What is happening in the marketing industry is fascinating to me. It looks like we all read the same books, learned from the same “sensei” and use the same tactics. The most interesting part is that most of us don’t dare questioning popular strategies and tactics. We are sometimes quick to adopt a tactic without assessing if it’s adequate for our own situation. The result is that customers see us like marketing bots posting articles and hoping to get attention. Flipping vividly pages of Edward De Bono’s Lateral Thinkingmade me realize that sometimes questioning theories, premises and hypotheses can lead to big breakthroughs.
Here are some questions for you to think about:
- Who said that a sales funnel was the only way close clients?
- Who said that content marketing would necessarily bring results in the future? (Heck, it’s not popular to question content marketing, I might get in trouble for this)
- Where is the proof that traditional advertising is dead? (Digital marketing gatekeepers will pull out statistics showing the decline of TV and the rise of mobile. Fair enough. What if my target market is 65+ people, do I target them on Facebook?)
- Who said that Facebook is the best tool for paid advertising? Have you tried Pinterest ads or Twitter ads?
- Who said that Twitter is dead?
The problem in the marketing industry is that we are becoming too religious about certain strategies. Once someone finds something that works for him, we extrapolate and codify it as if it was a universal law, without taking into consideration the subtleties of the case study.
If you sing the same song than everybody, you blend in. But if you change a note or the lyrics you stand out. As a result, everybody in the choir will look at you. Isn’t that what marketers are in business for? Getting attention? Yet every day we do anti-attention moves. To me contrarians and originals are the ultimate marketers because they have mastered the formula to get attention.
One of the contrarians who absolutely killed it in 2017 is Lavar Ball. Hate him or Love him, he managed to build a polarizing brand. The media covered him a lot last year; in fact, I think the only person more covered than him in the U.S was Donald Trump. Why? Because people are interested in following his journey with his kids. Had he chosen to play by the rules, he would be anonymous today.
For 2018, I want to challenge myself and my fellow marketers to be more original in the way we do marketing. It can be done by mixing inbound and outbound marketing, cross-disciplinary benchmarks, as well as the constant quest for a sustainable competitive advantage.
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