Rethinking Your Approach to Marketing | Truly Social with Tara

Rethinking Your Approach to Marketing | Truly Social with Tara

In the late 1990s, an iconic
book came out that said, “Markets are conversations.” That book, written by Rick
Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger, was called The Cluetrain Manifesto, and what they were basically saying was, “Hey, brands! Stop talking AT people and start interacting WITH people. The tools are here to make it easy. It’s called the internet,
you should give it a try.” “Welcome to the internet.” …But it was unceremoniously ignored. Then, the early mid-2000s came along, and more and more marketing
folks, including myself, were joining this
movement: launching blogs, joining online communities,
gathering online and off to discuss how beneficial it was to have the ability to have the web to build relationships with your customers rather than trying to yell at them from the side of the highway or interrupt their favorite TV show. “Whoa, stop yelling at me.” Unfortunately, once again, there was barely a blip on the radar. But then, the population grew online, and these things called social
networks started to balloon. There were the markets,
there were the conversations. And a few visionary
organizations and leaders recognized the potential
and jumped right in. Many of the big networks we see today didn’t even have a place
for brands, no pages. “A whole lot of nothing.” Facebook didn’t even have a way for brands to participate until 2007. Back then, it was relatively
inexpensive to make an impact. Brands that participated were
celebrated for their openness. The commitment was time
and energy more than money. Advertising really wasn’t
really even available. The content was simple
and inexpensive, too. It was conversational. And the bar on video and
other media was really low. Companies like Blendtec with
their “Will It Blend?” series, famously thrown together
on less than $1000, could raise awareness, drive
sales, and build loyalty with relatively little effort. And these success stories
started to attract attention, but the wrong kind of attention. Instead of seeing Will it
Blend? as being a great use of a new medium to entertain
and build relationships, agencies pitched this to
their clients as a new, cheap medium where they
could get more impressions for their existing TV campaigns. One mind messages that
continued to yell at people. So instead of interrupting your customers watching their favorite TV show, hey, great, now you could
interrupt your customers watching their favorite YouTube creator. Wow, that’s innovative. “I’m not interrupting
here anything, am I?” Now that it was seen as a low investment of both time and money, brands started to flock
to these platforms to post the same, interruptive,
hand-wavy, look-at-me content that they always did. The investment continued
to be into things like impressions and reach, but they still did not see the value in listening, interacting and conversing. The only listening that they
cared about was to the numbers. How did this ad perform? What was my CTR on that campaign? How many impressions did my hashtag get? “You might as well be
talking to the wall.” Year after year, more and more money was being poured into
pushing ads and messages. More and more companies flocked online to create more and more noise. Quickly, the platforms adjusted, thankfully on the consumer end, and made it harder and more expensive for brands to get heard. But instead of taking this hint, their targeting and metrics got
more and more sophisticated. Markets full of conversations, but all the brands could hear were clicks, oh, and mentions of their own name. But still, there is
little to no investment in the stuff that makes social, social. I talk to people all the time and brands all the time where I hear, “We’ve run out of time,
we need to make numbers.” But we told you in the
1990s that this was coming, and then we started to show
you in the early 2000s. And then there were new, growing platforms that made it even more
simple in the mid-2000s. Even when you were throwing dumb money in the wrong direction in the early 2010s, we were there and we were like, “Hey, why don’t you just
invest just a little “bit of energy, and it
doesn’t even cost you money “into building those relationships “so that you don’t get into this issue?” But each time, you always
had the same excuse, “Well we don’t have any time.” You didn’t have time six years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago, you still didn’t have time six months ago, you don’t have time now, in the future, you’re
gonna say the same thing. “No, no, no, find another time, later.” Listen, today, it’s
harder and more expensive and it’ll take more time to
build those relationships. But tomorrow, it’s gonna be even harder and it’s gonna be even more expensive. Stop trying so hard, the
audience isn’t impressed by your adorable homemade
grassroots-looking videos. There are thousands of their peers doing the same thing online
that they would rather watch, because they’re not trying
to sell them anything. Listen, you can continue
to throw more money at interrupting people and competing with the growing number of
brands doing the same thing. Or, you could take a chunk,
a small chunk of that money and a lot more time
and invest it, finally, into building those relationships. “You see, but it’s an investment, right?” I know that you think it sounds uncertain and it lacks some sort of solid ROI. My job selling this stuff isn’t easy when I’m up against some
sort of robot ad servers who can guarantee certain
click-through-rates and millions of impressions. But those are bogus. You need to stop pouring more money into the diminishing returns
of interruption marketing. I know what you’re spending
on Facebook ads alone, it’s getting a ridiculous. If you would have listened to
The Cluetrain 20 years ago, or us bloggy marketing types 15 years ago, or even followed the leads of innovative brands 10 years ago, you would be so much further ahead. But I promise it’s also not too late. You need to stop undervaluing social and invest in those relationships because once you do, I guarantee you that we will never have
this conversation again. You’ll be in front of this
camera talking to others. My name is Tara and this
has been Truly Social. (upbeat music)


  1. Amen Tara! I’ve been trying to teach this for 7 years to our clients and it’s like hitting your head against a wall. I even have discussions sometimes with other marketers who think relationships aren’t worth it just the ads. It’s sad but it’s why we are still here 7 years later and they tend to go away. Great video!

  2. Thank you for this excellent video that summarizes current affairs in marketing with a broader time horizon. 👍👍

  3. Hey Tara! Love this, can I double check how you source the film/TV examples that you include in your vlogs? Is it just from your own personal experience or are you using some sort of aggregator?!

    Either way it is brill, thank you! P

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