Home' micenet eMag : micenet October 2016 Contents MARKETING | MALCOLM AULD
n 1994 I ran my first e-marketing seminar,
including some guest speakers from
different organisations. Little did I realise
how indicative it was of the industry that
was to evolve to the ‘digital marketing’ one
we know today.
There was a presentation from a new joint
venture called NineMSN. A lady whom I knew
from the marketing industry was their
e-marketing expert, despite having no
expertise. Mind you, nobody had any
expertise. The presentation was slick and full
of graphics, charts and outlandish predictions
about the information superhighway -
remember those buzzwords?
Because the industry was still in gestation,
the audience was extremely sceptical
towards her claims – much like today’s
worried marketers and business owners are
about social media and content marketing.
The most powerful presentation came from
an email supplier. He used a whiteboard to
draw a diagram of how the internet worked
and how computers connected to each other.
He explained what it meant and the potential
for what it meant. The audience lapped it up.
And the rest as they say, is history. A whole
industry was spawned. The “how to be an
instant digital marketing expert” industry.
Anyone can be one – just use some digi-
buzzwords, imply secret knowledge, claim all
things that always worked no longer do and
you’re away. Even better if you don’t have
expertise, publish a book denouncing all
Malcolm Auld shoots down in flames some
perceptions of content marketing.
things common sense, but praise unproven new marketing secrets.
Which brings me to the content marketing industry. The alleged experts in this area are
shovelling the manure like farmers in spring.
A quick history lesson
Prior to the internet, the Yellow Pages invited you to “Let your fingers do the walking”. And when
you wanted to buy a big-ticket item, you sought information from friends and colleagues, read
reviews in media, visited different shops and asked ‘experts’ who worked in the stores, or even
invited them to your home to explain or demonstrate their wares.
In other words, humans searched for information about goods and services before they
bought stuff - a very sophisticated apex primate behaviour.
Today, people still buy using the same habits of searching for information. But as the laziest
species on the planet, humans will always travel the path of least resistance for personal gain.
So now, in addition to asking others and visiting stores, people also use search engines,
websites, reviews and social media to gather information before buying - online or offline.
Habits haven’t changed - just the technology available to behave as we’ve always behaved.
Which is why I get dismayed when headlines like this appear in a piece of ‘content’ which
was ‘curated’ in the form a FREE Whitepaper, by a well-known brand flogging content
marketing. The company claimed: 93 per cent of buying cycles start with an online search, and
88 per cent of clicks come from organic search.
To put it bluntly - what utter bollocks.
The truth is entirely the opposite of this claim. It’s more like 96 per cent of all buying decisions
never, ever, involve the internet, let alone search engines or organic search terms. And the
punters don’t need content to help them make all their buying decisions.
Think about what you buy in a typical week. Let’s start with groceries – you make dozens of
buying decisions. In fact, your weekly grocery shopping involves the largest number (and
percentage) of your weekly buying decisions.
Consider your weekly purchases - tinned food, snacks, drinks, pasta, rice, dairy, biscuits, cleaning
products, personal grooming, health care, blah, blah. And then there’s your fresh food - fruit,
vegetables, eggs, meat, deli-items and more. Dozens of buying decisions, most of which are made
in-store, or in some case in-online-store - but almost exclusively without search engine support.
People also make other buying decisions for things like petrol, newspapers, gifts, flowers, school
things, household items, etc. But rarely on a weekly basis do we make lots of considered purchases
- apart from dining out. The majority of our buying decisions are automatic or made at point of sale.
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