As we continue down the CRE marketing road we will continue to see phrases and terminology that sound great when pitched, but upon closer inspection doesn't really say much without a larger plan. Last time we explored phrases like "Content is Key," and "Low Hanging Fruit." This time, we will look at some more offenders that are marketed to marketers. You would think that a marketer could spot hyped-language from a mile away and see past the curtain of promised ROI and results. However, even marketers want wins, and the appeal of a quick success is...well...appealing!
Once again, let's dive into the murky waters of buzzwords, hype-language, and hyperbolic phrasing.
"Marketing to Millennials"
Everyone is talking about this mysterious, unpredictable, and entitled generation of technology-engrossed hipsters who just don't seem to want to spend money like the old days. How do we, as marketers, reach these youths without downloading ourselves into a program and showing up as an app on their social media feeds? The answer is simple, and is also the same tactic you use in real life when trying to attract new friends, or expand your networking group for work.
Millennials aren't some new species of human that have emerged from the digital ether. They don't talk in binary code, have plugs in the back of their necks, or prefer to have conversations in 140 characters or less. They are people, and people like to browse interesting content and be entertained. It really is that uncomplicated. In fact, Ann Handley recently spoke at ICSC's Mocial conference in San Francisco about this very subject. I highly recommend reaching out if you or your company seems stale or stuck, as it was the standout presentation as far as content goes, in my professional opinion.
Just for a moment forget about apps, social plug-ins, customized websites, Instagrams, Tweets, and boosting posts. Forget about jumping onto some hashtag bandwagon, or trying to be quirky by emulating some famous Youtube personality's brand and voice. First, you figure out what story you want to tell. Even if your company owns hundreds or thousands of properties across the country, each piece of content you put out has to be its own narrative. Then you have to tie it back into your overall company strategy.
Sound difficult? In many cases it is, but that is why you are a professional marketer. It is your job to come up with creative ways to do this. NOW you can start looking at your different tools and brushes to paint on the canvas that is the internet. Just remember to be considerate, be entertaining, and make your information easy to use and access.
The term "curated content" immediately pleases the ear, as it conjures up images of finely crafted pieces of marketing art that you can then use to your advantage. However, there is no standardized and specific definition of what this is. Some could argue that a nebulous definition allows it to be flexible and contort to the shape of the project it's being applied for. While true in some cases, it can also be used as an alliterative marketing trap.
If an agency promises you curated content then you should immediately be cautious. Literal curators are people who organize art based on what kind of visual story they are trying to tell about the message in the pieces. It's a unique process that is rarely replicated in two different spaces, and tries to be considerate of the audience while simultaneously controlling the flow of information presented.
What that means is YOU have to be the curator. The agency and their creatives/strategists are the painters and artists, putting together the material that you, the marketer, has to organize to tell your company story. It's a partnership, and should never be looked at as a turn-key service. This all ties back into story and narrative structure.
Why? Because that's how humans like to be informed about things. There is a reason films have three acts and a narrative path. Remember that upside-down check mark from school with the rising action, climax, and conclusion? Any commercial or marketing campaign has the same thing, just in a shorter form. If you aren't telling a story that has an end/call to action, then what exactly are you communicating?
Whether it's your brand, company goals, properties, tenants, financials, or employee highlights, everything you do must have a purpose. Even if that purpose is to test the marketing waters, putting out content for content's sake is never a winning strategy. While you explore these rough seas of finding the right people to assist in your marketing goals, be mindful of red herrings flying above your sails. You are the captain of this story-telling vessel, so make sure that you have a clear direction and heading.