In the past we had just marketing, then advertising was added to the formula. Then we had marketing 360, and after that, we had digital marketing. Now we have social, mobile and content marketing too. Let’s consider the following for a second: What does marketing really do?
You probably are thinking that you know the answer. However, the truth is that there are hundreds of right answers for that question. But if we had to put it all in one simple term. What are all these new breeds of marketing really trying to achieve?
They all want the same thing…to communicate.
Communicate, can be defined as the act of sharing or exchanging information, news, or ideas. Isn’t this what all kinds of marketing and advertising are trying to achieve? The procedure is almost always the same. All start with an objective, and they go through all kinds of creative endeavors to communicate to/with customers in search for a specific response. If you agree, with this principle you should continue reading, if you do not, you may not find the rest of the article very useful -Back to subject: Now that we are all on the same page, let’s do as the title says, and let’s just stick to Communication.
Lets take a look to some of the different marketing disciplines and see how they work. In one hand, we have content marketing, a practice that has been around for a very long time, born with the first TV ads. However, it is now that we have social media, that this kind of marketing has found a place to live, play, and conquer. Two brands that truly understand the essence of content marketing are Red Bull and GoPro. But lets focus on the essential goal that every piece of content marketing share between them. It does not matter if you are trying to raise brand awareness, show how a product works or what a brand stands for. You will always find that in the end, their goal is to communicate something in search for a response or effect. On the other hand we have traditional advertising, which even though it generally relates to broader audiences than some other marketing disciplines, in essence does the same thing that social, mobile or any kind of marketing: It Communicates.
Check out the GoPro Video
You may be thinking: “wow then it's really easy, if you know/learn how to communicate in an efficient manner you will be a successful marketer or brand”. But is this affirmation right? The answer is YES… and NO. If you are an amazing communicator you will be excellent creating and executing communication pieces. Some may think that this is all you need, and some brands can be quite successful doing this.
However, if you are a great communicator working with an amazing creative team, it’s very likely that you may end up doing something that looks and feels like a marketing collage, in the long run. A collection of great pieces that may have won amazing prizes, but have little or sometimes nothing that links them in between. This is great for the creatives involved, and could even make advertising agencies look like they are doing their work. But, how does this help a brand or a company in the long run? Some maybe creative masterpieces, that have little to no impact on the brand they are trying to build.
Here is where the concept of Strategy comes in
Marketers frequently overlook strategy nowadays. This happens for various reasons: maybe due to a strong focus on tactics, the fast pace demanded by social media, or due to putting all the efforts on creating creative award winning content pieces. But what does strategy do or even mean in this context? The communication strategy is the glue that can turn a pile of bricks, into a timeless pyramid. The strategy is like a spiritual guide, that makes sure that every piece of communication created fits and works not only by itself, but as a piece of something much bigger.
Lets get back to the pyramid example, if you start by building the brick that goes on the tip, you can’t put anything over it, or even beside it. It’s going to work on itself like a wonderful very very small pyramid, but it does not have the potential to be a part of something more powerful.
Having a well-designed clear strategy gives you the chance to build around every marketing effort you do. Strategy empowers every type of communication piece by giving it a special place in the big picture. This way you can create not only a super compelling story in the long run, but you have the opportunity to create an amplification effect between all the different communication pieces, (even between different platforms). Therefore it would be logical to state, that a strong strategy is what makes a great communicator an unstoppable marketer.
There is a very strong relationship between strategy and creativity (content) in the realm of communication. Why is the formula Strategy x Content, and not Strategy + Content?
Strategy empowers creative content, the same way creative content empowers strategy.
A very strong strategy together with a regular creative content may result in a quite successful marketing campaign. It also works the other way around. A very strong creative content or execution together with a regular strategy will probably result in a successful campaign too. The phenomena that happens here is that one work leverages over the other creating a much more powerful result. Strategy is as important as the creative content used for every piece of communication. However, focusing in only one side of the formula and forgetting or neglecting the other can make a campaign a big waste of resources. For example, a great strategy with a very poor creative execution would make the campaign a failure. In other words, every time one side of the formula is worth 0 (zero), the result of the communication campaign will be 0 (zero).
Humans have the instinctive desire to connect and socialize with others; therefore we constantly create and develop all kinds of means to communicate better and faster. There always is (or can be created) a mean of communication that works best for a specific piece of content or media. (i.e. Instagram is best for fast beautiful photography) As we create more and more means of communication, more marketing breeds will be born.
In the era where a new social network is created everyday, the perfect environment is provided for the development of new marketing disciplines. However, the point at which every one of these disciplines meet, is that essentially all they do is communicate. Finally, what every communicator should bear in mind, is that strategy and creative content leverage on each other in order to create effective results in the long run.
To be a limitless marketer you should always remember, that strategy and creativity mutually empower one another.