Who is steering your Marketing ship?
The first rule of Marketing: understand WHO your audience is.
It can get easy to become lost in the abyss of new and hot marketing trends, social media platforms, and insight. However, your audience should always be the one to steer your Marketing ship, not the current… trends. It seems Marketers are becoming too focused on the “how” of Marketing and forgetting the “who” of Marketing. We have become so engulfed in these emerging trends and platforms that we forget to ask ourselves – Is this relevant to my audience?
Before you dive head first, test the waters by generating in depth market research on your audience, the platform, the practice and/or the trend. Your audience may not change, but the platforms and practices used to attract them may… or may not. Too often companies jump all in, only to find themselves drowning to implement a marketing craze that does not impact their bottom line or worse - offends their audience.
Marketing Trend Flops
The “Ugly Christmas Sweater" Trend: In November 2015, Nordstrom followed this trend and launched their own ugly Hanukkah sweater. However the sweater was said to contain many of the Jewish holiday’s clichés and stereotypes. As you can imagine, this angered many customers who took to Facebook to vent their frustration. The luxury store quickly pulled the item from its racks but the damage was done.
The Hashtag Trend: Budweiser’s #UpForWhatever hashtag in conjunction with the tagline printed on their bottle “The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary” created the perfect storm for their social media audience to state the company is promoting date rape, and an alcohol-fueled rape culture. Abandon ship!
Nordstrom and Budweiser both sailed into the fire when they implemented these marketing/market trends into their campaigns/products without thoughtfully researching their audience or the alternative meanings their message could convey. Trust me; it is worth the time to go back to the basics and ask yourself: “Who is my audience and how might they react to this?”
Applying the basics to a B2B setting
To give you an idea on how this may affect a B2B manufacturer, let’s say you’re an OEM and you’ve uncovered the hot topic of “Marketing to the Younger Generation”. However, you’ll find that many of the articles on “Marketing to a Younger Generation” pertain to attracting Millennials, Gen Z etc. for the purpose of purchasing products, creating a buzz on social media and so on. The tactics you’ll discover in those articles do not apply to an industrial manufacturer. As an OEM, your target audience is Owners, Plant Managers, Maintenance Technicians and so on. Implementing those younger-generation-focused tactics to attract sales will most likely be in vain, since young people are a minority in these decision-maker positions. However, you can include these practices in your recruiting campaigns to attract a young talent pool to fill your engineering, administration and production line positions.
Don't Stray from your Course
In conclusion, I’m not saying to stay away from marketing trends. I believe marketing trends can be relevant to your organization and impact your bottom line when executed diligently. What I’m saying is, don’t become so caught up in the hype that you overlook the fundamentals of Marketing. When a relevant trend comes your way:
Take the time to assess if implementing the trend/practice is even worth it in the first place. Ask yourself – does it make sense for my brand to be in this space and would this engage my audience?
Research ALL aspects of the trend to truly understand it so you can execute it correctly in your campaign. Also, research all possible outcomes so you do not miss loopholes that could cause viral outrage from your audience.
Tailor the trend to your organization and your audience in order to generate meaningful results for YOUR organization – Like the OEM example.
For assistance with branding, strategy and daily marketing tasks, contact Ace Media & Marketing. We are a full service marketing agency specializing in digital marketing and events for companies in the print manufacturing industry. Contact our team today!