Disruption is Here! Your Marketing Has to Adapt!


ow many times do you say to someone these days, "the world is going mad" or words to that affect.

Trump, Brexit, the amount that footballers are paid, the impact of social media on young people. We live in a world of constant disruption.

I was doing a talk recently and asked the 40 people in the room how many of them had watched a TV programme live the evening before, that wasn't sport or news? One hand went up. One person had not been timeshifting or streaming. Our viewing habits have been disrupted. We no longer need to be in front of a TV at a specific time to watch anything.We don't even need to record it.

On another occasion I was talking to around 250 16/17 Year Olds at a school in Belfast. Line of Duty, the BBC's most successful drama for several years, was on at peak time, Sunday night at 9.00. It was produced in Belfast. I asked how many were watching it. Around 17 hands went up. Not long ago, it would have been 200. When I asked how many had Netflix, 80%+ of the young people raised their hands, and 65% for Amazon Prime. Who would have thought tha the BBCwould not play a major role in the media lives of school pupils, within one generation.

All of this has led me to look at marketing, and how this new media world has disrupted the way that products and services can get in front of and engage target audiences. You can no longer make a TV ad and rely on it being seen by 80% of your audience withon a week. In television media planning we used to buy 400 ratings because 65% of the audience would see the ad 4 times, and that would have an impact. Not any more.

The underlying disruption of all of this is that we now have complete control over our own media choices. We watch what we want when we want. We can choose programmes from all over the world. We can watch on a bus, or in a queue. We are free.

So if the market is disrupted, how do we disrupt the marketing?

Traditional marketing starts with the product and sells it to the selected audience. What tell them about it, what good will it do them, what price will they pay.

That doesn't work any more.

Why? Because the audience can choose to ignore you. They work hard to avoid advertising. They can go online when they want to shop. They are in control.

So to meet the media disruption with marketing disruption we turn marketing on it's head, and rather than start with the product, we start with the audience.

Audience First Marketing.

What does this mean?

Using publicly available data we can analyse the target audiences We can create in depth personas that we use to build a content plan that first of all engages, then interests and allows us to open a conversation with the person about what they are interested in, not about us. If hte person is a young woman interested in music and socialising, we talk to them about those topics. And when we open the conversation we make a connection with our brand. The same goals are then achieved by very different routes for different audiences, from the social media channels to the style of content, using images, video, stories and lists. The content will appear in their news feeds where they don't want to see random advertising. A headline that leads them to content that they want, and may even share will be much more productive than an ad with a library photo of a blonde American girl.

Turning marketing on its head, from product first to Audience First does not come from simply wanting to be different, it comes from analysis of how people are living their lives in a digitally connected world.

You are competing for engagement not just visibility. If someone clicks on your content, and spends time reading it, or watching it, you have created a connection, a recognition, and an engement. And that is gold. Follow up with more content, and a free download or competition, capture an email, and then you have a direct connection with a potential buyer.

Too much time is spent in digital marketing simply pushing out ads that don't click, or content that is not interesting. The tech side of Facebook and Google are buyable commodities, the strategy that drives them needs proper planning.

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2020 Tim McKane - on WIx. Belfast Northern Ireland