Marketing Strategy

How to Market to Humans

By January 24, 2014 No Comments

What’s a pirate’s favorite thing about marketing?

Eh? Anyone? 

The arrrrrrrROI.

I’ll give you a minute to catch your breath after laughing so hard, because that one was hilarious. Okay, maybe not. But it’s Friday and you want a light moment, don’t you?

Have you thought that maybe your customers do, too?

One of the best parts of content marketing is that it humanizes marketing. When you research your prospects’ or customers’ needs and pain points, you’re actually learning about them as people. It’s easy to forget that sometimes, especially when we’re building “models” and managing giant spreadsheets with numbers in place of faces.

There’s a growing trend of “weirdness” in marketing. I have a friend named Ray who is not a marketer. But Ray appreciates marketing and he often sends me examples of oddball humor used in marketing/advertising campaigns.

Like this.

And this one.

Companies like Doritos, Geico, Taco Bell, and Old Spice seem to get weirder with each new campaign. There are a number of reasons these companies do this. 

Appeal to the Distracted Person

First, being funny or weird appeals to ever-shortening attention—oh look a squirrel!—spans. What these companies know is that this type of marketing or advertising sticks with people long after the initial touch.

If you watched that (fan-submitted) Doritos commercial above, odds are you left it thinking, “what did I just witness?” Maybe you share that with a coworker or friend, post about it on social media, or bring it up in conversation at Happy Hour. The life of that content is far longer than the 30 seconds it took to watch the video.

Distracted Cat

“Distractions? What do you me–?”

Appeal to the Bored Person

Adopting an “informal” or “humorous” tone can break the starkness in marketing (especially B2B marketing). Sometimes, lighthearted content, tweets, or fun responses can lead to interactions like this:

Kapost puppy tweet

Twitter examples

Twitter example

Now, I can get away with this because I have an executive team that supports witty quips. And also because I locked them out of our social media sites and have supreme rulership and they couldn’t stop me anyway (evil laugh). Okay, not that second part.

But you don’t have to post pictures of puppies to lighten things up. And you don’t necessarily have to be a comedic genius (like yours truly) to make content more “fun.”

Appeal to Different People

That brings up the third reason companies market and advertise like this—not everything you create must be done exactly the same way, or have exactly the same purpose, or be for exactly the same people. I’ve worked for companies that believed everything had to be gated. I’ve also worked for companies that didn’t gate a single thing. 

Gated content

I’m going with a “Go Broncos!” on this caption.  (Image: Insightera)

At Kapost, we mix it up. We gate some of our eBooks because they drive quality leads for us, but you’re reading my words right now without telling me your name or paying me a thing ( I mean, unless of course you want to do that second thing). We also host plenty of un-gated but valuable content on the Resources page of our website. 

Geico does ridiculous commercials involving cavemen and talking animals, but supplements that with excellent targeted email marketing and even direct mail. They use a variety of tactics and messaging, but the key to their marketing is understanding their audience(s) and targeting accordingly. This goes back to creating buyer personas and delivering custom content to these various personas at different buying stages—content marketing best practices.

And if you open yourself up to different ways of communicating with content, you’ll find them everywhere. My tweet above was initially about brand awareness—about getting further on to that prospective customers’ radar. I found David’s tweet above because I was listening on social for brand mentions and opportunities to join conversations in which Kapost has relevant things to say.

So don’t be afraid to play with your content a bit. Fridays are a good day to test this out, as people are often mentally preparing for the weekend and in a lighter mood. I’m not saying you have to tweet a series of corny marketing jokes or film a ridiculous video, but don’t be afraid to mix up your content style.

Marketing Jokes

Or, you could just tweet a series of corny marketing jokes.

Andrew J. Coate

About Andrew J. Coate

Oh. Hey there. I love talking with people. That trait has led me to serve as the digital voice of many organizations, ranging from indie bands to corporate brands. I love hockey, running, craft beer, and hilarious GIFs. Tweet your favorite joke to me at @andrewjcoate