Category Archives: Inbound Marketing

Also called Pull marketing. All about marketing that draws the user to your product as opposed to push marketing, that pushes the advertising message out at the reader.

Micro moments that pull marketing

Although Google seems to have coined the phrase, micro-moments are not a Google invention. You and I invented them by how we behave. And now they are changing marketing. Big time. How’s that possible for a word that still doesn’t exist in Wikipedia but gives over 43 million results when I seek it on Google?

akallevig_micro-moment_blogroiSo what are micro-moments really?

In the fragments of the lives we live today, they are best summed up as the stolen media moments in-between. Examples? The quick look at todays news while you’re on the bus on your way to work. The link you came across and clicked while you were really only checking a message on Facebook while waiting for a friend in a restaurant. The search you did in that same restaurant to figure out an item on the menu in French. And the reviews you checked on the way there to just to be sure. And then there’s that YouTube video you searched up at work to find out how the new microwave worked when the manual had already been lost. The list is endless for just one single day. Try it for yourself for a day – you might be surprised.

Some buzzword seekers try to limit it to a mobile phenomena. Which it is. But not just. Through the eyes of Google it may seem like a search thing. Which it is. but not just. It’s about how we behave, largely because of two things:

  • Vast amounts of information available at our fingertips 24/7
  • The fragmentation of our media consumption time into very small, specific pieces, largely as a result of availability

We jump in and out of media on one subject at a time, many times a day. Yes, we may sit down and read page by page or surf around once in a while, but at the end of the day, the majority of our media consumption is spent in many very small increments.

So what does this mean for inbound marketing?

It means that inbound marketing, aka. pull marketing, is the only way to stay relevant to the consumer in these very short media moments. Now more than ever you need to match your marketing to where that consumers head is at that moment, as relevant as possible. Demographics and old fashioned targeting is much less important than what they wan’t at that moment. If my micro moment is playing a game while I wait for the bus, I wan’t to be entertained. It’s hardly the time to sell me insurance. But you can sell me other entertainment alongside that game. And if I’m seeking a restaurant in a given area, you might be able to hijack me to another. Or to a bar near by first. But probably not to an appliance store in another town.

Programatic will be key to micro-moment marketing

Obviously, It’s impossible to follow these micro-moments with marketing manually. This is one of the reasons why it’s such a Google thing – search is and has always been rigged for this. Search engine marketing has always been triggered by what you seek in any given moment. But that doesn’t mean other forms of marketing can’t maximise on the same benefits. Programatic offers vast new possibilities to target your advertising to consumers by what they are doing right now. A set of conditions can easily dictate what creative is served. But it requires a different way of thinking about developing good campaigns.

The need to let go

What will stop many marketers is the thought of making all the different creative formats. Already 13 banner formats for Google Display Ads seem daunting. Multiply that by various messages to be in the right place at the right time with just the right message and it can become overwhelming. There are simple programatic solutions that change content in ads depending on context, but that means less control of the look of the ad. Most likely we’ll have to sacrifice some visual control of the marketing to win contextually. Will it mean less need for creatives? I don’t think so. We’ll just ´need a different kind of creative work. We’ll need those that thrive in imagining every possible customer journey and finding the right answer to the likely customers’ every possible request. Many of the best creators, as well as their clients, will probably have to let go of some visual control of the end result, to get rewarded with more complex, exciting conceptual work instead.

We want this because, when you think about it, the programatic marketing solutions available are only as great as the creative work we put into them. And with so little time, we want every micro-moment to be great, right?

Content Marketing: Learn from the old Michelin Guide

article illustration by @akallevigToday, when we speak of content marketing, many think of it as something new and Internet related. It’s not, and here’s what we can learn from and old and surprisingly lean star.

Say content marketing, and most thoughts go straight to company blogs or social media marketing of web content. But if we look up the term content marketing in Wikipedia it’s defined as “any marketing format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers”. Not only is that a lot more than web postings, it has existed as mass marketing since the 19th century.

The Michelin-guide showed the way

For example, have you thought about what an early and extremely successful example of content marketing the Michelin-guide is? It’s also a brilliant example of how to build content on something exciting outside the actual product to market it – completely without talking about the less exciting product. The Michelin guide was so successful that it grew from a company brochure to become a commercial success product in it’s own right, where the restaurants in today’s edition are hardly roadside fast food, and the competition to get in there is fierce. Foodies from all over the world plan entire road trips by the guide, and will probably arrive om Michelin tires since the tire manufacturer has grown to be one of the worlds top two and has become an international megabrand. Today the guide has long since gone viral with apps, interactive maps and other spin-off products. But what can the Michelin Guide in its most fundamental form teach us about digital content marketing? Here are three things:

  1. Always start with your target group, their needs and wishes. 
    Cars need tires, but cars don’t buy them – people do. For the majority of people, car tires are a low interest product. Most of us don’t think about them until we need new ones, and hope it’s not soon. We don’t like to have to buy them. The car enthusiasts are the exception, but they’re a tiny group compared to the total of car owners. So what if you instead look at a target group that goes for long drives and thereby wears out tires more frequently – what do that have in common? Sooner or later they have to stop for food! This you can know without asking (which was good for Michelin, since market research was a bit more cumbersome in those days). It addresses a primary need, universal to all humans who own a car. Thereby the guide solved a real problem for the target group long before McDonalds or the GPS could help you on your way. What is it you target group really needs or wants that indirectly sells your products?
  2. Writing about your product is not always the best way to sell it. 
    Users who drive a lot wear out their tires and need new ones more often. If your brand name is top-of-mind when they do, they’ll definitely consider or even chose you. Therefore the goal of the marketing was to make the target group want to drive more and longer – maybe even a detour. So why not write about restaurants so fabulous they are worth extra mileage? Not only does this give many more exciting things to write about, it is more interesting for the user on a continued basis. If you don’t care about the tires until you need new ones, how often would you want to read about them, really? I don’t know about you, but good food in great travel destinations I could read about every day, travelling or not. The competitors were probably all still only writing about the fabulous attributes of their tires while Michelin could soon laugh all the way to the restaurant.
    So challenge yourself and step out of the brand you work for a moment. See if you have an equally unique perspective that is relevant to your product and marketing goals without talking about the product itself. Chances are, it will separate you from the rest – in a relevant way. And creating content will become much easier and more fun as well.
  3. Adjust the development continually based on response/ action. 
    The Michelin Guide started as a simple guide for roadside food in France but has developed into an international icon of the good life – and a status symbol. A promo from a tire producer – who would have thought? Many advertisers have trouble trusting the actions and advice from target group enough to act upon it. Having the target group change on you doesn’t make it easier (from mainstream to gourmet and broader again, in this case). Many things indicate that the Michelin brothers were visionary here as well – they kept track. On the company webpage we can read how André Michelin in 1920 found the then free guide from Michelin used to prop up an unsteady workbench in an auto shop and concluded that people only respect what they pay for. From there the guide went from being financed by advertising to becoming a purchase product without ads. To be worth the money the guide needed to be upgraded, and the rest is an historic evolution of a brand. Remind you of any Internett-startups you know? This shows a bold, user-centric approach, way ahead of it’s time.  It’s also remarkably lean long before lean management and much less lean marketing was even thought of. To this day many advertisers refuse to trust the customer this much in spite of the fact that good, valid data is now right at their fingertips. Both gathering the data and using them in a meaningful, analytical whole is so much easier and safer today, so use it for all its worth.

 Content Marketing is just so much easier now

With today’s Internet you have easy access to greater and more secure data, better and cheaper distribution channels and simpler follow-up and development. You also have a short way to many more customers in many more channels at once. So the next time you feel content marketing is just too much work, think of the Michelin Brothers going from auto shop to auto shop to see how their brochure is doing. You don’t have to visit a single customer to find out how your marketing works – you can reach out to all of them in seconds – even the ones you don’t have yet, across the globe.

All you have to remember is that still it’s all about generating valuable content that your target group will both need and share. All to keep you top of mind the next time they need what you have to offer.