On a recent episode of Made You Click, Director of Marketing Success, Allison Gibbs, and Marketing Services Manager, Stephanie Fisher, discuss how and why it’s so important to put your audience first in any and all marketing efforts, as well as examples of brands who have made audience-first marketing their highest priority.
The thing about putting your audience first is, most marketers know in theory that their audience is the highest priority. But how do you put that theory into practical use and actually show your audience that you care about them? We’ll discuss that, and more, in today’s post.
Miller Lite Goes Dark
There’s been some recent buzz around Miller Lite’s Going Dark campaign. If you haven’t seen it, the beer company released an ad in which a man runs away from hordes of “followers” in black and white, finally arriving at a bar to meet his friends where, voila, color returns to his world. At the end, the tagline, “A few friends are better than a few thousand followers – here’s to the original social media.”
Along with this advertisement, Miller Lite’s social media accounts rebranded into “dark” themes, with neon imagery on their YouTube channel and an all-black can as their Twitter profile picture. They also shut down their social channels for two weeks, pushing their followers to unfollow them for a chance to get free beer.
“The whole concept is the fact that people would get together to have Miller Lite, have a beer, meet their friends,” says Allison. “They would rather encourage people to unplug, get back to that time to have connection, versus trying to ‘drive traffic and drive ROI’ on their social channels. At the end of the day, whether or not it’s successful in growing followers or what have you, what’s important is people are talking about them now.”
The typical demographic that uses social media may not fully overlap with that of a Miller Lite consumer, so this campaign is an effort to position themselves more within that online demographic. At the same time, however, most people like what they like when it comes to beer and other alcoholic beverages.
“[The campaign] is the opposite of any advice you might get,” Steph says. “I think it was a creative move, I like that it’s a strong statement about a cultural phenomenon right now about people really just being so addicted to their phones and not connected to people.”
For Miller Lite, this sort of radical campaign – aiming at a demographic that isn’t and may never be yours, rewarding people for unfollowing your brand – accomplishes one niche, hard-to-meet goal, which is showing their audience that they see them and care about them.
“We spend so much time in conversations with our clients where they’re asking what is everybody else doing,” Allison says. “[Miller Lite] took an opportunity to say, “what can I do?’”
In this case, Miller Lite has taken the lead in an interesting, innovative way. While this may not work for every brand (and likely would not work for every brand), at the end of the day, it’s all about making a statement. Miller Lite cannot track ROI for this – they can try and see some measurements – but that’s not the point.
It’s Not About You
Everyone wants – in principle – to put their audience first and speak more to them and their motivations than those of the brand. But that’s hard to put into practice. “You can lead, on your website, by listing all your services and products,” says Steph, “but what is going to be more powerful is really talking to your clients’ pains and challenges.”
For example, one of our newest clients, Teknion Data Solutions, does this well on their homepage by leading with a question: “What’s your unique data challenge?” Next to this are a number of unique challenges that customers could be facing, and each of them lead to a different area of the website.
What’s great about this is that, while campaigns like Miller Lite’s are awesome, there are simpler ways to meet your clients where they are. The concept of building your website, brand, or social media present for the audience can really frame your business well for the customer.
“What we are trying to sell… might not always translate to the end user,” Allison says. “It’s our responsibility to then walk that user through that journey and basically get them to the end result and help them understand what they’re looking for.”
Culture and Values
Whatever your business is, people sincerely want to connect and feel heard by brands they interact with. Putting the audience first shows them that you’re there for them on a practical level. This is especially important in an increasingly online world, where customers often feel extremely disconnected from brands and businesses.
“You can set yourself apart by speaking more about your culture and values,” Steph says. “I think at the end of the day your audience wants to connect with you on a more personal level.”
Take our Three Pillars of Mojo Culture, for example. They have nothing to do with inbound marketing, but we care deeply about them because we want our customers to understand that this is how we do business, and this is who we are.
We all want to feel valued, and digital marketing can often feel disconnected and cold. However, when done correctly, it’s a way to connect with even more people by putting your audience first. Listen to the full episode below: