By Alex Swann, Founder of Lesniak Swann
Look at the history of great communication and you’ll find a common thread. All the great communicators, from Caesar to Jesus, Henry Ford to Richard Branson, have based their approach on a simple formula.
Relevant + Entertaining = Effective.
There’s nothing new about it. Yet it’s something the majority of marketeers and their agencies often overlook. Which is perhaps why an estimated 95% of marketing spend achieves little, if any, effect. It’s nothing more than money down the proverbial plughole.
The most successful marketeers, however, are able to build on the lessons and experiences of their forebears and use this formula to great effect.
So, that’s all very entertaining, you’re thinking, but why is it relevant to me?
The relevance, of course, is that you too can enjoy measurable marketing success by understanding and applying this tried and tested formula.
Relevant + Entertaining = Effective.
Keep it relevant
Like all good stories, let’s start at the beginning. Your first task? Defining your message. What will you say? And with who will it resonate most? The magic won’t just happen. You’ll need to put in some serious work developing a clear understanding of your audience: what’s relevant to them, where are they, and what do they currently think? When you’ve got those bases covered, it’s time to get specific. What’s the problem that you can solve?
Is your audience even aware of the problem? And how can you show them their ‘best solution’? Then take a close look at your business. What is it about your product or service that will make you unique in your audience’s eye?
If there’s more than one possibility, which feels better? And, more importantly, how can you test it? Mixing all that insight with common sense, market understanding and a dash of data learning lets us build a picture about the sort of buying journeys your audience goes through. And that puts you 50 metres down the track in a 100-metre sprint – before the pistol has been fired. Because ultimately, marketing is often about showing people something they did not know they wanted… until they saw it.
So now we understand relevance, we’ve just got the small matter of finding it. It’s not quite looking for Nessie, but it’s not as easy as you might think. Broadly, there are two options. Workshops with your internal team are one route, looking at your audience, their journey, and where you can best deliver your message. Or you can combine internal knowledge with talking directly with your target market. Yes, this is a longer process.
But it often throws up insight you might not have otherwise uncovered. Whichever option you choose, you’re aiming to produce a relevant and validated single-minded message on which you can base your campaign. Ideally, it’ll be a proposition that’s new to your market. If you can find something new, you’ve more scope to own the territory. You’re getting to the high ground first.
The rise of digital data has driven a move from fantastically engaging ads to ones focused entirely on relevance.
And while the ghost of Mad Men’s Don Draper will be pleased to see a fightback from creativity, there has been an undeniable shift. Recent Neilson research reckoned the typical advert’s effectiveness from creativity has dropped from 65% to 47% since 2006.
Yet in the B2B world, most organisations never got past relevance in the first place. After all, they’re speaking to contractors, specifiers, engineers, buyers and IT managers – and none of those are human… are they?
It’s essential to remember that every audience we speak to is human. Made up of real people with real thoughts, emotions and motivations. So, whatever we’re selling, we need to engage. And to engage we must entertain.
Which is where the creativity comes in. Whether it’s for five-minute viral videos for social media, on-page ads or even simple web site animations, we’ve got to use creativity.
With a bit of spark, we can encourage your audience to smile, laugh, feel empathy or even cry. All it takes is speaking to their human side; engaging them and causing them to think.
In doing so we speak to not only the ‘position’, but also the human carrying out that position. And we make the delivery of the message infinitely more effective.
All it takes is speaking to their human side;
If we’ve done the first two steps right, the final part of the equation – effective – should fall into place.
A well-defined, well-targeted audience.
A compelling, eye-catching, memorable and relevant message.
A dollop of creativity.
Well, put simply… Results.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re measuring clicks, buys, enquiries or brand recognition. If you’ve done the process well, you’ll get the results you’re looking for.
Just remember one thing – Relevant + Engaging = Effective.
So let’s entertain, let’s engage your audience with creative, relevant and authentic messages. And let’s get the results that might even make your FD smile.
Published date: February 11 2020