Is something hot or hype? Is it a trend or a fad? Should we invest now or wait it out to see if it takes root? Should we be first to market or a fast follower? If these questions sound familiar, you're not alone. Your company marketing budget will only go so far. You can't chase every possible trend, and you certainly can't afford to waste money on the next best thing only to see it go bust.
Since you don't have a crystal ball, it takes some thoughtful consideration to figure out where to place your digital marketing bets and dollars. Here are a few, in my humble opinion, that are a waste of time and money and others that are worth the investment.
Social media silver bullet
If your entire digital strategy is based in social media, especially when it comes to reaching younger consumers, I would strongly encourage you to expand your horizons. Social media is important, but it's only one channel. And not all social media channels are created equal. Social media needs to be part of a fully integrated strategy, and you need to know the ins and outs of each individual social media channel. It's not its own separate marketing deal that should be isolated from your other marketing, and it sure isn't a silver bullet. Yes, a clever campaign on social can raise awareness but awareness isn't the same thing as sales. Conversion is the name of the game, and social rarely converts all on its own. Strategies such as location-based offers, geofencing and thoughtful and impactful sponsorships and partnerships are also viable options that could be on the table as you craft new ways to reach customers.
Customers segmented by age
While it's convenient and easy to segment by age, it certainly isn't efficient when it comes to driving sales. The same goes for segmenting only by gender, geography, race, profession, marital status, or lifestyle choices. To say "all millennials think / feel / say / go / do (fill in the blank)" is misguided. We can't paint our marketing segments with such a broad brush. Because of the ubiquity of information and ideas and the ease of sharing them, we're seeing a great deal of crossover between basic demographics. What we need to do is segment by values and interests. It's more difficult and messier work, but what we value and what interests us is what gets our attention and our dollars.
Know who you are and what you care about, and tell that story with honesty, integrity and originality. Truth is what resonates with people in a deep and meaningful way, and that's true for every possible customer segment. We're all looking for our pack, and we want brands that share our values.
We are always on the hunt for big, inspiring ideas. We want a brand to encourage the very best in us. It's about making us feel we are part of something bigger than we are, that we're part of a movement. Help us feel that way, and we'll follow you anywhere.
One of my favorite commercials of all time is The Crazy Ones by Apple. That marketing campaign was released almost 20 years ago. It still gives me goose bumps. It still makes me want to do my very best work. And it still makes me believe Apple is committed to helping me be my best self.