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Your website & marketing materials suffer from C.R.a.P: A paradigm shift is required

12 Aug 2012 | Categories: Marketing Copy, AD Copy, Internet Marketing, Marketing Copy, Mobile Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Website Design | Posted by: Cheryl

When a few large companies—that were to become todays national TV networks—took over independent TV stations across the US in the 1950s, the prices for TV commercials sky rocketed. Prices were so high that only a very few nationally-based companies could afford to advertise to their customers. In addition to squeezing out all smaller and medium sized companies, it also meant that TV advertising spots were typically condensed to 30-45 seconds spots.

Being constrained by 30 second TV commercial slots lead to advertising agencies abandoning the approach of educating consumers. Instead they decided to switch gears and use a “Creativity, Repetition, and Positioning” (C.R.a.P) type of marketing approach. And this type of marketing has dominated since.

As Rich Harshaw explains in his paradigm-shifting book “Monopolize Your Marketplace“, the goal of the C.R.a.P approach is to interrupt the consumer—from whatever they are doing in the moment—and then engrave a message into the minds of the viewer. The message could be a logo, a song, a phrase, or a moving scene. This type of marketing aims to unconsciously program the consumer into associating a company’s message with a particular service or product they want the consumer to buy.

The message is engraved unconsciously, meaning the consumer does not consciously recognize they are being programmed. The consumer’s desire to later buy the company’s particular product or service—over others—gets triggered at lightening speed and is based on an automatic impulse rather than being based on an educated decision making process.

Ninety-two percent of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising—an increase of 18 percent since 2007, according to a new study from Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy. Online consumer reviews are the second most trusted form of advertising with 70 percent of global consumers surveyed online indicating they trust this platform, an increase of 15 percent in four years.

—Marisa Grimes
April 10, 2012

While the C.R.a.P approach to marketing continues to be the most common method—and it can definitely look and feel “creative”—when used as the only method, it does nothing to help empower consumers to make the best possible buying decision for themselves. As a business, you need to know that the effectiveness of the C.R.a.P approach won’t last. With the advent of the Internet and mobile devices, the tides have already changed—in favour of the consumer.

These days, consumers have immediate access to information about you and your products and services [along with your competitors] while they are out on the street or in the store shopping. More importantly, they have access to what their peers thought of your company products and services. People are choosing products and services based on peer review and referral more than ever before. So if you want your business to be around in 3-5 years you better start educating your prospects, ’cause if you don’t your competition WILL.

You must facilitate the decision-making process and educate consumers about how your product or service offers value and is different than all the rest. And when you make that promise of value and difference, you better deliver! When you fulfill your promise of greater value—and especially if you exceed a customer’s expectations—they will talk about you to their friends and family using things like Facebook and Twitter (Social Media). When your customers talk about you in this way, you have been implicitly “invited” to their personal “Social Media” conversation.

Raving fans talking about you on Facebook or Twitter makes your company stand out. And not only does it help your company stand out, it gives you greater visibility among all that fan’s friends. People want to buy from those they KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST. Being raved about on Facebook or Twitter means you have hit a home run with all three. This kind of feedback has the potential to spread like wildfire. Just imagine a loyal fan broadcasting your product or service or a special deal your are offering to all their friends! Raving fans advertise for you.

Conversely—and as quickly—if you fail to deliver as expected Facebook and Twitter feeds will be screaming about how your company does not honour its promises (and they will tell their friends, who will tell their friends). Get the picture?

If you have not begun, you must start to use Social Media Marketing to share relevant, timely tips and strategies regarding what consumers ought to know and be looking for when buying your product or service. You must regulary give your future customers something of value before they buy from you.

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