Whether you are the owner of a business or the head of marketing, let’s face it—you want to dominate your marketplace. You want to be number one, and you won’t settle for a 20% growth rate putting you at a distant number 10.
So how are you going to achieve the growth rates you’re really looking for?
If you’re a smaller company living hand-to-mouth, it’s probably appropriate to choose a couple of tactics that work for you already and figure out how to optimize them for even better results.
Perhaps you’ve been spending money in pay-per-click advertising and had a positive ROI. Obviously, you’re going to continue the campaigns, but eventually the keywords that you’ve been paying for are going to have diminishing returns. After all, there’s only X number of global searches every month on any given keyword or keyword phrases, and so the next dollar you spend will have to be on different keywords with lower search rates, and so forth.
If you’re an email marketer, there’s a lot you can do to improve your results, such as improving the level of your content production, experimenting with different mediums and channels for distribution, or analyzing your subject lines and conversion rates to do more of what’s working.
But eventually you will cap out, and the only way to generate more leads for your sales team is to grow your database—and that comes with its own set of challenges: deliverability, segmentation, acquisition, and so on. Your audience is only so big and a certain percentage of those will never open your emails and another percentage will never look in their inbox in the first place.
Dominating your marketplace is going to require you to think about this entire process differently. You have to think like a media company.
Media companies are all about growing and retaining audience. It’s like trying to fill a bucket with a hole in the bottom—a certain percentage is always going to leak out and you must always be shoveling more into the top of the bucket. (This looks exactly like the sales funnel, which is why top-of-funnel has largely shifted to marketing.)
A great example is Redbull. Although most of us think of them as an energy-drink company, when you go to their website there’s not one single picture of an energy drink on their front page. In fact, you have to search a few pages before finding one. (In the upper-right-hand corner of their website, it says “Products” if you’re playing along.)
Redbull has flipped the model and redefined itself as a media company that produces all kinds of cool videos and articles—some for people into skateboarding, surfing, biking, extreme sports, etc. They even have their own record label and TV channel.
Not Just Their Marketing, But Their Whole Company
The point is that they know their audience so well that they can create content that keeps people coming back for more.
I get that this is a consumer brand and not a B2B company—but the lesson is the same: creating experiences is the next era of marketing. It’s not about branding and awareness, although that’s a side benefit.
I don’t think we have to all change our websites and redefine ourselves as media companies, but we absolutely need our marketing departments to start thinking that way. When you entertain, engage, and add value, anyone who wants to be smart in your industry is going to come to you because you're now the thought leader—and that’s what you want.
When you start to thinking about how these tactics will drive ongoing engagement as opposed to providing branding and awareness for sales, then you’re truly a media company.