Emily is currently the Vice President of Communications for the American Marketing Association – Pittsburgh Chapter. She joined the Pittsburgh Chapter this past year and was involved previously with her alma mater’s chapter during her undergrad. Initially, Emily was looking for an organization to volunteer with that offered leadership opportunities that aligned with her professional goals, and she found that in the AMA.
Outside of the AMA, Emily works in marketing communications for WESCO Distribution. WESCO is a global distribution and supply chain solutions company headquartered in Pittsburgh. Within her current role, she helps to support and drive corporate marketing initiatives across the business.
Within her current role with the AMA, Emily oversees the strategic communications committee, including email marketing, text marketing, social media management, and media relations. Her goal is to help get the word out about the AMAzing educational trainings and networking opportunities that our chapter offers to marketing professionals in the greater Pittsburgh region.
She believes that one of the greatest benefits of AMA membership is access to our local events, in addition to regional and national events. Her favorite AMA event of 2020 has been a virtual series organized by the AMA New York chapter titled, “Women in Marketing,” an event with the goal of bringing attention, balance, and focus to important issues affecting women in marketing.
Personally, Emily feels that you always get more out of volunteering than you put into it. She’s been able to meet some great people within the local community that she otherwise may not have met. Professionally, the AMA provides Emily with a great way to keep her skills current and gain insights into what’s happening with marketing in Pittsburgh.
Put yourself into this scenario: You’re given the ultimatum to watch a 10-minute video or to read a 10-minute article. Which would you choose?
I’m sure the majority of you would choose the 10-minute video. But have you ever thought about the reasoning why?
Reading is boring
Our brains are designed to retain visual content, and video content sparks our emotions.
Let’s be honest. Reading is boring.
Yes, you read that right. Many people today admit that when it comes to reading, they tend to get bored or distracted easily. There’s no music, photos, faces, or personalization. Ultimately, it’s up to the reader how they interpret the content. That’s why multiple people can read the same story and have completely different visualizations in their head.
However, when it comes to video, everyone is experiencing the same exact thing: the same music, the same faces, the same products, etc. There is no room for false interpretation, and it helps to more effectively engage your viewers.
Video in Marketing
Has anyone noticed the large increase of video content throughout recent years? Have you ever stopped to question why?
Take 5 minutes to scroll through Facebook. I assume the majority of the content on your feed was video.
Video is the future of marketing for several reasons, but primarily because it boosts user engagement. Video makes for great storytelling, and you can convey your message much quicker, and more efficiently.
The main goal of marketing is to create product/service awareness. Once awareness has been raised, people begin to show an interest in your product, and it ultimately drives them to make a purchase. That’s why marketers are quickly transitioning from written content to video.
Video is great for storytelling and helps to truly convey the message you’re trying to get across. It helps to create a more personal relationship with your customers and helps to create more human interactions. People love feeling connected to a brand, and the more connected they feel, the more loyal they become.
Video also helps people to truly see your brand. Take for instance company culture. It’s hard to convey company culture in a written format. Company culture is a visual thing, and it helps to create video that conveys it. The same can be said about your brand as a whole.
Let’s talk statistics
Because numbers speak louder than words, check out these statistics.
Does this make traditional marketing a thing of the past?
It’s important to note that traditional marketing will never be a thing of the past. Written content is still essential to your company and its success. It’s the largest way for companies to get SEO and SEO helps to increase your ranking on search engines. It’s obvious that consumers still rely heavily on written content and other aspects of traditional marketing. But it’s also important to keep up with trends, and as video marketing takes off, your video marketing should as well.
Carlos is the Vice-President of Membership for the AMA – Pittsburgh Chapter and he serves on the Board of Directors. Although relatively new to the organization, Carlos has strong hopes for what the future holds for the team.
Outside of the AMA, Carlos works full-time for The Machine Brand Consulting where he is both the Founder and the CEO. The Machine provides four main types of services: (1) brand strategy, positioning, narrative, storytelling; (2) brand and logo design; (3) brand experience throughout the entire customer journey; and (4) brand architecture.
Within the AMA, Carlos is primarily responsible for recruiting new members and retaining current members. He provides a very welcoming atmosphere for new members and helps to get feedback from everyone to ensure they’re having a positive experience within the organization.
Initially, Carlos joined the AMA because he saw a value in what it delivers to its members in terms of learning, interacting with people, networking, staying on top of new trends, and so on. “It’s a great community of marketing professionals to help marketing professionals”.
Three words to describe Carlos:
The best advice Carlos ever received:
In my first startup back in the late 90’s, my lead investor told me once, “I can’t imagine anything I would do that you’re not already doing, but it ain’t happening.” He and I believed in what we were doing, but I largely appreciated the honesty and sense of urgency and continued to throw everything and the kitchen sink at it, and sure enough within a couple of months things turned around.
How do you pack in a brand’s storyline, its mission, vision, culture, background and unique selling proposition into a handful of characters? Welcome to the world of tagline development, the art and science of communicating a rich storyline in a handful of words.
Brands go through lengthy exercises to develop a tagline that will properly communicate what the brand is all about. It is much shorter than an elevator pitch and needs to say a lot more. Yet it can’t get hung up on details or explaining any “how-to’s.” It needs to be simple, short, succinct, memorable, and at its best inspirational and/or aspirational. It needs to resonate internally with employees and stakeholders as well as externally with distributors and consumers. It should be culturally relevant and resonate with all parties. And most importantly, it has to be honest, genuine, authentic and credible.
While the above seems like a relatively simple list of requirements, brands often fail to get it right. Too often founders, C-suite executives or marketing folks get hung up on their larger-than-life dreams and overlook the boundaries of reality. Sure it’s nice to say something like “our brand will change your life,” for instance. But how many brands, if any, can really change your life? Does a Ferrari change your life? Does an Armani suit, a Cartier rock or a week in Fiji change your life? I hardly think so. Perhaps the pharma companies are the only ones poised to potentially change your life if they change your condition from life threatening to healthy, in which case, yes, it will change your life. But short of that, most brands would benefit from finding an attainable sweet spot in which their brand can communicate a tangible, meaningful, relevant benefit that no other brand can. And more importantly, a benefit that the brand is able to deliver on impeccably.
Rather than lecture, I thought I’d illustrate with some examples of brands that got it spot-on right and others that, in my humble opinion, fell short.
Below are some examples of great taglines…
Nike – Just do it. Inspiring with credibility, a call to action to sports enthusiasts to just reach into their courage, strength and motivation and try their best. It does not over promise anything, nor does it claim it will make you a champion. It just inspires you to be your own best at what you do in sports and beyond. And a product that will accompany you in that journey.
Apple – Think different. The message is as powerful as it is simple, with the added beauty of being grammatically incorrect, which further drives the point home – think in a different way! Inspiring internally for employees to push the innovation envelope and it also resonates with consumers as Apple continues to think differently about everything they put out in the market, never underdelivering and always surprising customers with must-have tech gadgets.
Red Bull – Gives you wings. The energy drink that puts caffeine to shame has built a strong brand around a concept it delivers on. Its relentless sponsorship of every extreme sport under the sun plus a stellar Formula 1 racing team, give the brand the chops and credibility to make this claim and communicate its entire attitude behind it. If you need a jolt of energy, the little mighty can will make you feel you’re getting the boost you need.
Airbnb – Belong anywhere. What is the difference between a hotel and an Airbnb? A hotel is for tourists, Airbnb is for explorers who want to belong to the place they visit. You can stay at a Champs Elysées hotel in downtown Paris surrounded by tourist traps, or you can rent an Airbnb at Le Marais neighborhood, next to the local boulangerie that only the locals know. In this case, it allows you to be Parisian for a weekend.
Dollar Shave Club – Shave time. Shave money. Enough said. The brand is all about saving and shaving. Smart shaving without overpaying for unnecessary gimmicks. A brilliant play on words that resonates strongly with the company’s no-nonsense culture and consumers alike.
Las Vegas – What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Perhaps the best destination tagline ever written. Needs no decoding and encompasses all the misbehaving of living vicariously through sin city. The tagline was so successful that for a while it backfired as spouses told their significant others “you ain’t going there.” Interestingly, this resulted in many companies sending both spouses to corporate retreats or trade events in Vegas, which further raised tourism and income for the city.
California Milk Processor Board – Got milk? There are a few things a household cannot be without. One of them is milk, especially after a succulent chocolate chip cookie. The message is humorous, crystal clear, and innovative in that it comes as a question, highly unusual for taglines. Something as simple as a reminder of what’s in your fridge, encourages you to make sure you never spend a morning without some milk on your morning cup of Joe.
And below are some examples of taglines that fell short…
L’Oreal – Because you’re worth it. Even though it’s not the intent, it seems to me like a cosmetic “upgrade” justifies your worth – hardly a message of substance. A favorite of many a marketer, it has come under consumer scrutiny several times and it seems to be losing more steam with younger generations. They’re recently experimenting with removing the “Because” and leaving just “You’re worth it,” which to me seems like an upgrade. But let’s call a spade a spade, this is cosmetics we’re talking about, is that all you’re worth?
Capital One – What’s in your wallet? What’s in my wallet, a $20 bill, my driver’s license, my health insurance card and three debit/credit cards, none of which are Capital One. So…? This generic and largely meaningless message falls even flatter as the brand heavily promotes its mobile app, insisting with “what’s in your wallet?” Perhaps time to change it to “what’s in your smartphone?”
Gillette – The best a man can get. Really? I thought a JD from Harvard Law School might beat the razor brand. Sorry, I don’t buy it. If a razor blade is the best a man can get, we have a lot of learning to do as a gender. Great example of over promising above and beyond the limits of credibility. Almost seems condescending. Little wonder Dollar Shave Club (above) ran away with so much market share.
McDonald’s – I’m lovin’ it. The last time I had a Big Mac was in college. That’s how much I’m lovin’ it these days! Generic as it gets, does not provide any differentiation or motivation whatsoever. Also, who truly loves McDonald’s food other than children? I see college students these days getting excited about a road trip to Jimmy John’s, but McD’s doesn’t quite bring that out even in teenagers. Sorry, I’m not feeling the love.
Nicorette – Makes quitting suck less. Seems kind of smart, but too much focus on the negative. And from talking to users, it somewhat helps curb the need for a nicotine fix, but doesn’t quite make the process less painful. Falls short on actual delivery.
Nokia – Connecting people. Another extremely generic and undifferentiated statement. How many brands could make this claim even outside the telco world? Countless. It seems the has-been brand failed to maintain the connection long enough, losing its once dominant 50%+ market share to today’s under 15%.
State Farm – Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. While one would appreciate the sentiment, the line falls flat on the customer experience. A key to a successful tagline is the ability to deliver, which gives it meaning and credibility. If you’ve ever been a State Farm customer, which I have, you’ll know they’re just as penny pinching and (un)trustworthy as the next insurance company. If they want to care like a good neighbour, they need to tweak their business model and/or practices. They’re not any less caring than others, but not any more either, and that’s why it feels naive at best, dishonest at worst.
On a final note, let’s not forget a third alternative, one that has worked wonders for many of the world’s best brands: no tagline. Many thought leading brands excel at communicating their brands and associated benefits through product, actions and experiences, with no need to use words. Think of Ferrari, Fender guitars, Amazon, Google, Starbucks… No tagline, no problem. Like Ghandi said, “speak only if it improves upon the silence.”
About the Author:
Carlos is Founder & CEO of brand consultancy THE MACHINE. With over 20 years of omni-channel marketing experience both client-side and agency side, he has helped define, position and grow blue chip brands like Giorgio Armani, Ferrari, Walt Disney, Jameson or WebMD, as well as tech startups like GiftCards.com or Compass.
Adapting Your Marketing Strategy to Reach Different Generations
When it comes to developing a marketing strategy for your business, it can be overwhelming determining where to start. Most businesses today that operate as a Business to Consumer, or B2C, have more than one age group or demographic in mind as their target audience. But how do you go about reaching these audiences efficiently when they all utilize different social platforms and mediums for receiving their information? This question is unique in itself, simply because marketing can take place on a large variety of different platforms.
Essentially, you should develop a different marketing strategy for each audience segment you plan to target. Although a different marketing strategy may be the best way to reach each of your target audiences, you also need to ensure that your message remains consistent.
Defining Your Generations
Let’s say for instance that you want to reach your target audience through social media. Chances are your target audiences would fall into either the generation of Baby Boomers, Gen X, or Millennials. So what specifies each of these generations and what are the best mediums for reaching them?
What are Baby Boomers?
Baby boomers are anyone who was born between 1946 and 1964, often known for following the World War II era. They got their name because of the sudden boom in population. They’re oftentimes known for being goal-centric, resourceful, and sometimes stubborn.
What is Gen X?
Generation X is anyone who was born between the mid-1960s to the early 1980s. This is the group that preceded the baby boomers, making it a relatively smaller generation. Gen X-ers are more than likely at the peak of their careers, meaning that they’re financially better off than the generations after them. They’re oftentimes categorized as being family-oriented, self-reliant, and financially responsible.
Who are Millennials?
Millennials were born between the mid-1980s and the early 1990’s. This generation is known for being tech-savvy, meaning they strongly favor digital media outlets as opposed to traditional media. They are also known for being fearless, hopeful, and educated.
Because baby boomers grew up in a tech-less generation, many baby boomers today prefer traditional media opposed to digital media outlets. However, even though the baby boomer generation is viewed as a relatively older demographic to reach, they still prefer to do the majority of their buying online.
Don’t mistake this however for being a mobile-friendly population. Many baby boomers don’t enjoy using their mobile phones as anything more than a communication tool. Computers and PC’s are the best way to reach this generation when targeting an advertisement at them.
Another large misconception about baby boomers is that they don’t use social media platforms. However, that statement is just that, a misconception. Many people today view baby boomers as a relatively older generation. However, nearly 68% of baby boomers utilize Facebook, making Facebook the primary social platform when targeting this audience.
How to Market Gen-X:
Generation X can be thought of as the generation that straddles between traditional media and digital media. This is primarily because they didn’t grow up with technology as many of the newer generations have. However, they did likely have access to it when first starting out in their careers. Because of this, they are thought of as a relatively tricky generation to market.
It truly all depends on each individual and their own preferences. However, traditional media should not be rolled out when trying to reach this generation. Although many people today beg to differ. This is primarily because many Gen X-ers still receive a large portion of their information traditionally. Nearly 48% of Gen X-ers still listen to the radio, 62% still read the newspaper, and 85% still watch traditional television. Because of this, it may be best to consider a marketing strategy that incorporates a mixture of both traditional and digital media.
However, they’re also likely to utilize social media platforms over that of baby boomers. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the largest three platforms they utilize, with nearly 81% of Gen X-ers having a Facebook account.
How to Market Millennials:
When it comes to developing your marketing strategy, digital media would be the best route to take when targeting the millennial generation. This is primarily because many millennials grew up with technology and it’s what they’re familiar and comfortable with.
Marketing to millennials is easiest when you utilize social media channels such as Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, or Snapchat. Video content is extremely captivating to the millennial generation, and may be a very good form of marketing to reach this demographic.
When marketing millennials, also ensure that you’re marketing efforts are mobile-friendly. Many millennials today use their cell phones when browsing the internet or social channels. However, older generations prefer the traditional PC or laptop.
Millennials also do a large portion of their shopping online making social media outlets the easiest and best way to market to them. Whether you attempt to market them through a platform website, a blog, or a social media channel, taking the digital route is the best way to reach them.
Adapting your marketing strategy can be tricky, but the first step in reaching these audiences is to get a better understanding of them. By simply doing your research, you can successfully reach your target audiences regardless of the generation or demographic they belong to.