In ancient times (ie the 90s), marketing was all about having something to say. A proposition. Perhaps even a ‘USP’ — a unique selling proposition. We’re talking page one, chapter one, line one of the marketing manual.
You worked out what you wanted to say, and you said it. And hopefully, if you were really lucky, you had something unique to offer and say. And if you didn’t, you either made something up, or at the very least, told your ‘me too’ story in an interesting or unique way. As the old adage went “If you haven’t got anything to say, sing it”. And so it went.
Fundamental rules are still fundamental
Of course, regardless of technology, you’d think this logic and strategy would stand true today. It’s what I like to call a technology-proof ‘fundamental’. Whether you’re a business, or a job hunter, the fundamental rules still apply. Or at least they should.
For some absolutely ridiculously unknown reason, some people and businesses seem to have forgotten this. I call it ‘Field of Dreams Syndrome’. Haven’t seen the film? Don’t worry, I won’t spoil it for you (much), suffice to say Kevin Costner hears a voice that tells him “If you build it, they will come”. In the film, they do. In real life, it’s not that simple. And they don’t.
I don’t like pest control very much
You can build a shop, or a website, or set up a Facebook page, or send a CV, but that doesn’t automatically mean people will be interested. So why, oh why, oh why do I see ‘Like us on Facebook’ plastered everywhere? Today, as I walked home from the shops, I saw a pest control van parked up the road and plastered across the back, there it was, ‘Like us on Facebook’.
Let me be clear, it was a pest control van. An actual van. That comes to you place and kills bugs. Why the hell am I going to like their Facebook page? Seriously. What the… heck?
If you’re not Kanye, no one cares
Since when did anyone think other people are inherently, automatically interested in what they do? Don’t get me wrong, there are exceptions. If you’re Kanye or Bieber, you post a pic of you picking your nose, there’s a million likes coming you way. Guaranteed.
But if you’re a pest control company? You’re in as much trouble as Louie the Fly. Newsflash people: no one cares. Literally no one. Probably not even your friends. You kill bugs for a living. Or… .
Please, say something. Offer something.
Quite why anyone thinks people care is beyond me. Which brings me full circle to what you should take out of this.
Whether you’re a business, a brand, a single person looking for love, or a job hunter, you need to tell stories. And offer benefits. Solve problems. You need to tell people why they should care. What they’ll get out of it if they take action. What they’ll miss out on if they don’t. You need to given them an incentive to do something.
If it’s Facebook, maybe it’s as simple as “Like us on Facebook for special offers and discounts”. Or “Like us on Facebook for handy tips on how to keep your house bug-free”. Something. Anything. Literally anything is better than nothing.
Don’t be lazy. Don’t be dumb. Make an effort. And if you’re rubbish at coming up with something interesting and relevant, pay someone like me to do it for you. Or at the very least, save your money on that stupid ‘Facebook’ sticker. It’s a complete, and utter, waste of money.
Sputnik is an internationally awarded creative and brand consultant at Out of this World where he has worked on projects for some of the world’s biggest brands including Disney, Coca Cola, Unilever and The Simpsons. He is the author of 'The Swashbucklers Guide to Becoming an Astronaut' and the creator of the Job Hunter's Boot Camp.