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The Ultimate Guide to Advertising in 2022

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The Ultimate Guide to Advertising in 2022

When you hear the word advertising, what comes to mind?

Do you think of banner ads on your favorite website? Those hilarious Super Bowl commercials? The billboards along the highway or posters in the subway stations?

While most of us have a pretty good idea of what advertising looks like, we often struggle to nail down exactly what it means — and how to do it well.

From the printing press to pop-up ads, advertising has certainly changed with the times. Despite this, though, the need for advertising hasn’t changed, and neither have the techniques and best practices that make for quality advertising. That’s what we’ll cover in this guide.

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Advertising is one of the oldest types of marketing and aims to influence the actions of its audience to buy, sell, or do something else.

Good advertising is designed to be extremely influential, memorable, and, at times, risqué.

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But, how does advertising work?

How does advertising work?

Advertising has a simple principle — get people interested in a product being sold.

After arousing interest, the goal is to persuade people to purchase the product, even if they hadn’t previously thought about buying it. Ads work by using psychology to influence the way people think and feel about a product or service.

Depending on the goals of your ad campaign, advertising can go to work for your company in a variety of ways:

  • To raise awareness of your brand
  • To drive potential customers to your business
  • To promote sales for both new and existing products
  • To introduce a new product or service to the market
  • To differentiate your product from your competitors’

Advertising can also be executed in various ways. Radio commercials, billboards, branded t-shirts, and social media endorsements all count as advertising — as we’ll discuss later on in this guide.

What are advertisers?

Advertisers are the people at a company who are responsible for advertising a product or service. They promote messages about a brand’s products and services to build public preference for the brand.

“Advertiser” can also refer to the entity that’s paying for advertising on a billboard, in a magazine, or through a website or mobile application.

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Advertisers are important because the whole business of advertising is dependent on them. It’s the advertiser that incurs the cost of advertisements, so if they decide it’s not worth running ads, then the advertisement industry will be in big trouble.

All advertisers are marketers, but not all marketers are advertisers. Let’s dig deeper into the differences between advertising and marketing.

Advertising is a subset of marketing, which is the umbrella term for communicating with your audience.

Marketing includes a number of different channels, such as:

Alternatively, advertising is just one component of marketing.

A company’s overarching marketing strategy will typically include an advertising plan. The advertising portion zooms in on the specific process of creating and publishing the persuasive messages to get customers to take action.

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A Brief History of Advertising

Advertising is one of the oldest segments of business, save for currency and trade. Once products and services arose, so did the need to make them known.

The oldest confirmed piece of advertising dates back to 3,000 B.C. Technically, it was a print ad from ancient Egypt promoting the capture and return of an escaped slave.

Incidentally, the ad also mentioned the slave owner’s shop — a rug business — which inherently advertised his storefront, too. The slave was never caught, but the rug owner did discover a brand new method of bringing in traffic: advertising.

Let’s fast-forward about 4,000 years. Here’s a brief look at the past five centuries of advertising:

1472: The first poster advertisement is placed on church doors in London.

1650: The first newspaper ad — a reward for 12 stolen horses — is published. (What’s with these reward-based advertisements?)

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1704: The Boston News-Letter prompts its readers to place ads in its paper.

1870: The Powers style of ad copy is born. This style packed a punch — it was short, to-the-point, truthful, and convincing. Powers said the focus should be on why the consumer should buy your product or service — a message that still resonates for good reason today.

1880: Postcards become one of the hottest new ways to reach customers.

1902: Unilever creates the “longest client-agency relationship in advertising history” when it hires J. Walter Thompson Company to advertise its Lifebuoy Soap.

Advertising History: Lifebuoy

1902: Mellins Food advertises its brand on 25 airship flights, becoming the first brand to take this approach.

Advertising History: Mellins Food

1904: The Campbell’s Kids are created, piloting the change in advertisement focus from a single ad to an entire campaign.

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Advertising History: Campbell's Kids

1922: Radio ads are born, and businesses purchase 10 mins for $100. Two years later brands would increase their investment by sponsoring an entire radio show, a concept that would eventually become known as “sponsored content.”

1925: Advertisers start to appeal to emotions, focusing on what pleasure customers would receive from their product or service. This old Ford ad exemplifies this perfectly.

Advertising History: Ford

1975: VCRs are introduced, and consumers begin to record shows and, therefore, skip advertisements.

1990: Computers become more popular and accessible at home, with over 5 million homes connected to the internet.

1994: The first email spam campaign launches. Banner ads are also introduced.

1995: Search engines like Yahoo! and Alta Vista are born. Ask Jeeves and Google would follow in 1997 and 1998, respectively.

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2005: YouTube and Facebook (for college students only) launch.

2008: Brands start to realize the importance of having an online presence for their potential customers. Procter and Gamble pilot the concept of the content hub with BeingGirl.com.

Advertising History: proctor & gamble beinggirl.com

2012: Online videos reach almost 170 million viewers.

2013: Sites like Pinterest and Instagram join the social network scene.

2020: Advertising soars on digital platforms including social media, podcasts, pay-per-click (PPC), and more. Customer data plays a larger role in advertising targeting and retargeting. Lastly, a rapid increase in mobile devices sees a boost in mobile ads and SMS marketing.

History teaches us that advertising is an ever-changing concept, just like shopping habits and how and where consumers spend their time.

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Whereas almost 140 years ago, postcards were the newest form of advertising, brands today are building chatbots for Facebook Messenger and integrating artificial intelligence into their marketing and sales platforms.

Things in the advertising world move fast. Now, let’s take a look at how advertising methods have changed and what marketers and advertisers are using today.

Advertising can look like many different things. Here are the different advertising types and channels advertisers have been using over the years.

1. Print Advertising

Print advertising refers to posters, bulletins, flyers, and other physically-printed promotions. It also refers to newspaper and magazine ads.

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How we design and consume print advertising has changed over the years, but it’s been a steadfast advertising medium — especially as digital advertising has evolved (which we’ll cover next).

Unlike digital media, print advertising can’t be tracked and analyzed as clearly. Fortunately, brands have found brilliant ways to incorporate print advertising into broader digital campaigns.

2. Billboards and Public Transit Ads

Billboard advertising encompasses print advertising on a much larger scale. Due to their size, the design, placement, and cost of billboard and public transit ads are different from typical print advertising.

For example, billboards are typically designed with few to no words so that viewers have time to process the message while passing by in a car or train. Also, these ads are used for brand awareness, so they usually only include a brand name or phone number (versus a website).

3. TV Commercials

TV commercials are short advertisements developed and paid for by companies and organizations looking to capture the audience of a TV show or network program. TV ads have been around since the invention of the television and have since changed drastically with the birth of streaming TV.

TV ads have a wide reach (millions) and provide viewers with a multi-sensory ad experience — something print ads and some digital ads can’t quite do. Alternatively, TV ads are expensive, avoidable by your audience, and hard to target as accurately as other channels.

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4. Radio

Radio advertising refers to spoken advertising spots aired on radio channels between music and other programs. This method dates back to 1920 when commercial radio first aired.

Radio advertising is particularly powerful for local and regional advertising. Nowadays, podcast advertising is a similar but more effective method, especially for national audiences.

5. Event Advertising

Events (both in-person and virtual) are opportunities to connect with your audience while promoting your brand and products. You can host your own event (as HubSpot does with INBOUND) in the form of a conference, webinar, roundtable, or luncheon.

Another form of event advertising is by sponsoring an event or purchasing a booth at a conference or trade show. This is less expensive than hosting your own event, but you still get to engage audience members and promote your brand.

6. Direct Mail

Direct mail advertising includes postcards, pamphlets, and catalogues mailed directly to the homes of your target audience. A direct mail advertising strategy is more personal than others on this list, but it’s also very costly. (Consider the cost of postage alone.)

Another direct mail strategy is electronic mail, typically through the form of email newsletters or promotions. This overlaps with our next section — digital advertising. That’s what we’ll unpack next.

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Digital Advertising: How to Advertise Online

As of today, there are over 4 billion people using the internet. This number is up 300% from 2005. Point being, internet usage is skyrocketing, and it’s not stopping.

If you’re not advertising online, you’re behind the curve. Not only does the internet offer you direct access to more than half the global population — including more than half of your target audience — but it also provides so many different advertising types and channels on which to advertise.

Marketers now have the flexibility to reach their target audiences on multiple fronts, in multiple ways, for multiple budgets. There are also a number of tools (many of which are free) that can help you execute your advertising strategy.

Here are the most common ways to advertise online:

Paid Search Advertising

Whether Google, Yahoo, or Bing, all search engines have their own paid advertising. This is referred to as pay-per-click, or PPC, and involves bidding on keywords and placing ads at the top or sides of search results.

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When someone performs a query using one of those search engines, advertisers have the ability to display ads above organic search results. That’s what makes PPC so powerful — it gives your advertisements prime real estate in front of people already searching for relevant topics.

Here’s an example on Google:

paid search ad example of "appliance repair near me" in the google serp

The top listings in the red box are advertisements. Organic search results, those that came up as a result of SEO, were below the map snippet.

Download our free Ultimate Google Ads PPC Kit to learn everything you need to know about paid advertising on Google.

Social Media Advertising

Social media platforms know how valuable their content is, and that’s why they offer the option to sponsor or boost posts. Social media ads> put your message in front of your target audience and encourage them to engage, click-through, and buy.

More and more, social media sites are prioritizing ad space over organic content because, well, it brings in more revenue.

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Whether you’re a budding or brand new business, consider running some social media advertisements. These will not only advertise your products and services but also promote your social media pages and grow your following.

Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter each have their own version of ads like these.

Here’s how they appear on their respective feeds:

Facebook

paid advertising example facebook

Download our free lookbook of 50 Facebook Ad Examples We Actually Clicked.

Instagram

paid advertising example instagram

Download our free guide to learn how to run Instagram ads, define goals, moderate engagement, and measure success.

LinkedIn

paid advertising example linkedin

Download our free guide on How to Run Successful LinkedIn Ads.

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Twitter

paid advertising example twitter

Download our free guide on How to Use Twitter for Business.

Native Ads and Sponsored Content

Sponsored content has been around since 1922, when brands would sponsor entire radio shows. Today, sponsored content refers more to native ads and blog or article content subsidized by brands.

Have you ever read a Buzzfeed article that heavily referenced or recommended a certain product or service? It was likely sponsored by a certain brand.

Check out this article, 10 Reasons To Put Away Your Phone On Your Next Trip, promoted by agoda, a hotel or destination booking site. Does it blatantly promote agoda’s services? No. Its primary purpose is to entertain and inform, although agoda is referenced a few times throughout the content.

At the top, the byline reflects agoda’s sponsorship, just before the content starts. And, as you scroll down the page, another ad sits within the content.

Sponsored content is a great way to promote your brand in content your audience is already familiar with.

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Banner and Display Ads

Banner and display ads are an extension of search ads and follow a similar PPC model. But instead of a text-based ad, consumers see a more visual advertisement.

Digital Advertising Examples: Banner and Display ad of yahoo news

Image source

Banner ads are typically the horizontal boxes on top of a web page, whereas display ads are smaller in nature and shown on the side (like in the screenshot above).

Whether you opt for traditional print ads in magazines or subway stations or choose online promotion on social media or search engines, there are a few rules that make for great advertising. Below are some advertising best practices to apply to all your ads.

Advertising Best Practices

There are a lot of best practices, tips, and tricks when it comes to advertising. It’s an art that’s been perfected over the years, and with the rise of modern types of advertising channels and new media, best practices continue to manifest.

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These advertising best practices are:

  • Appeal to emotions
  • Create positive associations
  • Establish a bandwagon effect
  • Focus on benefits over features
  • Leverage storytelling

In this section, though, we’re going to cover these five famous advertising concepts that still work today — regardless of what type of advertising method or medium you’re using.

When used correctly, these advertising techniques will do wonders for your brand and products.

Appeal to emotions.

While you may not consider the ASPCA a business, their unforgettable Sarah McLachlan commercial is the perfect example of using emotional appeal to entice people to take action.

For most of us, the images in that commercial are hard to watch — we may even turn away. But since it tugs at our heartstrings, we’re more likely to donate to animals in need after seeing the horrors they’re going through.

Create positive associations.

When consumers associate your product with a feeling of happiness, state of achievement, or accomplished goal, they’re more likely to take notice, remember your product or service, and make a purchase.

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Actually, you’ve probably been on the receiving end of this before without even realizing it. Have you ever seen your favorite celebrity or Instagram influencer posing with a product or brand and found that you wanted to be, do, or look the same? Companies create this subconscious connection in advertising hoping that you associate your positive feelings with the product or service they’re promoting.

For example, Under Armour uses Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to create a subconscious connection with customers. It apparently works, since his Rock Delta shoes were the fastest-selling Under Armour shoes of 2017.

Advertising Best Practices: Under Armour

Image source

Catchy songs like “Nationwide is on your side” is an example of helping people associate friendliness with the Nationwide brand. Coca-Cola has a brand advertising campaign that associates their product with friends, family, and fun. When you consider what refreshments to serve at a party or bring on a picnic, Coca-Cola wants you to think of them.

As you create your advertisements, consider what feelings, desires, or goals with which you want your brand to be associated. Weave these feelings or goals into your advertisements through stories or videos. Look for influencers who align with your brand’s core values and demeanor and include them to promote positive association.

Establish a bandwagon effect.

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People want to fit in. It’s human nature. Neither you nor I are immune to it.

And it’s this base human desire that makes the bandwagon effect so effective. People don’t want to be left out. They find value in their peers’ opinions, and they certainly don’t want to be the only ones not using the latest and greatest product.

Brands like Maybelline understand this concept well and use it to their advertising advantage. One tube of their top-selling mascara is purchased every two seconds, a statistic that establishes social proof and further supports their claim of “America’s Favorite Mascara.”

Advertising Best Practices: Maybelline

Image Source

Use customer testimonials, survey data, or shareable content to advertise your brand as one worth following or buying into. Take another approach by promoting a discount for sharing your brand with a friend or family member — so your audience will do the selling for you. Either way, use your advertising to create an inclusive environment people will want to join.

Focus on benefits over features.

Features and benefits are two very different things. Features are the details of the product or service you’re selling, such as the measurements of a couch or the ingredients of a protein bar. Benefits, on the other hand, explain why a person should buy a couch or protein bar from you and how their life would, well, benefit from such a purchase.

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Advertising should focus on the benefit your product or service brings, not explain what you’re physically selling.

Consider how Southwest Airlines advertises. Instead of explaining, line by line, what a Business Select ticket offers, Southwest paints a picture of what life would be like if you made a purchase. In this advertisement, they focus on the benefits.

Advertising Best Practices: southwest

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Rather than wasting precious ad space on your product specifications or service details, talk about the ways a purchase might positively impact your customers. If you do it right, your creative, benefit-packed advertisement would then inspire them to research the features on their own.

Leverage storytelling.

Not unlike our desire to fit in is our penchant for a good story. Storytelling helps paint a bigger picture of a brand or company, not simply promote a single product or service. Also, when stories resonate with someone, it’s far easier to motivate him or her to take action.

Storytelling is the one technique you should try to infuse in all your advertising. In fact, if you haven’t started crafting your brand’s overall story, you should definitely do so. Research shows that stories that illustrate a brand as “necessary, believable, and integral” are the most effective for engaging and influencing consumers.

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Dove employs storytelling in its campaign partnership with Operation Homefront. The videos feature real stories of military men and their families being reunited. The advertisements don’t directly promote Dove products but instead tell the Dove brand story (and pull on a few heartstrings, too).

Determining your brand story will help you learn how to best discuss your brand in all marketing efforts, not just advertising.

Next, let’s take a look at some of the most memorable ad campaigns, a few of which put these best practices in action.

Five Memorable Ad Campaigns

The best advertisements are the best teachers. Whether it’s the copywriting, design, medium, or target audience, well-executed campaigns can always teach you something new about advertising or positioning.

(Consider Westinghouse Electric’s “We Can Do It” ad …)

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Here are five campaigns that left a noticeable mark on advertising history.

1. Nike: Just Do It

In the late 1980s, Nike launched its “Just Do It” campaign.

At the time, Reebok was outselling Nike, and Nike needed to act fast to compete against the sneaker conglomerate.

But it wasn’t just the three-word phrase that earned global attention. Their new ad campaign also focused on real people wearing and working out in their products, as opposed to simply featuring clothes and sneakers themselves.

Memorable Ad Campaigns: Nike: Just Do It

This powerful combination of people plus product helped Nike go from $800 million in 1988 to $9.2 billion just 10 years later.

2. The Absolut Vodka Bottle

Did you know Absolut’s “Bottles in the Wild” ad series is the longest uninterrupted campaign in history?

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The campaign was Absolut’s attempt to grow their name internationally, especially throughout the United States. It featured the Absolut bottle in different cities and countries worldwide.

Memorable Ad Campaigns: Absolut-Rent-Branvin

It launched in 1985 and ran until 2000 — lasting an impressive 25 years.

Absolut’s campaign helped grow the company from a tiny slice of the vodka market share (2.5%) to over half the U.S. imported market share.

To this day, the Absolut brand is the fourth largest spirit company, thanks to its focus on the overall story, not just the product itself.

3. Miller Lite

The folks at Miller Lite used differentiation to reach their goal: to get “real men” to willingly drink light beers. With their “Great Taste, Less Filling” campaign, they maintained a leading position in the light beer market for several decades after this first campaign aired.

Memorable Ad Campaigns: Miller Lite

4. Volkswagen

Though Volkswagen has officially discontinued its production of Beetles, its iconic “Think Small” campaign will be forever ingrained in advertising history.

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Doyle Dane & Bernbach (DDB) advertising agency knew it had to change the mind of consumers if it wanted to compete with industry leaders. So, VW admitted that though the Beetle was, in fact, tiny, it was still a force to be reckoned with and worth a purchase.

Memorable Ad Campaigns: Volkswagen Think Small

Authenticity and honesty went a long way in this seemingly small campaign.

5. Dos Equis

With its edgy, cool, and sophisticated aesthetic, it’s no surprise “The Most Interesting Man in the World” campaign put Dos Equis on the map.

This campaign created a positive association between the Dos Equis beer and the feeling of sophistication and poise. Sales quickly jumped by 22% after the campaign launched.

Memorable Ad Campaigns: Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in the world

Even more impressive was how Dos Equis found success in a time when craft beers grabbed a foothold in the market and imported beer took a 4% hit. This campaign was a major component of that success.

To learn how to grab the attention of your audience, learn from the professionals. These campaigns are a great example of how brands have used real stories, real people, and real talk to grow their businesses.

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Advertising Helps You Grow Better

Equipped with a dense, dynamic history, advertising is an incredible tool to add to your marketing toolbox.

Between print ads, radio sponsorship, TV commercials, and social media promotion, the opportunities to advertise and promote your brand are endless.

To best connect and engage with your audience, speak your customer’s language, appeal to their emotions, and tap into their desire to be a part of a community, create a clear and authentic brand story to illustrate how your brand aligns with their values.

By applying these tried and true practices to your advertising, you’ll build a magnetic brand that attracts customers, establishes a following, and generates revenue.

Do this and your brand will grow into a household name that stands the test of time — just like advertising itself.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in July 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Only 6% of global marketers apply customer insights to product and brand

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Only 6% of global marketers apply customer insights to product and brand

While many brands talk about focusing on the customer, few do it. Less than a quarter (24%) of global brands are mapping customer behavior and sentiment, according to Braze’s 2024 Customer Engagement Review. What’s worse, only 6% apply customer insights to their product and brand approach.

“At the end of the day, a lot of companies operate based on their structure and not how the consumer interacts with them,” Mariam Asmar, VP of strategic consulting, told MarTech. “And while some companies have done a great job of reorienting that, with roles like the chief customer officer, there are many more that still don’t. Cross-channel doesn’t exist because there are still all these silos. But the customer doesn’t care about your silos. The customer doesn’t see silos. They see a brand.”

Half of all marketers report either depending on multiple, siloed point solutions to cobble together a multi-channel experience manually (33%); or primarily relying on single-channel solutions (17%).  Only 30% have access to a single customer engagement platform capable of creating personalized, seamless experiences across channels. This is a huge problem when it comes to cross-channel, personalization.

The persistence of silos

The persistence of data silos despite decades of explanation about the problems they cause, surprised Asmar the most.

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Screenshot 2024 02 27 140015
Source: Braze 2024 Global Customer Engagement Review

“Why are we still talking about this?” she said to MarTech. “One of the themes I see in the report is we’re still getting caught up on some of the same stumbling blocks as before.”

She said silos are indicative of teams working on different goals and “the only way that gets unsolved is if a leader comes in and aligns people towards some of those goals.”

These silos also hinder the use of AI, something 99% of respondents said they were already doing. The top uses of AI by marketers are:

  • Generating creative ideas (48%).
  • Automating repetitive tasks (47%).
  • Optimizing strategies in real-time (47%).
  • Enhancing data analysis (47%).
  • Powering predictive analytics (45%).
  • Personalizing campaigns (44%). 

Despite the high usage numbers, less than half of marketers have any interest in exploring AI’s potential to enhance customer engagement. Asmar believes there are two main reasons for this. First is that many people like the systems they know and understand. The other reason is a lack of training on the part of companies.

Dig deeper: 5 ways CRMs are leveraging AI to automate marketing today

“I think about when I was in advertising and everybody switched to social media,” she told MarTech. “Companies acted like ‘Well, all the marketers will just figure out social media.’ You can’t do that because whenever you’re teaching somebody how to do something new there’s always a level of training them up, even though they’re apps that we use every day, as people using them as a business and how they apply, how we get impact from them.”

The good news is that brands are setting the stage for the data agility they need.

  • 50% export performance feedback to business intelligence platforms to generate advanced analytics.
  • 48% sync performance with insights generated by other platforms in the business.

Also worth noting: Marketers say these are the four main obstacles to creativity and strategy:  

  • Emphasis on KPIs inherently inhibits a focus on creativity (42%).
  • Too much time spent on business-as-usual execution and tasks (42%).
  • Lack of technology to execute creative ideas, (41%).
  • Hard to demonstrate ROI impact of creativity (40%).
Screenshot 2024 02 27 135952Screenshot 2024 02 27 135952

Methodology

The 2024 Global Customer Engagement Review (registration required) is based on insights from 1,900 VP+ marketing decision-makers across 14 countries in three global regions: The Americas (Brazil, Mexico, and the US), APAC (Australia, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea), and EMEA (France, Germany, Spain, the UAE, and the UK).

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Crafting Effortless Sales Through ‘Wow’ Moments in Experience Marketing

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Crafting Effortless Sales Through 'Wow' Moments in Experience Marketing

Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing

In an era where consumers are bombarded with endless choices and digital noise, standing out as a brand is more challenging than ever. Enter experience marketing – a strategy that transcends traditional advertising by focusing on creating immersive, memorable interactions. This innovative approach leverages the elements of surprise, delight, and reciprocity to forge strong emotional connections with customers, making the sale of your core product feel effortless. But how can businesses implement this strategy effectively? This guide delves into the art of crafting ‘wow’ moments that captivate audiences and transform customer engagement.

The Basics of Experience Marketing

Experience marketing is an evolved form of marketing that focuses on creating meaningful interactions with customers, aiming to elicit strong emotional responses that lead to brand loyalty and advocacy. Unlike conventional marketing, which often prioritizes product promotion, experience marketing centers on the customer’s holistic journey with the brand, creating a narrative that resonates on a personal level.

In today’s competitive market, experience marketing is not just beneficial; it’s essential. It differentiates your brand in a crowded marketplace, elevating your offerings beyond mere commodities to become integral parts of your customers’ lives. Through memorable experiences, you not only attract attention but also foster a community of loyal customers who are more likely to return and recommend your brand to others.

Principles of Experience Marketing

At the heart of experience marketing lie several key principles:

  • Emotional Connection: Crafting campaigns that touch on human emotions, from joy to surprise, creating memorable moments that customers are eager to share.
  • Customer-Centricity: Putting the customer’s needs and desires at the forefront of every marketing strategy, ensuring that each interaction adds value and enhances their experience with the brand.
  • Immersive Experiences: Utilizing technology and storytelling to create immersive experiences that captivate customers, making your brand a living part of their world.
  • Engagement Across Touchpoints: Ensuring consistent, engaging experiences across all customer touchpoints, from digital platforms to physical stores.

Understanding Your Audience

Before diving into the intricacies of crafting ‘wow’ moments, it’s crucial to understand who you’re creating these moments for. Identifying your audience’s pain points and desires is the first step in tailoring experiences that truly resonate.

1709033181 544 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing1709033181 544 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing

This involves deep market research, customer interviews, and leveraging data analytics to paint a comprehensive picture of your target demographic. By understanding the journey your customers are on, you can design touchpoints that not only meet but exceed their expectations.

  • Identifying Pain Points and Desires: Use surveys, social media listening, and customer feedback to gather insights. What frustrates your customers about your industry? What do they wish for more than anything else? These insights will guide your efforts to create experiences that truly resonate.
  • Mapping the Customer Journey: Visualize every step a customer takes from discovering your brand to making a purchase and beyond. This map will highlight critical touchpoints where you can introduce ‘wow’ moments that transform the customer experience.

Developing Your Experience Marketing Strategy

With a clear understanding of your audience, it’s time to build the framework of your experience marketing strategy. This involves setting clear objectives, identifying key customer touchpoints, and conceptualizing the experiences you want to create.

  • Setting Objectives: Define what you aim to achieve with your experience marketing efforts. Whether it’s increasing brand awareness, boosting sales, or improving customer retention, having clear goals will shape your approach and help measure success.
  • Strategic Touchpoint Identification: List all the potential touchpoints where customers interact with your brand, from social media to in-store experiences. Consider every stage of the customer journey and look for opportunities to enhance these interactions.

Enhancing Customer Experiences with Surprise, Delight, and Reciprocity

This section is where the magic happens. By integrating the elements of surprise, delight, and reciprocity, you can elevate ordinary customer interactions into unforgettable experiences.

1709033181 790 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing1709033181 790 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing
  • Incorporating Surprise and Delight: Go beyond what’s expected. This could be as simple as a personalized thank-you note with each purchase or as elaborate as a surprise gift for loyal customers. The key is to create moments that feel special and unexpected.
  • Applying the Principle of Reciprocity: When customers receive something of value, they’re naturally inclined to give something back. This can be leveraged by offering helpful resources, exceptional service, or customer appreciation events. Such gestures encourage loyalty and positive word-of-mouth.
  • Examples and Case Studies: Highlight real-world examples of brands that have successfully implemented these strategies. Analyze what they did, why it worked, and how it impacted their relationship with customers.

Best Practices for Experience Marketing

To ensure your experience marketing strategy is as effective as possible, it’s important to adhere to some best practices.

  • Personalization at Scale: Leverage data and technology to personalize experiences without losing efficiency. Tailored experiences make customers feel valued and understood.
  • Using Technology to Enhance Experiences: From augmented reality (AR) to mobile apps, technology offers myriad ways to create immersive experiences that surprise and engage customers.
  • Measuring Success: Utilize analytics tools to track the success of your experience marketing initiatives. Key performance indicators (KPIs) could include engagement rates, conversion rates, and customer satisfaction scores.

Section 5: Overcoming Common Challenges

Even the best-laid plans can encounter obstacles. This section addresses common challenges in experience marketing and how to overcome them.

1709033181 656 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing1709033181 656 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing
  • Budget Constraints: Learn how to create impactful experiences without breaking the bank. It’s about creativity, not just expenditure.
  • Maintaining Consistency: Ensuring a consistent brand experience across all touchpoints can be daunting. Develop a comprehensive brand guideline and train your team accordingly.
  • Staying Ahead of Trends: The digital landscape is ever-changing. Stay informed about the latest trends in experience marketing and be ready to adapt your strategy as necessary.

The Path to Effortless Sales

By creating memorable experiences that resonate on a personal level, you make the path to purchase not just easy but natural. When customers feel connected to your brand, appreciated, and valued, making a sale becomes a byproduct of your relationship with them. Experience marketing, when done right, transforms transactions into interactions, customers into advocates, and products into passions.

Now is the time to reassess your marketing strategy. Are you just selling a product, or are you providing an unforgettable experience? Dive into the world of experience marketing and start creating those ‘wow’ moments that will not only distinguish your brand but also make sales feel effortless.


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The Current State of Google’s Search Generative Experience [What It Means for SEO in 2024]

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The Current State of Google's Search Generative Experience [What It Means for SEO in 2024]

SEO enthusiasts, known for naming algorithm updates after animals and embracing melodrama, find themselves in a landscape where the “adapt or die” mantra prevails. So when Google announced the launch of its Search Generative Experience (SGE) in May of 2023 at Google/IO, you can imagine the reaction was immense.

Although SGE has the potential to be a truly transformative force in the landscape, we’re still waiting for SGE to move out of the Google Labs Sandbox and integrate into standard search results. 

Curious about our current take on SGE and its potential impact on SEO in the future? Read on for more.

Decoding Google’s Defensive Move

In response to potential threats from competitors like ChatGPT, Bing, TikTok, Reddit, and Amazon, Google introduced SGE as a defensive maneuver. However, its initial beta release raised questions about its readiness and global deployment.

ChatGPT provided an existential threat that had the potential to eat into Google’s market share. When Bing started incorporating it into its search results, it was one of the most significant wins for Bing in a decade. In combination with threats from TikTok, Reddit, and Amazon, we see a more fractured search landscape less dominated by Google. Upon its launch, the expectation was that Google would push its SGE solution globally, impact most queries, and massively shake up organic search results and strategies to improve organic visibility.

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Now, industry leaders are starting to question if Google is better off leaving SGE in the testing ground in Google labs. According to Google’s recent update, it appears that SGE will remain an opt-in experience in Google Labs (for at least the short term). If SGE was released, there could be a fundamental reset in understanding SEO. Everything from organic traffic to optimization tactics to tracking tools would need adjustments for the new experience. Therefore, the prospect of SGE staying in Google Labs is comforting if not entirely reliable. 

The ever-present option is that Google can change its mind at any point and push SGE out broadly as part of its standard search experience. For this reason, we see value in learning from our observations with SGE and continuing to stay on top of the experience.

SGE User Experience and Operational Challenges

If you’ve signed up for search labs and have been experimenting with SGE for a while, you know firsthand there are various issues that Google should address before rolling it out broadly to the public.

At a high level, these issues fall into two broad categories including user experience issues and operational issues.

Below are some significant issues we’ve come across, with Google making notable progress in addressing certain ones, while others still require improvement:

  • Load time – Too many AI-generated answers take longer to load than a user is willing to wait. Google recommends less than a 3-second load time to meet expectations. They’ll need to figure out how to consistently return results quickly if they want to see a higher adoption rate.
  • Layout – The SGE layout is massive. We believe any major rollout will be more streamlined to make it a less intrusive experience for users and allow more visibility for ads, and if we’re lucky, organic results. Unfortunately, there is still a decent chance that organic results will move below the fold, especially on mobile devices. Recently, Google has incorporated more results where users are prompted to generate the AI result if they’d like to see it. The hope is Google makes this the default in the event of a broad rollout where users can generate an AI result if they want one instead of assuming that’s what a user would like to see. 
  • Redundancy – The AI result duplicates features from the map pack and quick answer results. 
  • Attribution – Due to user feedback, Google includes sources on several of their AI-powered overviews where you can see relevant web pages if there is an arrow next to the result. Currently, the best way to appear as one of these relevant pages is to be one of the top-ranked results, which is convenient from an optimization standpoint. Changes to how attribution and sourcing are handled could heavily impact organic strategies. 

 

On the operational side, Google also faces significant hurdles to making SGE a viable product for its traditional search product. The biggest obstacle appears to be making the cost associated with the technology worth the business outcomes it provides. If this was a necessary investment to maintain market share, Google might be willing to eat the cost, but if their current position is relatively stable, Google doesn’t have much of an incentive to take on the additional cost burden of heavily leveraging generative AI while also presumably taking a hit to their ad revenue. Especially since slow user adoption doesn’t indicate this is something users are demanding at the moment.

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While the current experience of SGE is including ads above the generative results now, the earliest iterations didn’t heavily feature sponsored ads. While they are now included, the current SGE layout would still significantly disrupt the ad experience we’re used to. During the Google I/O announcement, they made a statement to reassure advertisers they would be mindful of maintaining a distinct ad experience in search.  

“In this new generative experience, Search ads will continue to appear in dedicated ad slots throughout the page. And we’ll continue to uphold our commitment to ads transparency and making sure ads are distinguishable from organic search results” – Elizabeth Reid, VP, Search at Google

Google is trying to thread a delicate needle here of staying on the cutting edge with their search features, while trying not to upset their advertisers and needlessly hinder their own revenue stream. Roger Montti details more of the operational issues in a recent article digging into the surprising reasons SGE is stuck in Google Labs.

He lists three big problems that need to be solved before SGE will be integrated into the foreground of search:

  1. Large Language Models being inadequate as an information retrieval system
  2. The inefficiency and cost of transformer architecture
  3. Hallucinating (providing inaccurate answers)

 

Until SGE provides more user value and checks more boxes on the business sense side, the traditional search experience is here to stay. Unfortunately, we don’t know when or if Google will ever feel confident they’ve addressed all of these concerns, so we’ll need to stay prepared for change.

Experts Chime in on Search Generative Experience

Our team has been actively engaging with SGE, here’s a closer look at their thoughts and opinions on the experience so far:

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“With SGE still in its early stages, I’ve noticed consistent changes in how the generative results are produced and weaved naturally into the SERPs. Because of this, I feel it is imperative to stay on top of these on-going changes to ensure we can continue to educate our clients on what to expect when SGE is officially incorporated into our everyday lives. Although an official launch date is currently unknown, I believe proactively testing various prompt types and recording our learnings is important to prepare our clients for this next evolution of Google search.” – Jon Pagano, SEO Sr. Specialist at Tinuiti

“It’s been exciting to watch SGE grow through different variations over the last year, but like other AI solutions its potential still outweighs its functionality and usefulness. What’s interesting to see is that SGE doesn’t just cite its sources of information, but also provides an enhanced preview of each webpage referenced. This presents a unique organic opportunity where previously untouchable top 10 rankings are far more accessible to the average website. Time will tell what the top ranking factors for SGE are, but verifiable content with strong E-E-A-T signals will be imperative. –Kate Fischer, SEO Specialist at Tinuiti

“Traditionally, AI tools were very good at analytical tasks. With the rise of ChatGPT, users can have long-form, multi-question conversations not yet available in search results. When, not if, released, Google’s Generative Experience will transform how we view AI and search. Because there are so many unknowns, some of the most impactful ways we prepare our clients are to discover and develop SEO strategies that AI tools can’t directly disrupt, like mid to low funnel content.” – Brandon Miller, SEO Specialist at Tinuiti

“SGE is going to make a huge impact on the ecommerce industry by changing the way users interact with the search results. Improved shopping experience will allow users to compare products, price match, and read reviews in order to make it quicker and easier for a user to find the best deals and purchase. Although this leads to more competitive results, it also improves organic visibility and expands our product reach. It is more important than ever to ensure all elements of a page are uniquely and specifically optimized for search. With the SGE updates expected to continue to impact search results, the best way to stay ahead is by focusing on strong user focused content and detailed product page optimizations.”  – Kellie Daley, SEO Sr. Specialist at Tinuiti

Navigating the Clash of Trends

One of the most interesting aspects of the generative AI trend in search is that it appears to be in direct opposition to other recent trends.

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One of the ways Google has historically evaluated the efficacy of its search ranking systems is through the manual review of quality raters. In their quality rater guidelines, raters were instructed to review for things like expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (EAT) in results to determine if Google results are providing users the information they deserve. 

In 2022, Google updated their search guidelines to include another ‘e’ in the form of experience (EEAT). In their words, Google wanted to better assess if the content a user was consuming was created by someone with, “a degree of experience, such as with actual use of a product, having actually visited a place or communicating what a person has experienced. There are some situations where really what you value most is content produced by someone who has firsthand, life experience on the topic at hand.” 

Generative AI results, while cutting-edge technology and wildly impressive in some cases, stand in direct opposition to the principles of E-E-A-T. That’s not to say that there’s no room for both in search, but Google will have to determine what it thinks users value more between these competing trends. The slow adoption of SGE could be an indication that a preference for human experience, expertise, authority, and trust is winning round one in this fight. 

Along these lines, Google is also diversifying its search results to cater to the format in which users get their information. This takes the form of their Perspectives Filter. Also announced at Google I/O 2023, the perspectives filter incorporates more video, image, and discussion board posts from places like TikTok, YouTube, Reddit, and Quora. Once again, this trend shows the emphasis and value searchers place on experience and perspective. Users value individual experience over the impersonal conveyance of information. AI will never have these two things, even if it can provide a convincing imitation.

The current iteration of SGE seems to go too far in dismissing these trends in favor of generative AI. It’s an interesting challenge Google faces. If they don’t determine the prevailing trend correctly, veering too far in one direction can push more market share to ChatGPT or platforms like YouTube and TikTok.

Final Thoughts

The range of outcomes remains broad and fascinating for SGE. We can see this developing in different ways, and prognostication offers little value, but it’s invaluable to know the potential outcomes and prepare for as many of them as possible.

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It’s critical that you or your search agency be interacting and experimenting with SGE because:

  • The format and results will most likely continue to see significant changes
  • This space moves quickly and it’s easy to fall behind
  • Google may fix all of the issues with SGE and decide to push it live, changing the landscape of search overnight
  • SGE experiments could inform other AI elements incorporated into the search experience

 

Ultimately, optimizing for the specific SGE experience we see now is less important because we know it will inevitably continue changing. We see more value in recognizing the trends and problems Google is trying to solve with this technology. With how quickly this space moves, any specifics mentioned in this article could be outdated in a week. That’s why focusing on intention and process is important at this stage of the game.

By understanding the future needs and wants SGE is attempting to address, we can help you future-proof your search strategies as much as possible. To some extent we’re always at the whims of the algorithm, but by maintaining a user-centric approach, you can make your customers happy, regardless of how they find you.

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