Remember Candy Crush? Whether you avoided it, played it casually, or celebrated the day its developers released level 2,000, it’s more likely than not that you’ve seen at least one of those candy-themed puzzles over the past few years. It was the pinnacle of snackable (pardon the pun) mobile gaming, and the power of its advocacy marketing strategy was undeniable.
What—aside from people’s simultaneous love of candy and hatred of boredom—made the game so successful? It leveraged impulses. Suddenly, it became second nature to spend a few cents (or even a couple of dollars) just to beat that level you’d been working on for your entire commute, because it was easy to do, and it offered a quick fix of excitement.
Most consumers consider candy (like their in-app purchases in Candy Crush) an impulse buy—something they can stick in their carts after shopping hungrily for dinner. There’s something special about these last-minute items, and that something is a perfected advocacy marketing tactic meant to engage consumers when they’re literally headed out the door.
In fact, candy can teach us how to engage consumers when they’re browsing online, so that they take notice and hopefully add more items to their shopping lists.
Lights, Camera, Action!
Let’s take a look at the initial attention-grabbing device: candy packaging and Candy Crush have a lot in common. They’re both bright, colorful, fun, and inspiring. From a marketer’s perspective, candy products—especially new candy products—have to stand out when placed next to older, more recognizable brands. This is the same with online content. If your content doesn’t entice from the very beginning, then it’s likely people will keep scrolling right past. Candy packaging has to be very graphic; sometimes it’s brightly colored and flashy, other times it’s simply got a high-contrast logo on it, like a Hershey’s bar. The point is, it instantly stimulates the consumer’s eye.
Image attribution: David Mulder
With content, a marketer should start thinking creatively about eye-catching, well-designed images. The average and everyday won’t do. A recent survey by CMO Council in Business Record said 2017 is going to be a record year for marketers trying to stand out on social channels like Instagram and Pinterest, and even on their own blogs. Photography, in that sense, will keep ballooning, and so will illustration and other design-oriented practices. More than 65 percent of senior marketing executives believe that visual assets are important to their brand story, but only 27 percent have a method to organize and manage these assets.
Here’s how this comes back to the impulse candy buy: You want an advertisement with images that no one else has or can replicate. Remember that Apple iPod commercial from the early 2000s? No one else had a bright, graphic silhouetted commercial that could hold viewers’ attention like the iPod commercial. Content should be treated the same way.
Be a part of the 27 percent. It doesn’t need to be something that no one has ever seen before. It just needs to be bold—and you need to be able to iterate and continue to create good work.
Location, Location, Location
Now that we’ve talked about developing eye-catching content, let’s talk about placement. We know that candy marketers place candy near the check-out line for a good reason: consumers will see those beautiful, yellow bags of peanut M&Ms and place them into their carts without thinking about how many calories they have. It’s just a small snack. But it’s also in your face.
Creative thinking comes into play here, too. Where should it be placed on your website? Many marketers have blogs hidden under the top navigation tabs—and maybe that’s something that they don’t have much control over.
But, and perhaps this is controversial, enticing content should be at least displayed on the homepage in order to get consumers to click on it, just as they would pick up a bag of tasty, chocolate-coated peanuts. Here, again, it pays to consider your assets. Consider spending a bit more on images, videos, and other smart content so that potential customers are engaged. The same goes for social media channels—perhaps paying for sponsored content is the way to go, in the sense that potential customers are served your painstakingly made graphics and visuals.
Produce with Purpose
To look at a brand that actually sells candy, among other things, Ad Age recently spoke to Rob Rakowitz, global director of media at Mars, who gave details about how the brand organizes its content marketing strategy. One of the main takeaways was that Mars has a central purpose to all of its content. Rakowitz detailed how the company developed a strategy for its Uncle Ben’s brand in the UK to create content that really spoke to healthy eaters. By using data (and a little creative thinking), Rakowitz realized that its Uncle Ben’s rice products would more likely cause healthy eaters to choose a lean protein option, like chicken. But the brand’s overall purpose was to use data to instruct consumers on how to eat healthier. Notably, consumers in the UK weren’t aware of the product until the brand staged a few short videos in a local park, which caused people to take notice, and voilà! There you have advocacy marketing as consumers stop by, try the product, then tell others about it. By positioning themselves with a specific angle and location, Mars marketers essentially found an “in” with consumers, enticing them to try the new product. Also, notice the truck: it’s bright orange—which goes back to the first point of needing to be bold and stand out in a world flooded with content.
There you have it: contrast, positioning, purpose. Content should be engaging and meaningful, and the goal should be to create pieces that speak to people in places that they’re sure to see your message. When in doubt, think, What would a candy marketer do? You’re sure to find a great answer.
The post Want a Better Advocacy Marketing Strategy? Indulge Your Sweet Tooth appeared first on The Content Standard by Skyword.