Not All Marketing is Equal

What’s the best form of marketing?

Is it high-quality SEO? Long form blog posts and a website optimized for speed, user experience, and keyword/meta data?

Is it compelling digital advertisements? Are product ads on Facebook for something customers aren’t necessarily looking for considered great marketing? 

Is it pop-up boxes on your website encouraging people to sign up for your email list? Is it emailing people relentlessly about your product or service?

Is it viral social media posts? Being snarky on Twitter? Leveraging alluring influencers on Instagram?

Is it video ads you see on youtube or facebook or twitter or tv?

Or is it something else? As a consumer, what compels you to buy?

For me, the thing that consistently pushes me over the edge is social proof.

Customer reviews. Case studies. Testimonials. Testimonial videos. Social media posts.

It boils down to other customers talking about their experiences and recommendations.

I want the best stuff. As a consumer when I’m looking to buy something I want to know what other people liked and why they liked it. 

I know you’ve searched for reviews on mundane things just like I have. What kind of podcast microphone should I buy? What kind of portable hard drive is the best? What coffee shop near me has the best cold brew? What are the best restaurants nearby? What's the best brand of grass fed butter?

People are out there hunting for these kind of answers.

But what are most marketers focused on communicating?

Features. Feelings. Telling people why their product/service is the best.

Doritos commercials are entertaining because they’re gimmicky and ridiculous. But they don’t make me crazy cheesy chips.

Wendy’s twitter account is hilarious and ruthless, but it doesn’t make me want a frosty.

Jacked dudes on Instagram make me wants abs, but it doesn’t make me want to pay for their course on nutrition and abs.

Pop-up boxes on websites are the worst experience in the history of the universe and never make me want to join an email list.

Facebook ads for some meal delivery service with some irrelevant influencer and some ridiculous discount that somehow isn’t actually a discount because you still end up paying $50+ isn’t compelling me to buy either.

These tactics are effective to a degree. They get results. If they weren't getting results, most companies would stop doing them. But just because something is working doesn't mean there aren't better, more effetive options out there.

Recommendations from my friends and family and even strangers on the internet are the most compelling purchase triggers out there. What if marketing focused on customer satisfaction? Going above and beyond for existing customers? And then capturing and sharing those customer's reactions and testimonials?

I bought a lawn mower this past weekend because it had thousands of 5-star reviews. Even though the mower was slightly more expensive than a competitor, I bought the more expensive one because it had more 5-star reviews.

After I bought, I went and registered the purchase of my mower because they offered me a free blade if I did. At the end of registering they invited me to leave a review. I'm positive there will be email marketing headed my way in a few weeks asking me again to leave a review about the mower. Probably with some sort of incentive for me to do so.

When I leave an honest review, the cycle starts over anew for another potential customer somewhere.

That's an excellent marketing machine.

We could all learn something from it.