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How marketing channels are like the stages of a relationship

A conversation with Jamie and Christopher from the Fifth P of Marketing

During our most recent webinar, The Fifth P of Marketing, VP of Sales Christopher Lester and Events Manager Jamie Bradley held a lively conversation where they introduced the idea that your various marketing channels are like the stages at the start of a relationship.

So, we asked them to explain a little more about what they meant here on the blog. And don’t worry. We’re leaving the emotional baggage from our breakup with “unnamed cable provider” out of this.


Banner ads: Daaaamn, who is that?

Christopher: Before you start thinking about this idea of marketing as a relationship, it’s important to first remember that, as marketers, our job is to tell a great story that causes people to want to join in and be a part of it. It’s that simple. Even though we’re in the digital age and how we communicate is changing crazy fast, at the core, we’re simply connecting with people. Cross-channel marketing is really just cross-channel storytelling.

Jamie: And if you worry about being everything to everyone in every place, you will fail. It’s not about the channels at the end of the day. It’s about the people in those channels. With digital media, you’re not just broadcasting to a large audience. You’re communicating to the individual. So how do you start that relationship?

Christopher: Let’s start at the top, 30,000-foot level. The banner ad. I love this stat: Did you know that you’re more likely to survive a plane crash than click a banner ad? That’s not just being in the plane crash, but SURVIVING it. So why do we still see them on practically every website we visit?

Jamie: They’re still everywhere because they actually work, just not in the way we traditionally think they should. Sure, people aren’t clicking on them, but people are 155% more likely to search for that brand after being exposed to a display ad. If I see an ad for cute shoes, then I will go back and search for that brand when I’m bored on a Saturday morning after payday. I just will.

Christopher: Exactly. Banner ads are all about the impression, not the conversion. They’re wildly successful at increasing awareness of your brand. It’s the equivalent of seeing that hot guy or girl across the bar. You’re attracted, and you want to know more about them, but in the end, it’s still just a stranger.

Fifth P webinar stars Jamie Bradley and Christopher Lester

Social channels: How do I get your number?

Jamie: If banner ads are all about the impression, then social is about introducing yourself and starting the relationship. Marketers are so hung up on how hard it is to measure ROI on social, but I’m not sure that’s how we should be looking at it.

Christopher: Right. What if we as marketers thought about social like how it really is to interact on those channels? You just met that person at the bar, and you’re certainly enjoying it, and you’re thinking about giving them your number.

Jamie: And as you start to have more interactions, it’s that second date with someone who you think is pretty awesome, but you know it’s way too early to think about getting married.

Christopher: But it’s important to remember that as a marketer trying to compete for attention in social media, the odds are really stacked against you. You’re not just competing with other brands for attention, but you’re also competing with my family and friends and pictures of my friend’s daughter who I haven’t met yet.

Jamie: Yes! Brands need to have realistic expectations about just how deep you’ll be able to get with the people in your audience at this point in your relationship to them.

Reaching your audience with the right message in the right place will help them fall in love with your brand.

Email: Is this the one?

Christopher: So social is the place to start the conversation and swap numbers. And if that’s the case, then email is the next step. This is the sixth or seventh date, and you start to think about how maybe it might be cool to get married.

Jamie: If someone signs up for your email, they’re ready to take it to the next level, digitally speaking. So give them something that keeps them coming back, like special offers or discounts.

Christopher: And email gets huge results. The average reported ROI is 4300%.

Jamie: And the funny thing is that a few years ago email was pronounced dead!

Christopher: That was because social media took off, and we thought that was the answer in the marketing world. And if we heard that social was going to kill email, then we heard that mobile wasn’t going to just kill it, but back up over it one or two times. But we were wrong there too! Email is now the number one activity on mobile devices, even more than making phone calls.

Jamie: Over half of all email is opened on a mobile device now, so making sure your email is responsive and looks great on mobile is no longer optional. So design in a single column, use less content, more white space and large CTA buttons.

Christopher: Right. Make it easy on your audience, and remember that every member of your audience has an audience of their own, who also has an audience of their own. So learning what resonates with our audience helps you get more of them.

Jamie: And if you’re really smart and really paying attention, you can empower your audience members to go get more of them for you. It’s all about meeting your audience in the right place at the right time without losing sight of your brand.


For more great marketing tips from Jamie and Christopher, check out the free recording of the full Fifth P of Marketing webinar.