A classic 1960s ad aimed at getting marketing managers to advertise their company’s products in McGraw-Hill trade journals showed a picture of a dour-faced purchasing agent. The purchasing agent challenges the reader: “I don’t know who you are. I don’t know your company. Now, what is it you wanted to sell me?”
The increasing problem I see in much digital marketing today is pitches from companies and gurus who think I should buy their consulting services, seminar, boot camp, or training…yet I have never heard of them.
So why would I think they know anything or have any interest in what they are peddling?
Obviously we are much more likely to buy from someone we know, like, and trust than from a total stranger.
Yet so much online advertising I see today is from total strangers making the arrogant assumption that I know who they are and have an interest in them and what they are selling.
In one recent e-mail, AS, a wanna-be guru, proclaimed himself to be “the world’s #1 Internet marketing coach”.
Well, unless he is Terry Dean, Fred Gleeck, Perry Marshall, or Rich Scheffren in disguise…he is most assuredly not the world’s #1 Internet marketing coach.
The fact that I have been in info-marketing for decades but have never heard of him also puts his claim on thin ice.
In this respect, digital and direct marketers can learn a thing or two from the branding people—a group we direct marketers (me included) often view with contempt, because what they do seems to be all about image and not measurable.
But as Mary Ellen Tribby reminded her readers in a recent essay, brand advertising does have one powerful benefit: it gets the prospect to remember the product and the company selling it.
Intel and IBM made billions because they had built superior brands, not because they built superior technology. You trusted the brand. IT professionals have an old saying: “Nobody ever got fired for buying an IBM computer that didn’t work.”
Solopreneurs, self-employed professionals, consultants, speakers, and info-marketers use a variation of Madison Avenue advertising some call “personal branding”.
Personal branding is a combination of self-promotion tactics designed to boost your market’s awareness of you.
These tactics can include but are not limited to: search engine optimization, writing articles, PR, webinars, white papers, e-newsletters, case studies, blogs, special reports, books, seminars, speeches, social media and many others.
The common thread of all these tactics is the central premise of personal branding, which is this: selectively disseminating how-to information on your area of expertise to your target market of potential clients or customers.
It is in essence using content marketing to establish yourself as a recognized expert in your field.
And it does work: Many of my copywriting clients have told me they had read my books and articles or heard me speak prior to hiring me. The vast majority of my info-product buyers have read my articles in these twice-weekly e-mails, Target Marketing magazine, and other publications.
Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.