Sales & Marketing

How to sell your brand in 2019: Tips from a global marketing and advertising expert

11 min read

23 November 2018

Reporter, Real Business

Thought that marketing technology was enough to sell your brand these days? Well think again, statistics show that consumers are sick of robotic targeting campaigns, industry expert Eric Fulwiler is here to tell us more...

Eric Fulwiler is a branding expert extraordinaire, having worked with global brands including Google, JetBlue Airlines, American Honda Motors, and Bose Audio, he sure knows a thing or two about what marketing tricks work for consumers.

Now an Executive Director for the renowned New-York based digital agency Vayner Media, he’s in a good place to tell growing businesses how they can boost their brands both online and offline.

But why do we need Fulwiler’s words of wisdom today? Well, because a host of recent statistics based on consumer insights suggest we do, they show that consumers are tired of the way businesses commonly target them:

The stats: Consumers want a more human advertising experience

According to the 2018 findings provided by digital business experts Econsultancy, personalised advertising was lowest on the agenda for businesses when it came to targeting customers, with only 8% of businesses included in the survey reporting that it was their first priority in their marketing strategy. In comparison, 20% of businesses asked said that content and experience management was the first thing they would work on.

Whilst the advent of data management tools have helped businesses understand the behaviour of their audiences more clearly, there is evidence that consumers still value the ‘personal touch’ and the value of human connection when they are being targeted by brand campaigns.

Further research provided by email marketing experts pure360 prove that consumers are less likely to be engaged with brands if they are the victims of ‘basic personalisation’. Read more below:

What is basic personalisation and why does it no longer work?

In short, basic personalisation is when brands try to target customers in a basic and two-dimensional way, such as sending subscribers an email on their birthday or using existing data to address them by their first name in emails and other forms of digital communication.

The study found that only 8% of consumer respondents said they would engage with a brand if they used their first name, whilst even less, (7%) would want to engage with a brand that sent them a birthday email.

It’s clear that whilst the advent of marketing technology means that brands can target consumers in more multifaceted ways and more regularly, in response to this, consumers are also demanding a more tailored advertising experience rather than a straight-up robotic one.

The drive for more personalised advertising from brands is also backed up in a retail report from enterprise research firm Infosys, who state that a significant 31% of consumers involved in their survey are looking for a more ‘personalised’ purchasing experience from brands.

Let’s leave this introduction with one final alarming statistic about the state of brand advertising today.

According to Econsultancy, only 22% of consumers feel satisfied with the current brand advertising experience. This means there’s a lot of work for brands to do to engage with consumers and build a better relationship with them.

In short, consumers are not feeling valued, or inspired enough, to buy products from brands that use half-hearted attempts to engage with them.

So here’s where our cosy fireside chat with Eric Fulwiler comes in…

Industry expert advice: Eric Fulwiler

Source: Native Advertising 

“SMEs are wasting a lot of time and resources when it comes to marketing.”

In short, Fulwiler is telling small and medium businesses to simply stop doing what not’s working, “use 20% of your marketing budget to test things, then find out what’s wasting your time and money,” he adds.

It sounds obvious, but in smaller businesses where employees are usually performing more than one job role, and many different tasks at once, they’re not necessarily able to do all of them very well, and this is where concise and properly tested marketing strategies fall by the wayside.

Instead, take the time out to test different marketing approaches thoroughly, then you can throw away the approaches that definitely don’t work once and for all in favour for those that do work.

The rise of the ‘voice market’

“If I was going to start an agency in 2019, I would definitely be looking at the medium of voice to help sell my associated brands,” says Fulwiler.

“There’s so much disruption to be had in the voice space, it’s already here, but people haven’t fully reacted to it yet.”

This vaguely dystopian foray into sound, or ‘sonic branding’ should provide brands with the opportunity to amend the poor state of customer engagement especially considering that basic personalisation is failing to attract consumers to their brands.

If SMEs have the capacity, Fulwiler suggests investing some money into understanding what this new type of branding could mean for them:

“Sonic branding is about asking what does your brand SOUND like to consumers, as well as how does it LOOK to them.”

SMEs: Do your research

Fulwiler suggests that SMEs now have the opportunity to get up to date with the latest voice-related advancements. But where to start? Well, get an Alexa, or a Google Home, he says:

“Voice is coming, and there is value in getting your arms around it now and understanding it, get a Google Home, or an Alexa, and get educated about it.”

So getting to grips with the impact of voice branding doesn’t have to cost the earth then…

“Digital is future, but TV and radio are still here, and you can still make use of them effectively.”

Whatever medium you’re using to make customers engage with your brand, take a step back and think about just HOW you’re using this medium.

Be honest, are you really just making use of basic and lazy methods that fail to warm your customers to the brand? And if so, is that because they’re easier than the alternative? Namely trying and testing different options and going back to the drawing board?

Sure this will take time, but if it’s going to boost customer engagement, it’s time well spent.

Get your brand to stand out to consumers

Part of personalising the consumer engagement process is ensuring that your brand is a memorable and engaging concept in the minds of your customers long before they are looking for your products:

“75% of product searches on Amazon are generic.”

This means that by-and-large, consumers are not searching for branded products when they’re searching for products to buy online.

“Consumers may be searching for batteries and shoes online, but they are not searching for energiser batteries or K-Swiss shoes, for example,” continues Fulwiler.

Whilst consumers may head into physical stores with an idea of the branded product they want, this clearly isn’t the same when it comes to online shopping trends, and businesses should be aware of that and change their approaches.

Gaining customer attention

“Think of customer attention like a stock market. It’s something that’s constantly shifting, in macro terms, it’s TV, and for micro, it’s online including social media.”

“Like the stock market, there are overpriced buys and underpriced buys, and the whole point as a brand looking to advertise effectively is that you have the opportunity to find those potentially valuable ‘underpriced’ buys,” he continues.

Social media is an ‘underpriced investment’

This includes the usual social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram.

“These platforms are actually very underpriced for the true attention your brand can be getting from them,” says Fulwiler.

“Whilst TV and radio channels are from more mature markets, they are overpriced and overvalued compared to the actual attention your brand will get from them,” he continues.

However, don’t totally discredit the power of TV and radio for advertising your brand, says Fulwiler, “As long as your ‘creative’ is good, and you can prove that there’s attention to be had for your brand on these platforms, then you should be able to change attention and channel it towards your brand, it’s just a question of outward cost.”

In short, it depends on how much money your business is able, or willing to spend on these campaigns.

Moreover, brands can move both ways, says Fulwiler, and from digital to offline advertising and vice-versa, “If you have unlimited money you can do it everywhere. When we personally buy brands, we invest in offline channels, because we started digitally. But ultimately there are roles that both sides can fulfil, it’s about maximising every dollar possible to secure brand engagement with customers”.