The death of the marketing campaign

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Funeral_procession,_Goderich,_Ontario,_1913I had coffee with the CEO of a very large agency this past week and during our conversation, he mentioned that one of the things he sees is business struggling with is the demise of the marketing campaign. (Did I mention this he runs a VERY large agency?) To be honest I wasn’t shocked by this statement as it’s something I’ve seen over the past 4 years. I was surprised that an agency that large was experiencing the issue.

Allow me to explain. If you’re a business and you’ve invested in and are utilizing social media to build relationships with your customers, your focus is creating deep relationships that generate revenue. For those of you familiar with a marketing campaign you know that the focus of  is to build awareness/generate revenue. The issue is this: you’re now having a conversation and if you suddenly change your style and “message”, customers will walk away.

For example; you’re at a party and you’re talking to me and we’ve known each other for about 2 years. The conversation is focused on a common interest, in this case, it’s small business. I then get a little more focused – ensuring eye contact – and start to talk to you about Amway. I begin to talk to you about how you could become a member and get others involved and you could also make money. This is in alignment with the discussion we’ve been having but being smart, you suddenly realize that I’m trying to sell you something. You quickly change the subject because frankly, no one wants to be sold something.

Therein lies the issue. If you launch a “traditional” campaign via social media, you ‘ll alienate your best customers. The hard-sell never works online. Period. This is why so many companies fail when they launch marketing campaigns and just for the record, a traditional campaign surely won’t exist in 5-10 years. At least not in it’s current form. TV? Print? It will be digital first in timing and volume. The baby boomers time will have come and gone leaving those that grew up with the Internet, in control.

This is a tough issue if you’re not marketing to a niche. Niche SMEs can suggest things or make recommendations with minimal annoyance. (Members understand they work for a living and honestly if the product/service is great, they appreciate it.) This also quickly highlights the difference between social businesses and social media companies.

If you’re a big company with little differentiation; good luck!

If you’re a small business, the limitations of your budget may prove to be one of the best things that’s ever happened to you.

By Michael Myers

I am an Associate Professor of Digital Marketing at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver. I also consult with startups and established brands. I'm currently focused on artificial intelligence, cognitive neuroscience and culture. I am married to an amazing woman and have two incredible children. I was raised in Colorado and spend my free time with family, biking, snowboarding and going to the Pacific Ocean to SCUBA dive and/or surf. I'm passionate about architecture, design, street art, photography and the art that tattooing has evolved into.

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