Peak Marketing is the best outreach you can offer to your target audience. While every marketer strives to create experiences, content, and advertising which bring the highest level of return, it is only a select few campaigns which reach the qualification for “Peak” status.
The criteria to generate something which can be considered Peak are an excellent barometer for judging every item leaving the marketing department. (A special thanks to content author and marketer Ann Handley for this concise list.)
- Refreshing(ly different from what other businesses in its category do)
- Rooted in research
- Worth saving
In this blog, we will work down to the meat of Peak Marketing by putting a bit more flesh on the bullets above.
It’s a popular buzz word right now, much like Customer (or Member) Experience (CX), Big Data, AI, and so forth. Marketing buzz words can be viewed as meta-narratives (meta) for a range of activities aimed at generating higher returns.
Within each meta there are a slew of story arcs happening across industries. AI includes everything from automated responses to smart CRM workflows and beyond. Similarly, Big Data refers to the massive amount of information now available for just about any consumer anywhere in the world. Its segments include all of the different ways this data can be obtained and used to target audiences and delight current clientele.
As a meta, the term “personalization” is somewhat ambiguous. It is segmentation. It is content triggered by consumer interactions (Figure 1). It is the use of AI and Big Data to generate dynamic CX. Or, as demonstrated by a certain internationally known soda company (the one with the red label), it could be as simple as slapping millions of first names on labels and sending people on a hunt to find “their” bottle.
There is something to be said about being first to market. Think about all of the brands you know well. What comes to mind when you think of batteries, soda, ketchup, or electric cars? The name brands you think of are most likely the same ones that originally brought the technology (or flavors) to the public. But providing something first does not always guarantee top-of-mind placement. Pushing to market correctly can have a similar effect.
What comes to mind first when you think of social media, search engines, or smartphones?
Facebook®, Google®, and iPhone® are most likely what sprang to mind. The leaders in those markets, right? (Buffer/WebFX/DeviceAtlas). But those were not the brands who first launched in their niche. Those original brand names lost market share to the current leaders because they had poor implementation or they failed to move quickly to meet demand – in both innovation and advertising. Their lapse provided the current top brands an opportunity to offer something refreshingly different.
Rooted in Research
We’re going to get cliché here for a moment. Knowledge is power. In this case, it is the power to persuade, elicit emotion, and create a connection. You cannot do any of these things by blindly stabbing in the dark.
Financial institutions have a wealth of information regarding account holder buying habits, income, age, and other demographics. The ability to track website and mobile use as well as everyday phone and chat interactions dramatically expands the ability to understand your audience. Coupling this knowledge with extensive A/B testing programs can help you determine what to promote, who to push it to, and what type of messages they might prefer.
Have you ever downloaded something from a landing page, kept something a company mailed to you, or shared an intriguing email? What was it about that particular item that made you take action? Was it insightful, inspiring, or funny? Whatever it was, it had to be something which made it unique.
In her most recent “Total Annarchy” newsletter, Ann Handley details a college admissions letter received by a friend’s son (Figure 2). The correspondence is handwritten in two-tone calligraphy, several pages long, and includes minute details speaking directly to the young man to whom the message was addressed. The mailpiece required a lot of time and effort to put together.
A franchise company created a “map to success and profit” as a direct mail piece for qualified prospects. While a map alone may not seem inspiring, the marketing firm working on this particular project rolled each map individually into a small glass bottle and nestled it in a small crate ready for shipping. You can bet these hand-crafted souvenirs garnered a high level of response.
There are examples of non-direct mail peak marketing, too. Warren Buffett’s yearly letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, which is written as if directly to his sister. Apple’s iPhones have added a new feature that automatically produces videos from your photo albums for you. Blendtec has created a whole series of videos titled, “Will It Blend?”. All of these items are worth saving and sharing, especially for their target audiences.
Peak Marketing is the publishing the absolute best content and experiences you can offer to your audience. It is something to strive for in every campaign we produce. So, the next time you are working on your marketing strategy, see how many of these “peak marketing” boxes you can check. I know I will.