Being authentic with your audience
The traditional way of marketing was to show the final, polished product only when you were done and ready to go to market. You probably spent months conducting consumer research, finding the perfect widget Y to go in slot X, and then you took sanitised, professional photos of your product and sent out glossy brochures and ads to drive interest and orders.
Unfortunately, consumers have simply become too savvy to fall for that type of perfect, polished ad any longer. Advertising has so bombarded consumers over the last 60 years that they can recognise it almost instantly in any context, and know that the promise is too good to possibly deliver.
The best marketers are keying into this generational shift in advertising attitudes. They’re still marketing to their customers, but in a more authentic and genuine way that actually provides value to current and potential customers.
Being authentic means showing not only the final product that you are selling, but the process to develop that product. One of the best examples we’ve come across recently is by the team over at Lily Camera. They’re currently developing a camera drone that follows you as you raft down a river or bike along the road – hardly a small technical challenge.
Their emails are the best place to see this authenticity in action (definitely subscribe!), but the blog is great as well to get a sense of how they describe their process. They’re not shy about saying when things went great with their camera tests, and when they didn’t go so great and what needed to get fixed. What’s wonderful is you see these are real people working hard to make something new and useful, and it’s not always a smooth road to bring a product into the world.
Once you start to notice the companies that do this well you’ll wonder why all companies don’t commit to this type of transparency and authenticity. Sometimes it might be for regulatory and consumer-protection reasons which of course are completely valid, but most of the time companies simply do not want to show how the sausage is made. They feel exposed by sharing their process with the world.
Now, email and blogs may not seem like marketing and advertising, at least in the traditional sense. Make no mistake though, Lily know what they’re doing. Their product hasn’t even launched and already they have a database of interested, engaged, and excited customers that are ready to order (many have already pre-ordered) before the product is even for sale. Imagine if they tried to do the same thing with banner ads on a random website?
The trick is, this conversational type of marketing is harder than putting together a press ad or Facebook post. It takes more thought, more time, and a different type of staff to churn out decent content on a regular basis. But the benefits both in terms of brand loyalty and SEO lead to a significant increases in sales over time, and give you a competitive advantage that makes it nearly impossible for your competitors to match.