Today’s Best Marketing is Not Advertising | Social Fresh 2015 Recap

Carolyn Kopprasch, Jay Baer, Adrian Parker, Jim Tobin

Social Fresh 2015 finished last week in Tampa and I’ve had a few days to reflect on what I learned during my three days there. It’s hard to explain what makes Social Fresh unique and special, but Savannah Peterson did an excellent job recapping that in this article, so I won’t go down that path.

What I will share, however, is how four seemingly disparate presentations, including my own, collectively delivered one compelling message:

The best marketing taking place today isn’t advertising.

Let’s take a look at what I mean:

Carolyn Kopprasch of Buffer on Radical Transparency


buffer transparencyCarolyn, who is in charge of Customer Happiness at Buffer, opened with the slide shown here on the right.

Now, imagine as a small, non-public company, if you would be comfortable sharing this level of data with some 500 perfect strangers? Buffer does it all the time.

In fact, they have a public spreadsheet, updated constantly, that lists the salaries of every single employee in the company.
By the way, Carolyn makes $137,000 a year in salary but she wisely chose equity in the company over a higher salary. That equity is currently valued at over $800,000. Smart move Carolyn.

Who shares so much “private” information?

A company now on a $7.52m run rate (according to their real time revenue dashboard), which is up from $4.1m exactly one year ago. Yes, I used their dashboard to sniff out their 82% growth.

People love Buffer. And this process has turned into a content machine. As Carolyn said from the stage:

The truth starts to tell it’s own story. Truth will be your content machine.

Turns out that transparency is pretty good marketing.

Jay Baer on Hugging Your Haters

hug your hatersJay Baer always has interesting things to say. But his newest insight, that “haters” of your company can be made valuable is, at first, counter-intuitive. Jay says you should answer:

Every Complaint. Every Channel. Every Time.

Don’t get him wrong, Jay has lots of ways to manage that so you don’t get into a shouting match with an imbecile. But his point, which is well documented throughout his speech, is that people who take care of their customers and take (reasonable) care of their complainers, make more money.

Turns out that customer service is pretty good marketing.

Adrian Parker of Patron on Borrowing Your Brand

Patron is a beloved tequila brand. And Adrian Parker is smart enough to know that he doesn’t own the brand. He gets to borrow it periodically, but his customers own it. That was the main focus of his presentation at Social Fresh.

The part that really jumped out at me, however, was the virtual reality experience that Patron has developed to deepen their connection to their customers on both the retail and the consumer side.

The YouTube experience doesn’t do it justice. But if you have a brand that is based on hand crafted quality, and you can bring someone to see it being made, you can make a customer for life.

Flying everyone to the Hacienda in Mexico isn’t practical, so Adrian and his team set about to make it a virtual reality experience that is now shared with distributors and even Social Fresh attendees. I tried it. Very cool. As Adrian said:

You’re not your brand’s Batman. You are your brand’s Alfred the Butler.

Turns out that an immersive brand experience is pretty good marketing.

Jim Tobin on Content Creation and Distribution At Scale

I’m not going to recap my presentation in total in this blog post. But I did spend a fair amount of time on two points.

1. Organish content costs less to distribute than ads on social media; and

2. Opt-in influencer marketing doesn’t work.

In short, Organish™ content is content that would perform well organically if people could see it. You may end up paying to boost it, but if you respect the channel on which you’re posting, it costs less to advertise to that channel.

On the other hand, if you try to automate or simplify influencer marketing by simply allowing self-styled “influencers” to opt-in to brand campaigns, what you get is a lot of garbage. This article does a great job explaining why. And we believe so firmly in it, we created Carusele to do legitimate content marketing.

What do those two things have in common? In both cases, we work hard to create the content before we worry about putting dollars behind it.

Turns out that legitimately good content is pretty good marketing.

Marketing is Changing

There are lots of ways to think about marketing these days, and our industry is in flux. Carolyn, Jay, Adrian and I came to Social Fresh from four different angles. But at the end of the day, we all talked about connecting with people in a real way. Advertising as it’s typically done is not the way to do it. We can, and are, doing better.

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