Leonardo DaVinci, Nostradamus, Jules Verne, Ben Franklin and Steve Jobs were great visionaries. They foresaw things that others couldn’t and then found a way to participate in the futures they envisioned.
While I would never compare myself to any of these amazing individuals, I am here to tell you that I too have seen the future—the future of advertising.
I am telling you about it today because it played out for me quite literally yesterday, during the PGA Tour Championship. I was watching the final round.
Part of my persona (the details associated with my target buyer profile) is that I am a casual golfer and I buy the occasional golf product. I have been in the market for a new pair of shoes lately. My old shoes are a bit out of style and, frankly, a little ratty looking. But I haven’t wanted to spend the money and I'm enamored by the new casual, deconstructed, spikeless shoes.
Yesterday, I saw the pair (not pictured here, but this is as close as I could find) I want being worn by Jim Furyk. The manufacturer was Adidas and the brand was Adicross.
Yesterday, during the tournament, I found out where to buy them, how much they cost, what different colors and styles are available, what other golfers think of the shoes, how long it would take for me to get them and a whole host of features and details. I even learned what other shoes similar to these that I might be interested in.
Wow! That is a lot of info. Did I see a single TV commercial for the shoes? Did I go to a store? Did I get a mailing or catalog that had the shoes in it? Did Adidas reach out to me in any way to get me interested in their shoes? No is the answer to all those questions.
Ok, so I know—product placement isn’t new and it’s probably not the future of advertising but it certainly plays a part. Let me finish my story...
So where did I get all that information on the shoes I wanted to buy? I got it from the web: from amazon.com, from adidas.com, from zappos.com and from Golfsmith.com. This is the new buyer behavior. We have so many resources at our fingertips that I did all this research on my own from my smart phone in about 15 minutes. I did it all yesterday afternoon, on the sofa, while the tournament was on in the background.
Two things went wrong. This is where the future of advertising comes in, so pay attention Adidas.
First, I couldn’t find the exact shoes Jim was wearing. Trust me, I studied these shoes and I wanted those exact ones. I found some similar, but not what he was wearing. I assume he has a custom pair. So either let me customize my pair too or make sure whatever your paid spokesperson's wearing is available. Had I found the shoes, I would have bought the shoes.
Next, I found a lot of similar shoes by competing companies. Uh oh! That’s not good. Now your paid spokesperson is getting me to look at competitors shoes because I can't find the ones I want. Again, this is where it gets interesting.
Not one company. Not Adidas, Nike, Puma, Ecco, Calloway or Foot Joy offered me one piece of educational content that would have gotten me to give them my email address.
Here I am, ready to spend money on golf shoes and not one of these companies knows who I am. If any one of those companies had provided me a tip guide on the differences between deconstructed spikeless shoes and traditional golf shoes, I would have downloaded it in a second. What's more, I would have gladly provided them with my email address and they could be talking to me, right now—influencing my purchase decision as we speak.
I am still looking around for those exact shoes. I am a customer waiting to be snagged. Guess what? It gets a little better too, if you are Adidas. I am a brand loyal Nike customer. Almost all my gear for almost every sport is Nike. For Adidas to convert me with their new shoes is a great win for them, it’s what their product marketing teams are supposed to be doing—steal business from the competitor—but if they don’t hurry and get their marketing act together, it might be too late. I am going to buy something and soon.
So how is this the future of advertising? Simple. As consumers, we are doing our best to ignore the traditional ads being placed in front of us. But we love our content and we consume it insatiably. I noticed the shoes the guy was wearing. Product placement is going to get bigger and bigger. It is going to replace traditional advertising but only when it can be measured. Now it can and this is where inbound marketing comes into play.
I see the shoes, I search online for the shoes, I find the shoes. I have a cool experience with your company, then I download something related to the shoes. Now you nurture me via the vehicle of my choice like email or text, giving me more info. You keep nurturing me until I get comfortable making a purchase. Then you continue to nurture me with information related to other products. That's how you take customers away from your competitors: by creating a more remarkable experience. That’s the future of advertising.
No invasive ads yelling at me. No discounts. No stores to drive to. Just information, help, guidance and the access I need to make my life easier.
Start Today Tip – Stop looking at your business through the traditional lens of old school advertising and start looking at it through the lens of creating an experience that I want to talk about. Make the advertising about me and not about you. I don’t need fireworks, loud music and cool visual effects. I know what I like and I want you to help me get it. Create a great product, show me the product and then help me learn how I can use it, get it and tell others about it.
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