How to be a marketer in an experience economy
MANILA, Philippines – 2018 is the year we clearly saw the power of data.
From a buzzword, data became a word spoken in conversations after the scandal at Cambridge Analytica broke out in April. The communications firm was accused of using Facebook users’ private information to help US President Donald Trump win. Apparently, it might have contributed to President Rodrigo Duterte’s victory as well.
Not only can data put people in powerful positions, it can also help brands serve advertisements toconsumers who will most likely buy their products. If you share or react to a lot of content about dogs, for example, you probably see ads about pet products on your newsfeed all the time.
But for Bozoma St. John, chief marketing officer at Endeavor, Uber’s formerchief brand officer, and head of global and consumer marketing for iTunes and Apple Music, data alone can’t make the marketing world go round.
“Marketing is not about logic. It’s about emotion,” said St. John in a keynote speech she delivered at the DigiCon 2018 held in Pasay City last October 3. “We need to connect to our consumers through feelings.”
We may know how to make our ads appear in people’s feeds through data, but if it doesn’t appeal to their emotions, they would just scroll past them. It may count as an impression – they’ve seen your ad – but it doesn’t mean they looked at it.
And in every marketing campaign that St. John does, feelings, not data, are always the hero.
To make Uber more relatable, for example, St. John focused on the emotions people feel while traveling. We’re always on our way to something – whether it’s a job interview, a first date, or dinner with friends we haven’t seen in a long time. And in that moment between point A and point B, it’s just us and the way we feel about what’s waiting for us.
With this in mind, St. John thought of putting basketball superstars Lebron James and Kevin Durant inside an Uber not just to talk about balls and hoops but also politics and being black men in America.
Not all people liked it, but the marketing campaign tapped into their emotions. It sparked conversations. And the only set of data she probably needed for that was the players’ points, rebounds, and assists to know that they’re influential enough to become brand ambassadors.
For Bozoma, the only way to connect with consumers is through self-reflection. Whenever marketers come up with new campaigns, they should first ask themselves if they like it or are moved by it.
“Don’t be afraid to use yourself as a test case. If you don’t like it, it’s probably not a good idea,” said St. John. “Make sure you feel a visceral reaction so your brand also communicates the same feeling.”
She also urges brands to stop making things so mass-appealing. The saying “you can’t please everyone” is especially true in marketing.
“We tend to take the edge off and water it down if we want everyone to like it,” said St. John.
At a time where the whole world is saying that data is the new oil, we are encouraged to go back to what we know, to trust our gut feel and intuition, to be human again.
After all, data are just numbers. And we’re certainly more than that. – Rappler.com