Shorter, sweeter, stronger: “Spring cleaning” your marketing approach

When the ground begins to thaw, greenery returns to the landscape and the sun’s rays feel just a little bit stronger on our skin, we know that spring has finally sprung. Along with the many simple pleasures to enjoy during springtime, people make the most of the beautiful weather by doing some (often much-needed) spring cleaning. This month, we’ve juxtaposed swoon-worthy weather and the art of the marketing approach. While businesses – like ours! – pride themselves on innovation, bold concepts and unabashed creativity, they also shouldn’t fear simplicity when “simple” is needed.

We spring clean to weed out what no longer suits us while hanging onto the essentials – the pieces we can’t live without; similarly, your marketing approach can be rethought, reworked and refined to better suit your business at any time. To “spring clean” your marketing style this year, consider staying short and sweet, especially if you’re interested in strengthening your online presence.

What is meant by “keeping it short” is exactly what it sounds like – cutting back your content! According to the Bloomberg View and Sparks & Honey, a New York-based marketing agency, Gen Z (young people age 19 and under) has a (remarkably short) eight-second attention span! With an annual buying power of well over $40 billion and an incredible influence over what their parents purchase, it’s imperative to ask yourself how you’re marketing toward this generation.

The key to enticing consumers is to keep your content short and striking. Gen Z – along with virtually every other generation – is incredibly visual. To echo some marketing basics: if it doesn’t look appealing, it isn’t going to sell. To keep your content visually appealing and shortened, consider letting your images take center stage as opposed to your copy. Allison Outdoor Advertising Inc.’s “10-Commandments of Billboard Design” suggests using seven words or less when creating a billboard and letting images do most of the talking. This rule doesn’t just pertain to billboards, but the design of marketing collateral in general. With a strong image and only a few words, your brand more than likely will resonate much better with target audiences.

While seven seems to be the magic number for billboards and other collateral, consider applying a similar shortening strategy on your social media, because billboards certainly aren’t the only places to keep your content condensed. Evidenced in research by Wistia and published on HubSpot’s Marketing Blog, your average video length should be right around the two-minute mark. With the rise in visual marketing and the stronghold that video giants like YouTube have on consumers, you’ll want to remember this number the next time you post a video for your business. Additionally, Instagram captions should be kept under 125 characters, and even the 140-character limit in a tweet is a bit too steep. Remember these figures for social media success, and don’t be under the false pretense that more copy will automatically result in more sales!

Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of keeping it short, let’s move onto to the sweet side of things! When it comes to marketing and “keeping it sweet,” it doesn’t necessarily mean plastering photos of puppies or kitties across your pages; although, people do have undeniable sweet spots for our furry friends. Today, consumers want to see authentic, genuine, “no filter” snapshots of your business’ daily functioning, or as Arnie Kuenn calls them in his article entitled, “Visual Content Marketing on 3 Major Networks: Ideas and Inspiration,” “backstage” looks. Think about giving consumers a short look at how a product is made, an authentic peek at your office culture, a glimpse at some of your philanthropy or just a few smiling shots of your employees. As Kuenn notes in relation to visual content marketing, posting photos of your staff or a peek at your daily processes “[humanizes] your brand.” It’s important to think about the types of photos you’ve been posting or using in your brochures, videos, sell sheets, etc. If you haven’t given employee faces or some of your projects a little limelight, it’s certainly not too late, because you do want to show consumers that your business has heart. Breaking away from stock photos for your visual components, as Buddy Scalera notes in his article, “Say No to Stock Photography and Create Authentic Images,” and going genuine is perhaps just what your business needs when you’re spring cleaning your marketing approach.

Implementing what Forbes calls “nostalgia marketing” is also a great way to keep it sweet. According to Forbes, using nostalgia in your marketing technique works best with Millennials, because this group in particular longs to fondly recall their childhood memories; it’s why “90s-style” choker necklaces and Pokémon GO were all the rage last summer. Peppering some nostalgia into your approach will appeal to the consumer on an emotional level without overdoing it.

This spring, keep it short and sweet if you want to do some thorough spring cleaning on your marketing approach; in doing so, you’ll appeal to wider groups of consumers, freshen up your social media and create some much-needed sunshine to drive sales!

Sources:

  1. https://www.slideshare.net/sparksandhoney/generation-z-final-june-17/6-They_love_to_shop_especially
  2. https://www.slideshare.net/sparksandhoney/generation-z-final-june-17/4-They_inuence_household_purchases484747369656055523229ToysApparelThe_weeks
  3. https://www.forbes.com/sites/laurenfriedman/2016/08/02/why-nostalgia-marketing-works-so-well-with-millennials-and-how-your-brand-can-benefit/#7e2c88fb3636
  4. http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2014/04/visual-content-major-networks-inspiration/
  5. http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2015/06/create-authentic-images/
  6. https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2014-06-18/nailing-generation-z
  7. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/character-count-guide#sm.000c5do7l1c90e4kxmc2mnjf7scjg
  8. http://www.allisonoutdoor.com/wp-content/uploads/Billboard_Design_Tips.pdf

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