It’s a hard pill to swallow, but figure this. How many of your friends and family get excited when the ads come on between their favourite TV show? How many people do you know who don’t jump at the opportunity to skip the advert after the first 5 seconds of a YouTube video?
Since 2006, browser extension Adblock (used for blocking video adverts, banners etc) has been downloaded over 300 million times, making it the most popular browser extension in the world.
In fact, as of September last year, 3 of the top 10 PAID apps in Apple’s App Store were ad blockers designed for smartphones. People are not only downloading these apps, but they are PAYING for the opportunity to avoid your marketing efforts. Let that sink in… Got it? Good.
Don’t get me wrong, I work in marketing, I love adverts. I love learning about adverts. I love seeing what different brands are doing, and how they do it. I love being taken back by beautiful photography and meticulously crafted copy. I love creative executions of all shapes and sizes. I love ideas. I love selling ideas.
But, we are all different. The market doesn’t know what you’re selling, and they don’t care either. It isn’t that people are mean or cruel, they’re just busy dealing with the rest of their lives. You love your product, of course you do, but it’s going to take more than a flashing banner to convince your audience to love it too.
So what’s the answer to this conundrum?
1. Reduce your message to its simplest, clearest, easiest-to-understand form. Think Don Draper “It’s Toasted” Lucky Strike Happiness Pitch from Mad Men
2. Make it fun, sexy, interesting, obscure, informative or controversial. Anything, as long you know that safe will always be the safe option – and that in itself also carries a risk
3. Apply that to all forms of writing, artwork and commerce
When you come to terms with some of the realities of how people think, suddenly, the veil of confusion brought on by the latest marketing buzzwords is lifted, and you can begin to think with clarity.
Reading and writing is, above all, a transaction. The reader donates time and attention, which are supremely valuable commodities. In return, you give something worthy of their gift to you.
You need to develop empathy. Acquire that skill which is required of all artists and entrepreneurs – the ability to switch back and forth in your imagination from your own point of view as writer, to the point of view of your imagined reader.
You learn to ask yourself with every sentence and every phrase: Is this interesting? Is this fun or challenging or inventive? Am I giving the reader enough? Are they bored? Am I giving them a nice hot water bottle to latch onto or a dressed up sales pitch?
If you want to talk to a person, think like a person, not like a marketer.
If you’re concerned about the effectiveness of your communications and want to learn more about building a better content marketing strategy, get in touch.