This is something my 3 year old daughter punctuates all forceful statements with: BOOM, suckaaaz! It’s actually a pretty successful attention grabber for her, and frankly sometimes I find myself borrowing it (with noticeable results). My little girl’s colorful words aren’t plainly offensive, nor boringly commonplace, and are always an effective means of drawing attention to the point she’s making.
Think of this in the context of marketing: Whomever your audience, whatever your brand/platform/etc., you’re working to either make an impact that’s immediately absorbed, or frame your message in an exciting way that people engage with until they absorb it. We have several forms of media, content, data, etc. to help drive this process, but at the end of it all, you really want people’s attention.
I noticed recently how this can work (or not) depending on how your approach aligns with your audience’s interests and expectations. I had my young kids in the car with the windows down, and came upon some road workers, complete with cones, shining vests, reflective hats, trucks – the whole picture. As we stopped at a sign, my little girl yelled “Who’s makin’ a road now?” followed by a really loud “BOOM suckaaaz!”
In the midst of their work these men stopped and turned around (making me a little uncomfortable for a moment), and on seeing the confident smile from the back seat, burst out laughing. They came over to the car to greet her and ended up becoming the fastest friends you can make at a stop sign. See what happened there? Their initial reaction was predictable, but content is about tone and speaker, and when combined in an unexpected way, got positive results – drove engagement you could say.
So how do we get folks to engage with us like this? Should we be shouting colorful taglines at everyone? Maybe not, and frankly these answers probably differ greatly for different markets. Still, the workers I encountered have some broader applicability – they were all geared up out in the heat, and nobody saw the little girl coming. The whole thing was a surprise. Sometimes I wonder if we brand ourselves so tightly that we lose the element of surprise that can catalyze a real interaction. It doesn’t seem like that much of a stretch to suggest that analytics can help draw smart conclusions about who our audience is – the road workers, doctors, executives, etc. – and help us marketers craft opportunities to surprise them. Matching additional channels of contact data to our responders, then launching messaging customized to who we know they are gives us tools to test this kind of engagement (and, thankfully, maintaining more brand integrity than shouting out the window).
How have you experienced success or failure engaging your audience? How do you use the range of media available to reach people in ways they don’t expect, and maybe drive an unexpectedly honest reaction? How are you being creative in your outreach? Do your kids yell out the window?
Who’s engagin’ now? Boom suckaaaz!
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