Marketing for the Long Haul

Building a brand is hard. That overnight success is typically ten plus years in the making and it is getting harder to do.  There are now 500+ Million blogs in the world, 3000+ TV channels you can stream online, and 3.9 million apps you can use on your mobile phone. It was a lot easier to be a marketer when there were only 3 TV channels which reached the majority of your buyers.

You have to grind out building your Brand over the long haul. Here are a few of the failed shortcuts I have tested for faster brand building:

  • We tested viral videos on Facebook where we got 200 million views in a week but that gets you lots of people from countries like Albania who found your content entertaining but can’t buy because they don’t live in the US.
  • We tried to short circuit the process via Twitter with one of our celebrity clients who has 50+ million Twitter followers but all we did was spend a lot of money on servers and bandwidth for a .01% conversion rate.
  • Got our client’s product endorsed by Oprah which was amazing for sales, for 90 days.

All the shortcuts failed. 100%. Customers and clients can smell if you are authentically in the game for the long haul. You talk to them differently. Build products/services that you and they are proud of. Marketing works. But only when you, the marketer and your audience believe the story. This is why shortcuts don’t work.  

A good recent example of this is United Airlines who you might remember for its tag line, “Fly the Friendly Skies”. Until videos of them dragging customers they had bumped off their planes hit YouTube in 2017. Not so friendly.  

How would you look at your marketing if it had to be a ten year process? No quarterly goals. No marketing team bonus at the end of the year for Facebook likes or NPS scores.

What would you measure? I’d measure hugs. As a numbers guy that is hard for me to say but…Yes…Hugs. Not unaided recall or some meaningless marketing award but how often do our customers/clients give you real/virtual hugs. Did they send you an amazing email in appreciation (+one hug) or a heart felt video review online, one hug. You might say hug’s are a horrible metric but that is the point. What your customers will remember is how your brand made them feel and that is inherently hard to translate into your quarterly net promoter score report.

Take the long view and find some uncomfortably squishy metric to measure your brand journey by as there are no shortcuts to building a brand only new clients to win hugs from.