Imagine the scene. It’s 1922 in the United States. Early motor vehicles clatter down the barely paved streets. Warren G. Harding is a year into his presidency. The world recuperates from the end of World War I – to the tune of Al Jolson’s April Showers and Fanny Brice’s My Man, no less.
You switch on the radio and tune in (literally) to one of a handful of stations. As you turn the dial, moving your radio’s needle between frequencies, you hear an unusual promotion for luxury New York apartments crackling into life
You’ve just heard the very first radio ad. The advertisers, Queensborough Corporation, paid AT&T 50 bucks for 15 minutes of airtime. Clearly a lot’s changed over the past 100 years. And we don’t just mean the cost of prime-time ads. In fact, the world (let alone the world of marketing) is a far different place.
And yet the goal of marketing has stayed the same – to connect with people in an emotional, valuable way – despite the tactics for doing so changing with the times. Much like the brands who would advertise on the radio since 1922, here are five marketing tactics you simply can’t afford to ignore today.
1. Wow your customers at the right moment
The wow factor. Every brand wants it, but how many truly achieve it?
Perhaps the most obvious place to “wow” a customer is through advertising – big budget, highly creative campaigns to emotionally engage with people. You’d be a hardened human not to feel impressed with hearing the first radio ad 100 years ago. But there are many other points on the customer journey (largely ignored and underrated touchpoints) where it pays to add a little ‘wow’.
The trick is to recognize ‘moments of truth’ in the customer journey. These are opportune interactions between businesses and consumers where going the extra mile can make a huge difference – both positive and negative.
A “wow” isn’t always about blowing people’s socks off, either. It can be a matter of timing; engaging people during an emotionally charged part of the customer journey and exceeding their expectations. An advisor who spots a valuable opportunity, a shop assistant who acknowledges your problem, or a rep who gives you great real-time customer service.
As Sarah Franklin, Salesforce’s Chief Marketing Officer, told Marketing Week any brand can do this: whether you’re B2B, B2C, B2G or Metallica.
“Salesforce is all about how you can wow your customers in a very simple way. If you’re an Airbnb, you need to wow your guests. If you’re Metallica, you need to wow your fans.”
Where are your moments of truth in your marketing journey?
2. Invest in personalization
There’s a reason automated replies don’t have the ‘wow’ factor. It’s because personalization matters – today’s consumers don’t want to be treated like any other customer. They want to feel special.
We still think this is an underrated tactic, or at very least, painfully under-delivered in marketing today.
Brands have a wealth of information about their customers at their fingertips. But most struggle to transfer this knowledge from their databases to their customer touchpoints – from machine to human. Meaning they can’t provide the genuine personalized experiences that customers crave. And they do crave them.
Nine out of ten consumers say they find personalization appealing, while 72% admit they only engage with marketing that’s tailored specifically to them. Gen Z are particularly keen on personalized experiences; they were the only age demographic in an Adobe study to rank it as the top way for a brand to earn their trust.
You’re probably aware of these trends. Research from Evergage shows a whopping 99% of marketers know personalization helps advance their customer relationships and 89% believe it drives better customer experiences. And yet only 13% claim to be any good at marketing personalization.
See, that’s a lot of stats – a lot of data. It tells a compelling story, I hope you agree. But wouldn’t it be better if I could reach out through this web page and ask what personalization means to you, and in turn point you to tactical ways digital humans could help? I could say: “hey Greg, what do you find is holding back your personalization efforts?” You are called Greg aren’t you? No? Damn web 2.0!
Well, never mind. Instead, I’ll have to point you to this blog post that explains more about marketing personalization with digital humans. Lame, right? Or I guess you could ask one of our digital humans here, have a conversation and see what she says…
3. Marketing in the metaverse
outburst point brings us on to how marketing is tactically changing with the evolution of the internet. The metaverse promises to take the static, one-way nature of web 2.0 and bring in the immersion and two-way interactivity of web 3.0.
Marketing is going to change for the better within these online realms. It’s why so many companies are exploring how they’ll find their place in the metaverse today in 2022.
This initial period of experimentation is still throwing up a lot of fascinating insights into how businesses will be able to use the metaverse to create unique and valuable brand experiences.
Sure, not every company has the resources to build their own virtual world; but marketers can still get a taste of what the metaverse has to offer today in preparation for a more sophisticated future.
How? Well, as Publicis Group’s Chief Experience Officer, Matt Marcus, told us on our recent webinar: “Play video games”.
Yes, you heard that right.
Whether it’s games like Fortnite and Minecraft, or online gaming platforms like Roblox, the industry is doing a great job of showing the world how to create virtual environments that people want to fully immerse themselves in.
In Matt’s words: “Fortnite is a metaverse; it’s got an incredible creative environment where you can build all kinds of things”.
“Just getting in and playing around and seeing what individuals are making in these spaces – because we are pre-brand in most of these spaces – that’s a great place to be.”
On top of these options, if you’re struggling to find a great game to start with, we suggest one of these six video games with invaluable lessons about marketing. Well, all except ET: The Extra Terrestrial. That one can stay in the landfill!
4. Reinvigorate brand personalities and ambassador relationships
If you don’t use brand personas or ambassadors, you might want to rethink your tactics. Let us tell you why, starting with brand mascots.
Tony the Tiger, Mr Peanut, Colonel Sanders – saying their names instantly brings to mind the brands they represent. And if you’re already salivating, they’re doing their job well, especially as none of them are named after their company or product!
They work because they humanize brands, have unique personalities and often elicit an emotional response, such as laughter, affection or a sense of nostalgia – or that aforementioned salivating.
“That’s all well and good for B2C marketing; but I work in B2B so it’s totally irrelevant!” we hear you scream. Well, not true. We’re all human, after all, so we’re all swayed by human-centric marketing tactics. It’s the exact reason Salesforce launched its part-human-part-racoon mascot, Astro.
As Salesforce’s CMO explains: “It’s an emotional connection that transcends all logic. It cannot be explained but it cements their loyalty to you. And the characters do that because they bring it to life in a way that is whimsical.”
Mascots are massively underrated. But we understand why, when brand ambassadors do a similar role. These real people bring authenticity and prestige to marketing campaigns. Ambassadors are often household names, with a baked-in fanbase that you can tap into. They humanize a brand because, well, they’re human, with personality we can latch onto.
Put it this way: would ZOA have become the fastest selling new energy drink on the market in 2021 without the clout of The Rock behind it? Would The Rock have so much clout if he wasn’t a funny, motivating and all-around amazing personality? We don’t have to spend too long wrestling with the answer to that one.
So, if you don’t use brand characters or ambassadors, now may be the time to start thinking about it. Particularly because they could be the answer to how your brand looks, sounds and interacts in the metaverse.
5. Inspire interactions, not just transactions
We’ve talked about wowing your customers, personalization, exploring metaverse possibilities and building better brand characters and ambassadors. The common thread? Interacting better with your customers.
We live in an age where technology is an intrinsic part of our lives, but consumers still want the human touch when communicating with brands. More than four in every five customers want more, not less, human interaction from brands in the future, according to PwC research.
From ads to websites, social media posts and newsletters; marketing has been talking (or shouting) at customers for too long. Now it’s time to let them talk to us too through AI and automation.
Brands in 2022 must provide the speed and convenience of technology, while also offering genuine, memorable and two-way interactions. And we don’t think these goals are mutually exclusive.
It’s no longer about saying “do you want to buy this?” but about saying “what do you need?”
It’s why we make digital humans – AI-powered, brand embodied avatars your customers can speak to. They’re scalable, always available and can exist across multiple channels, whether it’s mobile, online, physical kiosks or the metaverse.
Brand ambassadors, mascots and real-life celebrities can be recreated in the same way. It accentuates their unique personalities; they can crack jokes, share stories and build rapport through empathy. The stuff that’s made advertising so effective, now available throughout the journey of being your customer.
Yep, the world has changed a lot since the first radio ad in 1922. Now, 100 years later, marketers need only remember that “customer” means more than a word of eight letters, too.