Marketing: Expectation vs. Reality

Marketing is a complicated aspect of business. Behind the college courses and beautifully designed how-to books is a profession that encompasses many other genres and practices. With everything that goes into marketing, it is truly a form of art in and of itself.

But this isn’t how it’s presented in schools. Marketing is taught as some sort of cold, analytical procedure that involves sitting behind a screen for eight or more hours each day, comparing key words for the most optimized search engines and maxing out Facebook and Google ad campaigns.

This has created a generation of marketing professionals that are very good at the analytics of their jobs but lack an understanding of the nuances of human nature. They can perfectly build a canvas but don’t have the skills to paint an image of beauty.

In this post, I would like to examine the expectations of marketing and contrast them to the reality that is in play all around the world.

Expectation: SEO is key to marketing

Reality: It’s important, but not as much as you think

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the art of optimizing your website or content to appear higher and more frequently in a Google search. This uses an in-depth knowledge of Google’s famous algorithm to maneuver it and promote your website.

The issue with this is that it hinges on the idea that more website traffic means more conversions. This is a false premise. Your website can be doing very well with traffic and yet you make little to no conversions.

This issue is solved by looking at who your target audience is and how you actually are catering to their needs on your site. A call-to-action that directly helps your target audience is a great way to increase conversions.

So although SEO is still an important part of marketing, it is not as critical as some marketing textbooks would want you to think.

Expectation: Marketing is mostly analytical

Reality: Marketing is mostly storytelling

As important as the analytical side of marketing is, it’s the stories that sell it.

Analytics will tell you the details of your content and audience. It will reveal what types of content are attracting new followers and what types aren’t. You can see what is drawing conversions and what is driving people away. But when it comes to creating kickass content that your audience loves, you have to turn to good ol’ fashion storytelling.

We humans are storytelling creatures. Ever since the dawn of mankind, we have told stories to ourselves to make better sense of the world. On top of that, stories make the world a more enjoyable place.

A successful marketing campaign creates an engaging story that is focused on the brand’s mission strategy. This story is written and enacted for a specific target audience. Analytics are a useful way of tracking the success of each story and tailoring the next based on the results.

Expectation: You can have a universal message for all platforms

Reality: Each platform has it’s own language

Any given marketing campaign will most likely involve social media. It’s easy to lump all social media apps under one umbrella, but the truth is far more nuanced than that.

Each social media platform has it’s own unique language. The users like this and don’t want to listen to another language. To reach TikTok users, you have to speak the language of TikTok; to reach Facebook users, you have to speak a different language, even if you have the same followers on both platforms.

You learn what these languages are by knowing your target audience and being on the same apps as them. If you created a brand for folks in their 20s and 30s, then you should already know them at some level and be aware that Instagram and TikTok are the best ways to reach them.

Stories can work across multiple platforms, but it has to be tailored to fit each unique language. It will require a little more work on your end, but the results will speak for themselves.

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