The Immeasurable Conversion Factor
As marketers and storytellers, we are faced with an ever-increasing challenge of staying relevant in what can only be described as the most competitive and crowded brand environment in existence. Categories are filled with veteran businesses, newcomers, and the dreaded “me too’s”. Functional messaging surrounding products and services is blending together, making it difficult for consumers to make personalized purchase decisions.
So what’s the solution? To be hyper creative!
To be clear, this does not mean being creative with reckless abandon, or to execute without a sound strategy in place. That path runs the risk of not only confusing your target demographic, but also alienating them.
Take men’s shaving as an example. This has historically been an industry hyper focused on the functional benefits that the product offers (i.e. number of blades, irritation reduction, closeness of shave). When the market became crowded with the Gillettes and Schicks of the world, it became a battle of who could provide the best shave, at the best price. Fast forward to today; consumers demand a deeper story, and more importantly brands that can more easily fit within their lifestyle.
Enter Dollar Shave Club.
Boasting an as good, if not better product, Dollar Shave Club splashed into the market in a much different way than its competitors. By being extremely creative. Instead of leading with function, they led with emotion and story. By showcasing everyday “guy moments” in an irreverent, almost satirical manner, they were able to not only catch the attention of their demographic, but subtly begin to build awareness of their portfolio of products. At this moment in time, their consumers are purchasing a story, and a lot of it too!
This example proves a few key points about hyper-creativity in modern marketing.
1. Consumers aren’t always interested in function first and foremost. In fact, a recent study by Gartner shows that 57% of women turn to social media for ideas and inspiration, rather than validating a final purchase. Social has proven to be a great medium for brands to post testimonials of people who have used their products and services. Rather than spending hours doing research and/or talking to industry professionals at length, people are relying on the real-life examples told by real life people. At the end of the day, the human element trumps all else.
2. It’s ok to be radically different than the competition. In fact, it should be top of mind in any tactic/channel. In the world of digital marketing, much of what we focus on is heavily driven by analytics, and for good reason. However, the success of digital tactics like social media, programmatic and display are only as good as the content they are serving up. Users are bombarded with advertisements every time they open their phone, and they are quick to dismiss them. That’s why it is crucial to have eye grabbing, hyper creative content to pique their interest first and foremost.
3. The story that first hooks a consumer can be as long as the marketer wants it to be, as long as the core message is still relevant. While abbreviated promotional campaigns can do a fantastic job in generating awareness in short order, extended storylines are a great way of building long lasting brand equity. If you can usher a consumer through the sales funnel while telling a robust story, then that consumer will be exponentially more likely to become an advocate for the brand and begin telling that same story to people in their bubble.
While marketing in a very competitive time can be a daunting undertaking for most businesses, it can and should also be an extremely exciting one. The opportunity to be unique has never been greater. It’s time to pass on the mediocre, and go for the unexpected!