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October 30, 2013

Six Ingredients of Better Marketing

Gabrielle Doby | UWEBC Communications Student Assistant

Rand Fishkin, CEO and Co-Founder, Moz and co-author of The Art of SEO, presented six ingredients for better marketing at the UWEBC 15th annual Business Best Practices & Emerging Technologies Conference on October 1, 2013.

Rand Fishkin presents during the 2013 Business Best Practices & Emerging Technologies Conference.
“We’re burning out web users,” says Fishkin, “We are essentially doing what advertising did in the 50s and 60s, which is make it such that after a generation or two, no one pays any attention.” A staggering 98% of Americans distrust information from ads citing the excessive number of ads, outdated information, and self-promotional information. Fishkin revealed that out of trillions of Web ads, only 0.04% are clicked, most of which are completely accidental. He said, “The scariest statistic is that 8% of all internet users account for 85% of all the advertising clicks.”

Despite the dismal click rates of Web advertising, companies continue to allot large budgets towards these digital channels because they are easy to measure in the short term, despite their lack of actual success. Even though Web marketing offers opportunities for new marketing tactics, our mindset is “[. . .] lost in the past where television and radio, print and outdoor advertising dominate and so we are still trying to measure and influence audiences in this fashion,” says Fishkin.

Instead, Fishkin recommends focusing on investments that, though hard to track, will deliver value and increased long-term returns. To leverage a new way of thinking with the tactics of Web content, Fishkin shared the following key ingredients to successful marketing:

  1. Transparency
    Users respond to unusually transparent marketing. Honesty generally comes as a surprise and draws people into your content. Transparency may feel uncomfortable at first, but Fishkin insists, "If transparency is not uncomfortable, then you are not being truly transparent. 
  2. Authenticity
    “If you’re going to bother paying for advertising, why not make it something that people will also pick up, link to, spread, e-mail to their friends?” says Fishkin. Develop content marketing that not only resonates with people, but also your brand. “The time has passed us by when what was authentic at home and what was authentic at work were two different things. Today they are one” says Fishkin.
  3. Generosity
    "Generosity doesn’t just come in the form of money," says Fishkin, "one of the simplest ways to be generous is to say 'thank you.' Being generous behind the scenes without being overly self-promotional will “prioritize long-term serendipity over short-run ROI.”
  4. Fun
    Leverage fun mediums, humor, or introduce an environment with levity for great fun in marketing your brand. Fishkin says, "Even the most dry and boring content can become viral if the format is right and the quality is high." Properly positioning your information can get an extraordinary amount of press.
  5. Empathy
    Empathy, a powerful motivator of human behavior, is essential to the usability of websites. Empathy for users will help you understand how they navigate the Web and what they need from your site. For example, Fishkin says, “Don’t just use keyword research for SEO. Use it to design your site’s content and messaging.
  6. Exception
    Finally, Fishkin warns, “If you mimic the competition, I promise you, you will always trail them. I guarantee it.” Instead observe the strategies of others and evaluate the marketing logic being used before choosing a course of action.

"I think it's possible that marketing in the future can succeed without all of these six attributes, but it can't succeed with none of them" says Fishkin.  

Member companies can access Fishkin's conference presentation>

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