No matter the industry, there are and will always be trends. Trends prove hip at the time, kind of like bell-bottom pants and bright orange shag carpeting. Sure, all of this is great at the time, but eventually, a new trend emerges, taking place of the old style. This holds true in the world of marketing. There are always trendy ways to show off a new product. Remember when flash mobs use to be a big thing a few years ago? In a "been there, done that" world, the life of a trend is shorter than ever before. It doesn't mean you shouldn't consider and even take advantage of trends of the time, but there will always be marketing methods and tips here for the long haul. In fact, here are five timeless marketing tips that will outlast any trend.
1. Build Your Content, Build Your Community
You’ve heard probably about a million times by now that content is king. Yes, you do need to put out excellent content. Whether you’re writing a blog post, reviewing a product on YouTube or simply producing custom t-shirts, the quality of your content goes a long way. There is a reason why poor content eventually leads to failure. Google put out patch after patch of search engine updates in the mid to late-2000s to correct this. However, it isn’t enough to just focus on the quality of your content. You need to focus on the quality of your community.
Quality content only goes so far. Without an excellent community to support and take in your content, it really doesn’t matter how great your material is. Have you ever seen a simply incredible restaurant go out of business in your area? The prices might have been right, it may have had great service and the food could have been out of this world, but if people didn’t know about it, it really doesn’t matter. Quality content only goes so far. Luck does play a part in this, but you need to also focus on building up your quality community (think of content as your king and community as your queen).
So, do what you can to cultivate your community. Connect with followers on social media such as Facebook. Share your posts on Reddit and talk to other users about what they think. Without community, there is no content, and without content, there is no community. Build both up and you'll remain successful.
2. Watch the Competition
No matter where in the world your company exists or the kind of industry you work in, you'll always have competition. Very few businesses have little to no competition. Should this ever happen it generally means a larger company has bought out the competition. As you're reading this post, it means you likely have not yet reached the point of buying out the competitors. So, chances are you'll have other competing businesses offering similar products and services to what you have.
One of the most important marketing tips you need to consider is paying attention to what your competition is doing. By monitoring your competition, you’ll see what works for them, what doesn’t work and maybe learn new ways to connect with a growing audience.
There’s nothing wrong with following the competition on Twitter, checking in on Facebook profiles or investigating the analytical information of the competing business. All of this can provide valuable insights. Mining the competition’s Twitter feed is a great way to uncover popular posts and give you ideas as to what might work for your own posts. No matter the direction future marketing goes or the kind of technology it will utilize, it’ll always pay off to know what the competition is doing.
3. Remain Authentic to Your Brand
Your brand has an identity. Customers begin to come to your storefront, by way of physical or e-commerce, based on the quality of your brand and the services you’re known for. Once you begin to change your brand and vary from the authenticity of your company, customers will begin to move away from what you have to offer.
Have you ever stopped watching a favorite television show? Why did you stop watching it? Chances are it isn't because you just suddenly stopped watching television. Even if time is tight, you probably make time for the program eventually. So, what turns a fan away from the programming itself? Usually, this occurs when a television show moves away from the fundamental principles that made it so attractive in the first place. Once the show decided to move away from its authenticity, it no longer connects with you in the same way. This lost connection ultimately is what pushes you away.
From time to time you may need to update your brand. There’s nothing wrong with bringing it into the 21st century if you’re acting like it’s the 19th century. However, it is crucial to remain authentic to what created the business. You can build on authenticity, but you shouldn’t try to change it. Take advantage of the strong foundation you've already built. A shift away from this, whether it is in marketing or how you run the business, and you’ll begin to see the core, important customers turning away.
4. Focus on the Story, Not the Technology
In marketing, the very best way to sell your product is to tell a story. This story connects with your customers on more than just a business to customer (or business to business) level. It connects emotionally and mentally. A well-designed marketing story showcases a product and identifies how it can impact a person's life. Some of the best marketing you'll ever see does very little of highlighting the product. It connects with you on an entirely different level.
There’s a reason why so many companies rely on pets to tell a story. When a dog pops up in a commercial, millions of viewers can instantly relate because they know what it’s like to own a dog. It’s just a way to tell a story and connect with the audience.
While it is important to focus on the story, it isn't as important to focus on the technology. Technology comes and goes. Creating a video will likely be around for a long time, but the delivery method will change. Snapchat is around currently, but what happens when it shifts, changes delivery methods or completely drops off the map? And if you don't think it won't change, just look at Twitter. Twitter just went from 140 characters to 280. Why? Well, there are a few different reasons as to why this change took place, but it completely alters what people will say, it will shift what tweets attract more attention and it will shift the way users include hashtags as there is far more room to input these now.
Remember, while technology will change, and delivery methods will vary, always focus on the story itself. If you do this, it will fit any form of technology.
5. Not All Platforms are the Same
One of the biggest problems companies run into is using varying platforms to put up the same kind of marketing material. This may neuter some delivery methods while rendering others completely worthless. The fact of the matter is not all platforms are the same. The way your business connects with customers on Twitter is far different from the ways you'll connect with customers on Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube or a personal blog. Due to this, you need to treat each differently.
Before you begin advertising a company on any platform, it is important to understand how to best use it. Learn what attracts the most attention, what trends easier on a given platform and how to utilize the strengths of the platform to your advantage. The kind of photograph you might use on Instagram may not fly at all on a service like Pinterest. So, do the research and cover all your bases. After all, if you’re going to spend the time marketing on a platform, you might as well ensure your time is well spent. Researching and understanding the platform gives you the knowledge to boost exposure and take full advantage of the service. Not all platforms are the same. When a new marketing method comes out, don’t just jump on board. Consider it, educate yourself, understand how it works and then use it. You’ll reap the benefits if you do.
In the timeless classic The Sandlot, the ghost of Babe Ruth utters the line “heroes get remembered, but legends never die.” Consider these five marketing tips as legends. No matter what heroic trends emerge over the years, these marketing tips will always remain. Regardless of what takes place in the world or how things shift, you’ll always be able to count on these tips to help you and your business out. Take advantage of these five timeless marketing tips and learn them well, because you’ll be using them from here on out.
Tell Us –
Do you pull valuable marketing lessons from your competition? What have you learned from them?