time to be a marketer.

Unfortunately, it’s also an incredibly difficult time to be in this business, as those on the receiving end of our messages are sick and tired of our ads.

Customers, consumers and constituents are changing channels. They’re turning off and tuning out. They’re doing whatever it takes to free themselves from the cacophony of noise that our promotional content represents to them, even paying to avoid it.

That’s right, according to a recent article in The New York Times, “people hate ads.”

Ouch!

What’s the solution? Change with the times. Evolve. Adapt. Transform. Incorporate more social media into your marketing mix and align yourself with your audience members. Be authentic, transparent and immediate in your communications. Tell more and sell less. Be human.

When I saw Mark Schaefer speak in Boston last spring at Jebbit’s Declared 2019 conference, he stressed how important it is to be human as a company. His latest book, Marketing Rebellion, even says, “the most human company wins.”

A few months later, at the Digital Summit Boston conference in October of 2019, I saw another iconic marketing thought leader, Seth Godin, deliver his keynote presentation, saying at one point, “if you’re going to do human marketing, your job is going to take a really long time.”

Therein lies the rub, the answer to why so many businesses and brands are still resistant to add more personal, transparent, free-form communications to their marketing and sales programs.

Talk isn’t cheap, especially small talk. They would rather cut to the chase and close the sale ASAP at the expense of working towards a long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationship.

They are being penny-wise and pound foolish.

In 2020, transparency is the best policy. Embellishment, verisimilitude, smoke and mirrors or any form of manipulation will only get marketers so far today. If you covet loyal, long-term customers, clients, connections, consumers and constituents, being open and honest is the way to get them.

Your pitch to your audience reflects who you are as a fellow human being. If you think of advertising and sales that way, you’ll think twice about how you’re going about business as a marketing professional. You’ll be putting not just a face on your brand, but integrity over a quick buck, keeping people’s interest in what you have to offer for an uninterrupted, indefinite period of time and coming out ahead in the long run.

Bob Cargill is an all-purpose social media marketing consultant, copywriter, content creator, teacher and public speaker available for hire. He is also the current president of AMA Boston.

This article was first published on LinkedIn on January 2, 2020, here.

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