PowerPoint, Flash, Whiteboards, Video, Podcasts, Banners,
Whitepapers, Webinars, eBooks, Newsletters, Surveys, Social Feeds, Blogs…
Anyone else sick of it all? Maybe I’m a little tired from playing with my children (admittedly something I put every ounce of energy into), but I feel like I’m starving for something. The products and tactics above have become unbearably dull to me.
Now let me offer this caveat; I’m lucky to be a marketer. After all, I don’t ever have to run into burning buildings or duck bullets. But then again, marketing is not all that important. I don’t teach children, perform surgeries or save lives. If I am successful, somebody buys products from me. If not, they buy elsewhere. And either way I go home to play with my kids.
Lately I’ve been wishing there was some other method besides the ones above for successfully engaging customers. I talk about engagement a lot. To me it’s a broader term than marketing and communications. It implies more than just a bi-directional exchange of content. It is about highly contextual discussion, focused on individuals, not segments, and multiplied by thousands.
Even with the software to automate this approach (which itself implies a cynical failure to grasp the concept of engagement), who has the energy for this kind of complex, multi-faceted behavior? I can barely keep up with one email inbox. As much as I talk about engagement, I have a very hard time practicing what I preach.
Yet I know people who seem to be everywhere I browse. They ask and answer questions on LinkedIn, they speak at trade shows, they exchange cards (with QR Codes) at cocktail parties, they fly somewhere every week, they tweet (and make direct replies) 75 times a day, they blog daily, and they’ve already mastered their Google+ accounts. These are people who also have jobs, kids, families, and presumably have hobbies and chores like taking out the trash.
These folks go beyond marketing. They are all about their craft. Marketing is not a job to them; it is a state of being. It is not something they do; it is what they are. And that doesn’t mean they are glad-handing automatons, these are decent people. But to me they are like another species from science fiction, where the aliens are always smarter and stronger. They experience Total Marketing Immersion.
What can be done by a person can also be done by a brand. If a marketer is constantly busy creating content, linking to it from various places, and following up with interested people, that’s immersive behavior. If a company does the same thing, a team of people who can write, create graphics, manage websites and maintain a social presence should be able to mimic what the truly immersive marketers can do.
Maybe. These are pretty amazing people. They work at the best companies (that they probably founded), and they are the go-to for speaking engagements, panels, interviews, and thought-leadership.
Copying some of their behavior ought to help an average marketer create marketing and communications programs that build and support a brand. Your industry has these people. Find out what they are doing, what platforms they are using, what events they attend and go there. Copy what they do. It still takes effort. I’ve found that even this kind of cynical behavioral copying is difficult to master.
So my hat is off to those who are able to not just do marketing, but to live it.