No Ads World
Content Marketing, Customer Experience, digital marketing

How to be Ready for the World Beyond Advertising?

The following picture is of a small homestay in Thekkady in Kerela. This homestay enjoys rave reviews on Trip Advisor. The owner is not an MBA and not even a graduate.

He doesn’t do any advertising. What he does is taking care of his customer so much so that he enjoys 91% 5-star reviews from customers.

Panthalams Homestay

Recently, Lulu Raghavan, MD of Landor shared a link on LinkedIn of the conference where P&G CMO Mark Pritchard, talked about the new World with No Ads. There is also a book titled Beyond Advertising.

When there is a buzz around and experts are talking about World Beyond Advertisement, days are not far. Are you ready?  Let’s look at this closely.

How many advertisements do you come across in a day? Plenty.

On mobile, TV, Radio, newspaper, FB and other social platforms. But out of these plenty how many ads do we really watch. read or listen?

None. We switch channels, block ads, ignore newspaper ads. We just want to avoid every ad we come across during the day. We also avoid telemarketing calls we receive during whole day.

People neither trust nor are interested in ads.

& yet companies are pouring money in these ads.

The cheese has moved and companies familiar with the ads world push hard and invest more to see the result.

The problem is summed up by author and blogger Mark Schaefer.

To achieve greatness in this ad-free environment, we need a new mindset. We need to change from “sell, sell, sell” to “entertain,” “captivate, or “help, help, help.”  That’s very difficult to do because we have been programmed for decades to sell. Our internal quarterly and annual goals are based on higher and higher sales objectives. So, we have a lot of obstacles to move to this new mindset.           

The issue is of a new mindset in the new ad-free world.

Many companies have misunderstood Digital Marketing as Online ads. It is but it is not the whole story

This is because when people click on the links, they see nothing valuable. They see only sales pitch and sales content.

Digital platforms have enabled sharing of better and helpful content, sharing customer reviews and experiences. This is what in real digital marketing is.

The two biggest marketing misconceptions:

Digital Marketing: Generally believed to be Digital and social media advertising but, it is a platform which enables existing customers to share their brand experiences with their social circles. When this happens, this amplifies the brand awareness and the brand gets benefit of new customers without much resistance.

Handpicked related post: Why is your Digital Marketing not effective?

Content Marketing: Generally believed to be content for marketing, but it is the content which helps the target audience which in turn becomes a regular consumer of the content. When this happens they start trusting the brand. And when the time comes they become the consumer of the product /services.

This could be the reason Digital Marketing which is a $209 billion industry but generates an average conversion rate of only 3.75%.

Content marketing means acting like a publisher, consistently creating content that our customers actually like to read and share. Content marketing is how to build an audience and attract subscribers who opt-in to allow you into their already over-crowded email inbox. (Marketing Insider Group)

But quarterly target driven companies expect a baby to be delivered in 3 months because they have the pre-set targets to achieve.

This quick fix approach triggers quick fix action. The result is 3.75% conversion.

Rather than solving the target audience’s problem they try to solve their own sales and target problems with mediocre and product driven content. Useful for neither.

New drivers of business are not advertising but

  1. Purpose above Profit

  • Are you an honest brand?
  • Are you working for a social change?
  • Are your business practices non-corrupt?
  • Do you care about the health of your customers?

 This is more than CSR. This is conscious capitalism. & people value this approach.

According to a Nielsen study, half of the global consumers said they would reward companies that give back to society by paying more for their goods and services.

Jon Alexander, director and founder of consultancy The New Citizen Project says “What I think is clear is that only businesses that can develop a new relationship with citizens will generate long-term, sustainable value.”

Research from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services in association with EY found: Companies that operate with a clear and driving sense of purpose outperformed the S&P 500 by a factor of 10 between 1996 and 2011.

In this new scenario, imagine companies which even do not wish to invest in creating helpful content to help their target audience?

Here is what the author of the Book The Purpose Economy Aaron Hurst has to say about the new purpose economy:

Handpicked related post: Is your Marketing in tune with the New Purpose Economy?

  1. Useful Content

In my previous post – Digital Marketing Sans Content Marketing, Why You Need to Worry – I have covered How companies are investing content.

Good quality helpful content can influence all the three stages of buyers’ journey. It can create awareness about the products, it also helps buyers in evaluating options. It also helps in decision-making process.

But the decision stage is also influenced hugely by customer reviews. Buyers would like to evaluate other options too. & here the next driver of customer reviews/acquaintance’s referral works.

Fidelity Group - Content Marketing

Fidelity creates content to help their target audience. Other examples are given in my content post.

Handpicked related post: Know how early movers are killing Content Marketing

  1. Customer Reviews

How many of us buy a new product/ avail services after reviewing online customer reviews? Be it mobile phone, electronics goods, hotel booking, insurance or banking services, even wall clocks, and sports shoes.

Reviewing and reading customer reviews have become a part of the buyers’ journey. If the brand cannot create an impact at this critical point of the journey, the competitor who can wins.

Even if your brand has won at the awareness and consideration stage, in the final decision stage, customer reviews can take the potential buyers away from your brand.

What will enable enviable customer reviews? Of course, better customer experience. Customers write about every aspect of their experience. From packaging to functionality to how sales person behaved and much more. Everything in the entire buyers’ experience journey is up for customer reviews. You will not know what will turn off the potential buyers.

Handpicked related post: Where Content Marketing meets Customer Experience

On Amazon book reviews, a comment about bad quality of book pages influenced my decision to move from print copy to ebook. At another instance, while I was reviewing homestay in Kerala, I found one of the homestays that enjoyed rave reviews. I was about to decide in favour of that homestay, but one of the reviewers wrote;” Tea is not available in the homestay. Travelers have to go to the nearby hotel.” Despite otherwise good reviews I looked for the other options and did not choose that homestay.

This is how buying decisions are influenced and taken in the digital world.

Panthalams Homestay

Read the customer reviews this small homestay in Thekkady enjoys.

Artificial Intelligence, IOT, Blockchain everything will be helpful, but the core of consumers’ preference will be decided by the above aspects.

These latest technologies and data analytics will help in better reach out and better insight. But it can’t replace the need for better experience, rave reviews, helpful content.

The basic obstacle to move with the cheese is the MINDSET.

“Smell the cheese often so you know when it is getting old.” Spencer Johnson, Who Moved My Cheese?

To be ready for this new world beyond advertising what business leaders need is to understand the process of the brand building without advertising.   

They must move along with the cheese. From SALE only to HELP also, from only MARKETING CONTENT to HELPFUL CONTENT also, from PROFIT only to PURPOSE also, from ADVERTISING only to CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE & CUSTOMER REVIEWS also.

Get a grip of the new business landscape ASAP.

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