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Stop Hunting, Start Farming

I have met a lot of great people in the marketing industry; phenomenally smart and creatively talented people who work their collective asses off for their agencies and clients. The problem is that way too much of their time is spent grinding in areas that just don't matter as much as they once did because their agencies haven't adjusted nearly enough to match a market that started to change dramatically about 15-years ago.

Instead, these agencies have done what we've come to expect. They started in denial, for years explaining that all this technology was simply clouding the picture and that things would settle back to normal soon enough. When that clearly wasn't going to happen, they started to introduce and brand their new suite of tools that looked like every other agency's tools and coin buzz words everyone in the industry was already using. They even accepted the need to use the word "analytics" and "measurement" in presentations and trot out a data scientists from time to time.

Unfortunately, they still leave me scratching my head trying to understand why the conversation still centers around advertising; interruption and disruption.

They take all these new toys and use them to do the same old thing; try to enhance the effectiveness of hunting their traditional, digital and social media audiences with advertising. They remain preoccupied with finding audiences that don't want to be found, and interrupting people in the middle of something they enjoy. They acknowledge it's not as effective as it used to be but believe that if they do it often enough and manage their clients' expectations, a small percentage of people will buy their products and life will go on.

This is a "grinder's" mentality employed by way too many smart people and it serves no one, least of all the agency's clients and their customers.

Unless it's the Superbowl, people don't give a crap about advertising in most any form. They don't want it, believe it and because so much of it is lame, it irritates them beyond belief. We've all become masters at filtering it out and when that doesn't work we block it altogether.

At the same time, people are actively looking for help finding the right products and services, for them. They constantly access information, when, where and how they want to help formulate purchase decisions.

So rather than grind over the next new technology that will disappoint in its ability to make hunting any easier, why not come to grips with your reality and try something so old that it's new.

"Stop hunting and start farming!"

Note: This is a phrase we started using at my agency, Sq1, back around 2000, coined by either my partner Tom Hansen or our Sr Planner, Jim "Wegs" Wegerbauer (currently at Dieste).

The position is dirt simple (sorry for the pun) and it seems relevant for this time of year. If you spend all your time hunting an audience that knows how to hide, you will perish under the snow til someone trips over you late next spring. Commit instead to cultivating your audience, inviting people in with entertaining content packed with real value. Be relevant, interesting and useful. Feed their passions, deliver solid information, enrich their experience and actually help them make good decisions. Do this and not only will they gladly sit at your table, they will bring their like-minded friends to do the same.

Oh, Happy Thanksgiving, BTW

First do the work to learn what people want and think they need. This will vary by segment and where people are within the sales cycle but your deeper understanding will help develop content that attracts and engages the audience and accelerates the individual's movement toward your brand.

Package valuable information in an entertaining/engaging bundle that the audience will find relevant, interesting and useful. The goal is to to enrich their experience and let them see inside your brand. With each communication offer them more detailed information so they will be willing to take that next step with you.

Deliver it whenever, wherever and however they want it. When you do this diligently and transparently, you will build credibility and, eventually, they will give you their email and allow direct contact.

We link powerful, relevant, interesting and useful stories into a brand narrative that cultivates our audience. We attract, engage and motivate people to move toward our elevated brand and show them some real love when they do.

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