Earlier this week I wrote a post on our HubSpot Inbound Marketing blog about marketing creatively. The real takeaway from that post, although you should still give it a read, is that successful marketing hasn’t really changed over the years, only the channel you market through. Marketing simply has some different tools and techniques needed in order to be effective. We have all heard the rant, and probably given it a few times to coworkers, that print isn’t as effective as it used to be and costs a ton of money. Most of the time people throw away mail without even reading it. Finally, and probably most telling, people don’t pay attention to television commercials anymore because they can turn to another of the hundreds of channels available or record television programs on DVR, allowing them to fast forward through the commercials.
The television commercials are something that I’m especially bad about. I have been known to intentionally wait ten minutes before watching one of my favorite shows so that it can start recording, and then I’m able crunch a normal thirty-minute show into twenty-two minutes. Yes, twenty-two minutes is how long a normal television show is minus the commercials. Those precious eight minutes allow me to multitask that much more and save me a quarter of the show’s running time! This is just one example of how I have cut out traditional marketing.
So where I’m going with this is that the rules of the game have changed but the game itself has not. A hundred years ago in order to be a successful marketer you had to be creative. Today to be a successful marketer you STILL have to be creative. Today we simply have a few different tools at our disposal to connect with our target audience. The web has completely changed many of the rules of engagement but not the fact that people will block you out if you don’t have a creative way to connect with them. I work with over twenty small to medium-sized businesses every week talking about their marketing strategies and how to utilize this new tool set. The people that succeed are the ones who can creatively come up with ways to use the Facebooks, YouTubes, Websites, and Emails.
I know this whole post sounds overly simple, and the truth is none of this is rocket science. Your audience most likely doesn’t understand rocket science so why do you need to understand it? What your audience does understand is that their time is precious and that they want to (a) easily find what they are looking for and (b) possibly enjoy some entertainment while they are looking for it.
The challenge is to understand these new tools well enough to creatively compel your audience. The tools are your paint brush and paints, but you still have to paint your own Mona Lisa! Every school has a website. What makes your website unique? Many schools have a Facebook page or student blog. Why should I spend my time consuming yours? These are the real challenges. This is what truly makes our jobs interesting and exciting.