Marketing’s Dangerous Echo Chamber

Marketing echo chamber definedMarketing by echo chamber can kill your business.  Its not just small business owners who believe everyone thinks and acts just like them.  Marketing agencies can be swept away too.

Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct :

“far too many (business ad decisions) ad agency decisions are based on personal preference and neighborly anecdote. It also explains the ad biz obsession with digital – resulting in spending that far outpaces it’s effectiveness.”

An echo chamber is a place where you hear only your own voice coming back to you in a delayed fashion.  Generally, its a fun experience.  Maybe you can even remember the first time your heard that kind of an echo as a kid.  Harmless fun.

Death by Echo Chamber Marketing

When it comes to your marketing, the echo chamber will kill your business.  Entrepreneurs have the worst problem with echo chambers.  The business they created with their own hands, their own ideas, and their own sweat is endangered by the very skill set that enabled them to take the risk.

Here are a few symptoms of echo chamber Marketing.

  • Your revenue is stagnant or down
  • You only listen to pitches from people you know
  • You think everyone uses media like you
  • You are going to run the same promotions next year you did this year
  • You think you are the smartest person in the room

There are great local examples of echo chamber marketing in Billings.  Almost any purchase of time on either cable supplier is a definition of echo chamber.  Expecting a cable ad buy to make your business improve is akin to putting your life savings on 36 red and spinning the wheel.  The usage of cable is so low gambling might actually be more effective.

The Billings Gazette with a reach of only sightly more than 15% of all of Yellowstone County residents gets enormously overbought.  Its a great example of businesses and ad agencies stuck in what they think versus marketing realities.

It is echo chamber marketing at its best.

Should you Billings Echo Chamber marketing think this doesn’t apply to you or your business, take a look at this chart from the Media Behavior Institute.  This is a chart of how real people use media compared to how industry pros (ad agency people) use media.  The same chart looking at entrepreneurs instead of agency people would probably have similar scores.

Notice the huge disparity between the general population and people who do advertising for a living.  If you intend to win and grow your business, you must  focus on what real people do.

The echo chamber was fun when you were young.  Take a moment to see if you are still in that chamber.  It will kill your business.

Social Media Marketing Fails to Work

businesses focusing on social media marketing are going out of businessSocial media marketing violates a major marketing model–which is why it fails to work in many cases.

I’m sure there are people in the group who will write chapter and verse about the benefits of SMM.  There are studies showing how it works, how much it generates, ROI, etc.

One of the big questions I have is its ability to gather attention, the first principle of AIDA.  If you don’t have a market presence to start with, social media seems unlikely to me to generate it.

Viral Marketing is Different

Certainly, if you can generate a viral buzz or meme using SMM, you are gathering attention.  When everyone is trying to create the next big thing (sorry Samsung), when do you get above the noise?  When and how do people who don’t know about your product or service find you?

The internet has become a non stop cacophony of exactly the kind of marketing people want to avoid–interruption marketing.  Look at the number of pages whose video players are set to auto play.  Add to the noise the delayed flash pop ups, fly ins, roll overs, hovers and so forth and you have a medium that is way noisier and more full of crappy unrelated content than any TV, radio station, FSI, or fashion magazine.

Marketing by Word of Mouth

How is social media marketing different?  Other than its cheap.

In the old days of Mad Men ad agencies,  three martini lunches, and expensive compelling creative only we cared about, social media marketing was called something different.

It was “word of mouth”.  To the degree brands believe they can control the thoughts and actions of people who use or diss their products is the level at which they delude themselves.

 

Marketing Jargon Kills

marketing jargon kills media in BillingsI was reading a 67 page guide “How To Be in the Internet Marketing Business” or some such thing the other day and it hit me just how much jargon there is in marketing and advertising.

For those of us working as professional marketers, it seems to spew from us like so many negative television ads during this election campaign.  Endless and non stop.

Why the Marketing Jargon?

So why do we do that?  While talking with two different clients in the past week, I was rolling along talking about 30’s and 60’s.  I went on to talk about how we could use that time to gain attention and help people learn more about their products.  In this case, both of these people were running for office in Montana.

Neither understood a word I said.

One wasn’t even sure what the rates for an ad were after I explained them.

Marketing is full of jargon like CPP, CPM, CPC, SEO, CTR, AQH, AQR TSE, TSL, and HUT among others. It is no wonder the idea of marketing a business or a product is scary to a lot of entrepreneur’s.  They don’t want to make the wrong choice.

Digital Media–Measuring and Applying Jargon to Marketing

Digital media has gained traction because of its ability to translate something that is generally unmeasurable into something that might be measurable.  Add to the digital media pros bag of tricks a never ending litany of jargon and a few success stories and you have the recipe for the hottest, newest kid on the block.  Besides, who can argue with a success rate of .0026% CTR? (why would you even measure that?)

Add the millions of books and guides and a low barrier to digital entry and you have the recipe for even more confusing material in the marketplace.  As best I can tell, you can claim you are a digital expert just a few weeks after leaving animal obedience training school.  The confused stories I hear from business people who want to use social media to market their businesses would be funny if it weren’t so sad.  (“let me ask my son in law, he’s on Facebook all the time.”)

Jargon-less Marketing

Media like television, radio, billboards, and even print to some degree have to understand that people don’t understand the words they use.  The jargon doesn’t work. When people are confused, they don’t do anything.

If you have a company who needs to market, don’t let the jargon scare you.  Force your media person to talk to you about what you care about–leads, traffic, prospects, or potential buyers.  Marketing your business today is the battle to get noticed in a time of a high level of noise.

Let them save the jargon for Alpha Bits cereal.