Monkey See, Monkey Done-For-You
I’m seeing a trend of late that is as interesting as it is irritating.
Everything in online marketing is somewhat cyclical. This is partly because of innovation and partly because stuff just stops working. It’s been observed that stuff stops working because the mindless masses overdo it. To a certain extent, this is true. It’s also true that stuff stops working because it’s old. There’s the concept of ad blindness, banner blindness, tunnel vision. Things that are wildly successful one moment are ho-hum the next moment.
In our time of constant communication, this is more so than ever before. When I was a kid, things seemed so much slower. Not only because I was a kid, but because life was actually that much slower. You had to wait for your favorite show to come on the night it came on and if you missed it, you were out of luck until they started running reruns in the summertime or until it went into syndication after the series was finished and started playing on UHF channels. You saw commercials on the TV in the evenings and on the weekends. A campaign could go on for ages without wearing itself out. “Where’s the Beef?” still gets a laugh out of anyone old enough to remember the Wendy’s commercials.
As a parallel of Moore’s Law, it would seem that the speed of a marketing technique’s entropy is accelerating. Do article marketing. Article marketing is dead, do press releases. Press releases are dead, do Web 2.0 sites. Web 2.0 sites are dead, do social media… And so it goes until everything has run the cycle of change so frequently and rapidly that everything is dead and nothing is left to try.
So, what’s a guy to do?
Take advice from one of the big boys. The guys who have millions of dollars to try this, that and the other thing are trying and trying. Whatever works, they do. Whatever they do makes them money. I’ve been told by many that they wait until it stops working to divulge the secrets. Maybe it’s true, maybe not. Are the gurus out to screw us? Are they keeping all of this secret ninja information to themselves until it is too late?
I’m not in a position to do what they do anyhow. Even if I knew what the secret ninja power hacks were, they generally require resources I do not possess (yet). So, let’s not get excitable and start hatin’ on the gurus.
Let’s, instead, focus on what we can do. Let’s get back to basics.
I’ve heard that the most effective form of salesmanship is good old fashioned, face to face sales. That’s as may be, but unless you’re doing millions per sale, your ability to get in front of each face is your largest constraint. Depending on how long your sales presentation is or how long you need to negotiate the deal, you can only see so many people in a day.
This is where the concept of the direct mail sales letter emerged. Personal correspondence mailed with the intention of securing a sale is a classic form of direct marketing. You could now be virtually face to face with as many people as you could afford to print and mail. Even so, the ability to be in many places simultaneously is still constrained by someone’s ability to buy paper and postage.
As media became available, radio and TV ads become possible. However, these media do not lend themselves to in-depth advertising. At least, not initially. This sort of advertising was meant to be a quick branding message between rounds of entertainment. Eventually, some genius came up with the notion of infomercials and advertorials that appeared to be programs but were merely long form selling platforms. Above all, the cost of getting your sales message to many is getting more expensive.
Finally, we got the internet. You can now get in front of everyone for free, but so can everyone else.
People are so bombarded with information that it’s hard to be heard above the noise. That’s where it’s necessary to get back to basics. Being you. Getting that face to face interaction back. Let your prospects find you because you’re being you out loud.
There are lots of people doing this. Anyone who wants to, can. How about you?
Just the same, not everybody is so creative. Our society has structured itself around specializations. Some people specialize in helping others to create effective advertising. To this end, they create templates and formulae. And again, it’s all down to if you’ve got the money to play their game.
That’s the bit I’m finding irritating. It’s a new approach in marketing based on an old approach in marketing. The smarties of the business have enabled the not quite so smarties to appear smart using their clever techniques. Everybody’s doing it. That’s the annoying part. Everybody’s doing it.
In a time of perpetual bombardment of information, seeing the same thing over and over again is going to turn it invisible. So, good job y’all. Let’s beat this horse into the ground right out of the gate. Forget making even a single lap around the track. Just beat that horse to death within feet of the gate.
All these campaigns with the four videos. It’s only been a trend for a couple of months, but it’s already being done to death. It’s the obvious product of a template that’s already come and gone. It’s boring. It’s tedious. Pay a little extra for some panache. Enough with the cookie cutter jazz, folks.
Another thing I’ve been told is that you should end your posts with a strong call to action. So, here it is:
STOP DOING THAT!