UnMarketing, UnBlogging, UnAdvertising and UnPodcasting: How to really reach people these days

We’ve all had this happen to us. You finally get the kids settled down at the dinner table, a long day of work is drifting away to the land of forget, your spouse is in fine spirits… it’s time to enjoy an all too rare occasion, sip some wine, and listen to the kids’ day. Then the phone rings. Your spouse looks annoyed, but you’re thinking of your Mom’s promise to call you last week, so with a cheerful “I’ll get it,” the phone is quickly snatched up before you can check the caller ID. “Hello sir, you have been selected to try the best product of its kind! How many can we sell you, three? Four?” Oh why hadn’t you looked at the caller ID! You don’t want to be rude, but you don’t intend to buy one of whatever this is, let alone three or four! How do you get on that “do not call” list? “No thanks, we’re not interested!” you practically yell, as you furiously jab the off button, since you cannot slam the receiver these days. Phew. Now back to dinner and the family.

What just happened? A company still pays to have a telemarketer cold call you because of a one-in-a-million chance that you’re a pushover and will buy something just because you feel sorry for the person on the other line? It’s a little unbelievable that advertising like this is still considered viable (especially when you study the tips and tricks of the trade), but it happens… a lot! Not only telemarketing, but popup ads still popup in our screens, lead generating gizmos still ask questions and tell us someone will be calling us about this unrelated product in order for you to get more coins for your virtual reality game, and we still get “trash” mail ads telling us we’re buying the wrong kind of toothpaste. Does it really work?

Scott Stratten, author of the very popular and entertaining book, UnMarketing, says this system is proven to be broken by the very fact that we as a society tend to hate telemarketers, furiously click the close icon when we get a popup ad, and automatically pause by the trash can on the way inside from collecting the mail to offload the junk mailers before they can clutter up our kitchen counters. Instead of berating people into buying a product, Stratten’s strategy is “all about positioning yourself as a trusted expert in front of your target market, so when they have the need, they choose you.”

How does he accomplish this? The man who has guided big brands like PepsiCo, Cirque du Soleil, and Adobe through the vast, intimidating world of social media marketing just… un-does it! Recently named one of the top 5 social media influencers in the world by Forbes.com, and boasting a current list of Twitter followers of 165,000, Stratten seems to have hit on a great un-idea. In his UnPodcast, Stratten constantly dissects what makes videos go viral, why some ads inspire people to actually watch them for entertainment on YouTube, and other aspects of un-friending and un-influencing people. The key element? People actually LIKE the videos they make viral. Something about a quirky joke that everyone enjoys, something that hits home with everyone and makes everyone want to share it with EVERYONE. How can you capture that essence and use it towards your advantage? You “stop marketing…start engaging!”

No one wants “buy this now!” shoved down their throat anymore. Did anyone ever?  Stratten repeatedly reminds us that we are dealing with consumers that are more educated than ever before. Easy access to the internet, hundreds of reviews and product comparisons has made buyers wary, and a dearth of real people interaction has actually opened up an opportunity for people with a dynamic personality to swoop in and win (um, un-win) potential customers longing for a personal relationship with their salesman!

Stratten himself is funny, engaging, and many people read his UnBooks, UnBlog and listen to his UnPodcast solely because he is a likeable guy with great stories and funny jokes we can all relate to. It’s small wonder that he is in great demand nationwide for his speaking engagements. Potential consumers are sucked in completely un-aware they are going to be consuming something because they are too busy laughing and nodding their heads in agreement. Who wouldn’t want to read a book entitled, “QR Codes Kill Kittens-How to Alienate Customers, Dishearten Employees, and Drive Your Business into the Ground”?  Is this brilliant or what? It is certainly timely.

I can heartily recommend reading Scott Stratten’s books, easily found on Amazon.com Currently in publication are his very first book, UnMarketing-Stop Marketing, Start Engaging, followed by a flipbook (yes, a flipbook for grownups!), The Book of Business (UnAwesome), and then, my favorite, QR Codes Kill Kittens… it’s a picture book… for fedup business people. A fourth book, UnSelling, is due sometime soon. This un-customer will definitely be pre-ordering it.

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Email Marketing: it’s not dead…yet.

Just as the poor-plague-ridden peasant says in the Monty Python video above, so too email marketing cries out (truthfully), “I’m not dead, yet!”  One of the services we offer here at Word Works is MailChimp campaign administration.  We create and administer your email newsletter campaigns by making the best use of that email list you’ve worked hard to obtain.  We know that email newsletters are on that nagging “to-do” list that never gets done unless you lock yourself in the office and put a sign out front that says “do not disturb!” and power through it for a few hours.  It’s “important” but not enough – in your estimation – for you to set aside time to do it.  And yet it is important, which is why we provide that vital service to our clients.

In all the fawning over social media these past years, people miss the huge opportunities that email marketing still presents.  Don’t you love the feeling of “found money”?  You’re putting away clothes or unpacking them and you found some cash in the pockets.  It’s a great feeling – because you didn’t realize it was there but you are so happy now that you’ve found it.  Email marketing is the same and here’s why you should use it:

#1: It works.  Do you ever wonder how/why Amazon, Netflix, Apple, or Gilt use email marketing?  Because they’ve spent millions of dollars in research and experience to prove it.  Can you honestly say you’ve never bought a product or service via an email prompt?  Indeed you have.  It’s about crafting the right message.

#2: It’s another medium.  As people push back against the mountains of email they receive every moment of every day, the very fact that they haven’t unsubscribed – these days a simple one-click motion – to yours is an indication to you that they are at least open to anything you have to say.  So say something meaningful!

#3:  It gives you an opportunity to track behavior.  MailChimp (we don’t dismiss Constant Contact – but we prefer a service that is freemium-based, like MailChimp).  You can see what “clicks” with your customers and shape/pivot accordingly.  It also gives you an opportunity to share “heart-to-heart” letters or nmailchimpotes that just don’t share as well in social media or websites, which are more and more the mediums of a moment.  Email pauses for a few moments more.

#4:  It’s where your competitors aren’t.  We all know that the best businesses do almost everything right.  As you aspire to be among the best you too must do things that your competitors aren’t doing, especially when it’s in a channel that is ignored and underutilized because it takes even more work than social media.  More and more people are realizing that all these things take a lot of work and you can’t just dump an email newsletter, like social media, as an additional task on a regular employee.

The golden age of email marketing may have passed with the peak of Groupon or LivingSocial (which are still around!), but there’s still plenty of business to be had in a silver or even bronze age that follows.  Don’t miss those opportunities!