What modern marketing sorely lacks right now is entertainment. In this column -The Other EQ (Entertainment Quotient), I lay out my beliefs around the ‘age of entertainment’ in marketing and how it can be used to cut the digital content clutter.
A background of surrealism and deja vu
Allow me to take you back just a smidge…
At the end of 2019, we published the requisite “end of the year” post – and OMG we were excited for 2020! (cue mad cackling laughter)
Here’s a snippet (read the entire thing here) that has really given us pause through much of the past year.
You may be aware that we seem to be in the midst of a 100 year roll-over.
The soon-to-be Roaring ‘20s of the twenty-first century are looking more and more like the last Roaring ‘20s – minus flappers and prohibition (thank GOD! #daydrinking).
Have a look at what was happening in the 1920s:
- In some countries the 1920s saw the rise of radical political movements, especially in regions that were once part of empires.
- Communism spread as a consequence of the October Revolution and the Bolsheviks’ victory in the Russian Civil War.
- Fear of the spread of Communism led to the emergence of far-right political movements and fascism in Europe.
- Economic problems contributed to the emergence of dictators in Eastern Europe and the Balkans.
- The devastating Wall Street Crash in October 1929 is generally viewed as signalling the end of 1920s prosperity in North America and Europe.
Now, in hindsight, it’s painfully obvious 😂 that we missed one HUGE event that occurred as the original Roaring Twenties of the twentieth century were dawning.
Civilization had just seen the arse-end of the devastating Spanish Flu (also known as the 1918 Flu Pandemic).
Little did we know, back on December 31, 2019, as we sipped champagne and cheered the new year, that the twenty-first century’s Roaring Twenties would bring with it another global pandemic – the coronavirus – what we now call Covid-19.
That “100-year rollover” quip above, feels very prescient today.
As we fast approach the rest of the new ‘20s, we’re still reeling from the effects of Covid-19. The world expected and coped with the “second wave” and now, even a third wave (which, incidentally, also happened with the Spanish Flu), and society has had to learn to adapt.
One HUGE part of society has perhaps had to adapt the most: Business. When the “shut down switch” was flipped back in March 2020, companies were forced to shift gears, regroup, and for many, hit the digital space for the first time.
What people said would take decades to do happened in under a week even for the slowest of supervised infrastructure.
Obviously, that came with the wonder of discovery.
A true milestone for the democratization of content. Everyone was a publisher, which of course came with its own problems of freedom of speech vs the sanctity of news.
In that legacy, let’s ask is it communication? Or therapy?
Back to the point at hand, universal truths. Post-2020, there is a common understanding of what’s needed to offset the toll of grief. Of life, liberty, and the cost of living.
A need to focus on the upsides.
Yes, there are upsides to this! Many upsides.
Absorbing ten years of change in under a year will go a long way.
When future historians look back, the phenomenon of appealing to deeper levels of the consumer mind will have originated here, at the dawn of the new roaring ‘20s. Bringing with it a forever changed way of communicating.
If the way we market and talk to our audiences has changed for good, what are we going to do? How are we going to keep the wheels of this economy turning if the rules have changed?
Given the reduced reach from the ensuing clutter in most digital platforms, how do we grab an audience that’s already being bombarded with messaging (and stress!)?
Of course I’m going to say you need to find your funny side at this point!
Which leads me to very-important-lesson-number-2-in-entertaining ie: there are some universal truths
And no truth is more universal than pandemic living. Lean in there. It’s an easy win. Will people be bored with it soon? Yes. And do it anyway. It’ll be a while before we get a point that a pandemic reference, well-executed won’t crack a smile
“So how can I apply this in my business/marketing job, Susan?? It all sounds esoteric, and ‘perhaps next year’ ish.”
I hear you, friend. And I have an example.
Let’s talk selling. Most of us sell, either directly in some capacity as founders, or via elaborate funnels and representatives. But dollars in the door is a universal goal.
The whole world tells you ‘don’t sell!’ in post-pandemic times.
What does that even mean? How will the business goal be served if you don’t “sell”?
And how in heck can there be anything remotely resembling an entertainment quotient in the selling process?
It always helps to start with what NOT to do.
Let’s imagine cold outreaches and connecting is part of your goal (and I’d argue it should be a part of everyone’s goal, on LinkedIn at the very least).
This is how it’s usually handled 👇
(Please don’t be this person! Not this. Please don’t still be doing this, whether you’re a software, or a service provider, or a strategist. Just NO!)
“Hi I’m XX and I’d like to add you to my network and set up a meeting to talk about secret to selling 10X your financial products”
Trust us. Nobody wants to hear it.
Allow me to break down why!
- It’s generic
- The promise is sensationalized (at best) and maybe even untrue (at worst)
- It shows zero knowledge of the audience
- It’s moderately condescending and slightly irritating
- It uses far too much jargon
Even moderate efforts towards ‘adding value’, with zero personality and a bit more intelligence would work. And is repeatable. Like this 👇
“I’ve been chatting with Independent financial advisors like yourself. I’m hearing that they are find it hard to quantify the value of the advice they deliver.
We have been deploying a system that helps them create products out of service infrastructure to help our client base monetize over 50% of ‘free advice time’.
I thought you might find this article on ‘the how’ useful (link).”
And that comes after having a first degree connection or online relationship of some type to begin with.
But consider this version 👇💫
YY was so right when she told me that you’re the funniest financial advisor she’s ever met. Anyone who compares financial hard limits to S&M safe words in post-pandemiic times has my vote. (*cues quarantennial joke*)
(this can be anything. But it does need to be the funniest thing they said. That’s going to take research. I didn’t promise it was easy. I promised ‘simple’)
YY tells me you spoke earlier about finding a way to channel that wonderful voice into the app you have been working on.
I’ve attached an article and a video on the subject of bring brand voice into the user experience (links).
Could you review these ahead of the meeting we’re scheduling for next week where I’m interviewing you on your plans for our podcast? Bonus, the video is made in the style of ‘50 shades of grey’ what are the chances??”
Which version do you think is going to resonate and cut through the clutter? And create commitment and follow through? With the side benefit of making your target smile?
I hear what you’re saying
“I don’t have that information”
“I don’t have a 50 shades of grey video”
“I don’t have a podcast to invite anyone to”
Well, start somewhere. There are endless GIFs, videos that are downloadable in creative commons, phones that carry the shooting power of a whole feature film a few years ago, software that allows you to record nearly anything – use one.
Take a leaf out of the book of TikTok creators, find the edges of your comfort zone and push out a tiny smidge. It’s worth it.
Because remember! There are some universal truths that make for things we can all laugh about. And right now, the fact that we all need a laugh might be it.
To use that successfully you need to micro-focus on the things that your audience thinks is funny. The clues might be hard to find. But they soooooo are worth looking for.