The world is a different place these days, it should go without saying, but for some reason a large portion of the digital marketing world isn’t paying attention to this change and adjusting to stay relevant.
There are whisperings of it in small corners of the online world from those brave enough to give it voice. Sometimes you have to know what to look for, sometimes you just have to be an intentional observer. But once you see it in one place, you see it everywhere.
“I’ve stopped following [insert big name]” and “I’ve unsubscribed from [insert big name] email list” and “I’m so over seeing [insert big name]’s tired message”.
It’s happening because the digital marketing world is changing.
Actually – it’s not the digital marketing world that’s changing, or any specific marketing trend, but the world that’s changing around digital marketing and those who won’t change with it to stay relevant.
But, what keeps you up at night?
For as long as I’ve been a part of digital marketing, the name of the game has been to find and identify the pain points your customers are dealing with right now that you specifically can solve.
“What keeps them up at night?” the turn of phrase repeated over and over again. “If you can figure out what problem they’re having and how you can solve it, you’ll be a raving success”, the previously accepted mantra.
But within that we’ve accepted that we can speak to, agitate, and solve these tiny problems without addressing the rest of the human experience happening around that person. Like they live in this insular world and if we just talk to this one small piece of who they are it will work.
We’ve accepted it because it has worked.
And then 2020 happened.
And the rest of the world came crashing into digital marketing.
“What keeps them up at night?” is no longer a singular or innocent question.
And it absolutely does not warrant an answer that has anything to do with the business you run.
There is a human experience we are all journeying through right that is raw and primal and has nothing to do with what life looked like six months ago.
When we just had to deal with the pandemic, before racial injustice, an election, an economic crisis, and everything else that has made this year unbelievable, we were all reduced to the same, level, playing field.
When we just had to deal with the pandemic, having children barge in on virtual meetings was no longer an event reserved for those of us used to balancing parenting and work.
When the economy started to collapse, the amount of money your business once made was almost inconsequential now. No one knew where the next paycheck was coming from.
When racial injustice finally came to the forefront of our communities, the breakdown of the white, cis-gendered, CEO, finally took place (although maybe not long enough or effectively enough, but that’s another topic).
The level playing field meant we were all human – and equal.
Now, so much of the world seems to be easing back into this “new normal” and there’s a division underway. This time, however, it’s a division that’s happening in quiet corners of the internet by those feeling it, not even necessarily knowing what’s happening. The old “normal” is dead and gone in marketing – those messages speaking to pain points that are singular and insular – no longer fall with the humans of today.
So go back to the question we hear again and again, but ask it thinking about your audience today:
What’s keeping you up at night?
Within that answer, it’s easy to see what other humans need right now – what they’ve actually always needed: your audience needs to feel seen, heard, and respected in the human experience. In order to stay relevant in your marketing, you absolutely must acknowledge the change.
Human behavior is changing and so marketing is, too.
7 Things to do Today to Stay Relevant
Here are seven things that you can do right now to make sure you’re on the right track in your marketing to stay relevant as the world is changing around us:
- Spend more time observing and listening: Pay attention to what your ideal client are saying on social media. Has the trend of what they’re talking about shifted? Can you uncover what their underlying fears and concerns are?
- Ask deeper and more open ended questions: Instead of spending so much time trying to fix their problems, prompt your audience to tell you how they’re feeling with open ended questions.
- Get personal in a new way: can you invite a few of your most active supporters on social media to an exclusive virtual event, like a virtual dinner facilitated by Jube? Can you host virtual networking events, intentionally bringing together people in complimentary fields?
- Re-evaluate your content and copy: does your “old” message still fit with this new world? What is your audience actually dealing with these days? Are you leveraging scarcity, fear and pain? Try this instead.
- Become more transparent in your own marketing: one of the biggest motivating factors for people right now is transparency – they’re feeling swindled and lied to at every turn, no matter their personal beliefs. There’s so much distrust being facilitated in the media and that’s going to trickle into your marketing. How can you show your audience what’s happening behind the scenes of your business and product?
- Tell your personal stories: your audience is desperate to see your humanness. Now, more than ever, your stories are going to impact them. And before you tell me that you don’t have any good stories to tell – I’ve got you covered.
- Play with it: The only real way to navigate this kind of changing landscape is to play with it. Forget all the conventional things you’ve done in the past, or the tropes of the “gurus” and start experimenting with what you can do with and for your audience. The rules are being broke all around us, so go in curiously and lightly and play.
The Bigger Change Coming…
Over the next six months I think we’re going to see marketing continue to change in big ways – this is just the beginning – and it will be our job to stay relevant while staying authentic.
The reality is, no one really knows what’s happening or going to happen, but now, more than ever, take the time to practice observing and listening. Go deeper in your relationships with your audience even if they’re never invested financially in you – especially if they’ve never invested financially in you.
This is your permission slip to deepen those relationships; relationships are the currency that is about to become the most important piece of your marketing.