No matter what industry we're in, we need the end consumer's attention.
Whether you sell sneakers, watches, pastries, spa services, or other items, someone has to see you before they're able to make a purchase or tell a friend about your services.
What this means for us in 2019 and beyond is that we actually need to be in the business of delivering valuable content to the end user instead of defaulting into the short term sales driven behavior that many people default into.
Having been active in the business world in NYC since 2014, the pattern that I've observed for someone starting their business on instagram looks something like the following:
Idea for product to sell
Make Instagram Around that product
Post That you're selling the product hoping someone buys
After which they create spammy posts using phrases such as "shop now", "book us", etc in 99% of all posts made. And if there's anything that I've come to understand is that human beings are amazing at ignoring things they aren't interested in, and spammy posts are one of those things.
With Instagram and other platforms that have been around for a while becoming increasingly crowded, it will become ever more easy to block out spammy content because there's just so much.
I believe that a sound strategy that has to do with the consumer's best interest at heart will be the thing that sets meaningful direct-to-consumer brands apart from mediocre businesses that are created everyday as we continue to enter the explosion of businesses across the globe.
This is not to bash sales because a true sales pipeline is the thing that's important to business growth. My argument goes beyond sales and into the world of branding. Yes, we can trade off small sales but what about when the customer acquisition costs sky-rocket and our customer lifetime value is less that the cost to acquire a single customer? What about when we enter a world driven on the back of consumer scale voice activated devices? Do you believe that your brand that's merely sales driven will be able to weather the storm? Only time will tell.
So if you're looking to create trust there's many ways to go about it and some of the first strategies that I think about have to do with providing upfront entertainment, or education.
Education in my point of view in a business setting has to do with teaching someone about your products or services by giving them the tools and resources to make an informed purchase even it's from another vendor.
Pretty counterintuitive right? But! Wouldn't you trust the company that gave you an all access free trial, or the company that taught you some things about marketing, photography, or mental-wellness more than the person who constantly harasses you for your hard-earned dollars?
Now, in the case of entertainment value, I think that this can be something comedic, it can be a meme, a relatable truth about human nature such as how fickle we are, how fascination with each other, sex related topics, insightful conversations within a podcast episode, and so much more.
In both of these cases, I strongly believe if the customer isn't the focus, then you're truly missing the opportunity to build a powerful brand.
And here's to my final point about the media company mentality. The more you treat your business like a media outlet, the more freedom you have to discuss a wider range of topics which then gives your business the voice and leverage it needs to attract a diverse array of customers.
Do you want to be spammed all day? Or would you be more trusting of the therapist that gives you tips and actionable items that you can apply to your life on a daily basis. I truly believe it's worth thinking about and implementing right away.
The world has changed already so I believe in innovate or die. And I hope that you choose to innovate.