The Gravity of Digital Marketing shares how online marketing requires thinking differently. Rather than “military think” (capture, own, exploit) or “biology think” (viral, sinew connections) attraction drives digital marketing. Digital marketing must win customer hearts and minds. Conversations rather than lectures are the new brand storytelling.
As a result of marketing’s need to win customers hearts, minds and advocacy four particularly relevant posts (and books) become “must reads.”
- Mark Bonchek’s essential A Good Digital Strategy Creates Gravity via Harvard Business Review
- Michael Lewis’ excellent Flashboys book
- Barabasi’s crucial Linked: How Everything Connects To Everything Else book
- Simon Sinek’s Start With Why book
And with these in mind five “new marketing” ideas collide.
- Internet Time Is Always NOW
- Networks Are Different
- Movement Marketing = Biggest Digital Marketing Trend NO ONE Understands
- Influencers & Force Multipliers – Do You Know Yours
- WHY not HOW
Digital Marketing – Internet Time
Vast stretches of time with nothing happening. That’s how Michael Lewis described the millisecond by millisecond analysis inside stock market exchange computers. After reading Linked, we bet the same “lots of time with nothing happening” goes for the Internet too. The rich get richer is Barabasi’s conclusion – big websites get bigger faster.
“Law of large numbers” means little guys get crushed by the rapid scale of big guns. Einstein’s “space/time” is a helpful way to visual the web. The “big guys” are planets with BIG attraction and “gravity.” Smaller websites are asteroids or “space junk” easily trapped or exploited by the “big guys” planetary gravity.
NOW is the only online “time.” Watch Joi Ito explain NOWISM in his TED Talk especially the last 10 minutes. Nowism obliterates nostalgic ideas about planning, expertise, and historical trends. You can’t plan when the digital world changes so fast. Expertise is never greater than crowd wisdom. History can prove misleading and faulty in a “nowist” and complex environment.
Digital Marketing – Networks Are Different
Networks don’t create relationships. Gravity, attraction, and weather-like predictions are things networks “understand.” When a “big site” bends the web’s “space/time” attraction, gravity, and following results. Scale provides a multiplier. The positive virtual cycle of “rich get richer” escalate with scale.
Web developers shouldn’t compete with Amazon. They should collaborate with Amazon while disrupting the Big A. Here are a few favorite ways to work with while undermining Amazon:
- Reviews (needs attribution but no links back)
- No reviews? Seed reviews with the most important points from Amazon reviews
- Use Amazon reviews to help create content on your blog and site
- Debates – create a discussion between your customers and those who say different things on Amazon
- Context – place Amazon’s reviews in context of other relevant gurus in your space
- Store (same tips go for eBay and other sales platforms you don’t own)
- Branded – NEVER sell your branded products on Amazon, but create new lines designed FOR Amazon
- Metrics – change your marketing and distribution to maximize gains based on what you learn
- Merchandising – create unique merchandising
- Niches – address unique niches within your categories such as an audio cable store (headphones) or lampshades (furniture)
- Narrow Niches – create new stores for subdivisions within a niche like “lamp shades” into “Tiffany lampshades.”
- Social Media
- Conversations – Amazon is too big to LISTEN or have authentic conversations so you should
- UGC – Amazon can’t elevate user-generated content (UGC) so you should
- ASK – Amazon won’t ask for help so you must
This list could go on, but you get the idea. There are lots of ways to “collaborate” with the Big A while you undermine their power, build strong relationships with the customers you want, and begin to wrap the web’s space/time in your favor (a little).
Digital Marketing – Movement Marketing
People love low prices is how Amazon’s founder explained the Big A’s creation story. True, but we don’t CARE ABOUT low prices. We don’t BUY brands we JOIN them is a favorite quote. The “futurologist” Faith Popcorn’s quote speaks to the connection, emotions, and desires connected to buying. We shop therefore we are an important idea even as and how we shop changes rapidly.
When everything we want is available from multiple “good” suppliers, we buy from those we LOVE. We love companies, brands, products, and services that INCLUDE us, leave room for our collaboration and ask for our help. We want to join communities, have experiences we can share, and discover new ways to connect with people, places, and things.
Tough Mudder, a hard marathon where racers plunge into freezing water, run through mud all while being hectored to do better couldn’t exist without social media. Find ways to make your content, brands, and products into a movement others want to join.
Ways to create movements:
- Ask for help
- Listen and act on what you hear
- Find “universal” ideas your business impacts, influences, or is related to
- Create unique ideas with benefits other than profits
Digital Marketing – Know Your Influencers and Force Multipliers
Watch Mastin Kipp explain how awareness force multiplier Kim Kardashian saved his “Daily Love” business on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday.
We used to believe in a daisy chain of “viral communication” – we could “daisy chain” a million followers with average following into a movement. We don’t believe in the “daisy chain” today. Research shows we need “force multipliers” to punch through the clutter. When a force multiplier such as Kim Kardashian (or Seth Godin in marketing) shares, advocates, and recommends you, your brands or products scale happens. But there’s a problem.
You can’t troll, trap or bait influencers or not ones who will matter. Read Sinek’s Start With Why and you’ll understand the importance of knowing, sharing, and being flexible with your values, experiences, and ideas is a CSF (Critical Success Factor). Who can’t bait influence, but you can increase chances of being passionate, authentic, asking for help, and plugged into a greater good (a movement).
Not all visitors, buyers or advocates are equal. Know who your “force multipliers” are at the very least. Make lists of those influencers who you’d like then follow and share their work (a great non-creepy way to introduce yourself). Be PRESENT on social media and try unique ideas that touch every point we’ve made and chances for earning the support of a Kim Kardashian or Seth Godin increase.
Digital Marketing – Why not How
Here is Simon Sinek explaining the “golden circle”:
What is your CAUSE, belief and why should anyone care? Apple’s purpose is promoting exploration not making “computers.” Apple eliminated “Computers” from their name because Apple is about challenging the status quo, caring about design, and making exploration easier. Knowing and sharing your “why” means others can follow, support and advocate.
People don’t buy what you do they join what why you matter. Apple makes people better and, as Sinek points out, making people better is easy to extend into phones, music, and self-driving cars. After consulting for hundreds of e-commerce clients communicating HOW before and with more significance than WHY is the #1 mistake we observe and have a hard time fixing.
Type A entrepreneurs like to DO THINGS. Listening, watching and getting to know themselves better to share more, engage, and create movements aren’t ways they think about themselves. Every successful entrepreneur we’ve helped has WHY thinking present even if unacknowledged or underappreciated. When an otherwise brilliant man says, Amazon is about low prices he is a fool.
Amazon is a public fire we stop to warm our hands against together on a cold night. Amazon is a movement even if they don’t fully understand, embrace, or value it. If you want to thrive in the Age of Amazon, you must focus on, and share your WHY. Sharing isn’t enough. Listen, change, and evolve your core values, the creation story, and team bios as you learn from customers. When in doubt ask for help. When in further doubt listen more. Finally and only after asking for helping and listening create a little, watch the reaction and then create a tiny bit more.
Digital Marketing Post Script
Stumbled over a visualization from the Opte project I meant to include. The Opte project’s graphic demonstrates the gravity of digital marketing and the need to cut through the clutter.