I think marketers spend a lot of time and calories talking to people who really don’t give a sh*t. We like to call this awareness building –the first stage in our Journey of Unreciprocated Love.
Awareness, it seems to me, is lately about interrupting people long enough to think about your products or brand. It counts on volume and velocity to succeed, and it rests on the rationale that if we inundate enough people, in enough places with enough frequency, eventually, some of them will click or phone or like us.
When people do this to one another we call it stalking. When armies do it, we call it a siege. Borrowing the military terminology, marketers call it a campaign. Does that sound like a polite thing to do to the people with whom we hope to build a long-term relationship?
Yet, like the crazy dude on the subway who believes Alanis Morissette is the last Romanov princess and the very hopeful Nigerian royals with bank card issues, we persist. Statistically, even the crazies and the unbanked move some small group of targets (oh look, another fun military term) from perplexed awareness to cautious consideration.
The result, though, is a few million impressions and a handful of exhausted, manipulated, low-quality leads. This is what comes from trying to get people to give a sh*t. Most don’t, they’re just too tired to put up much of a fight.
I think this works just fine when the thing you are selling is a universal need, like bottled water or junk food or a transient thing like a movie release or getting a million Likes for a homeless guinea pig. If we want to move beyond influencing a transaction, we need to focus on the giving a sh*t bit.
I think a far better way to build awareness is to build a compelling enough product or user experience that people give a sh*t organically and do your bidding for you in the form of recommendations, testimonials, great reviews and saying nice stuff on social media. Zappos and Starbucks are great examples of what happens when you create such a thing. The numbers may be way lower, but the conversation is based on truth, not inundation, which should make consideration much more likely.
Next time, we will look at how we can influence consideration by focusing on giving a sh*t.
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