Today, I read a blog written by Jordan Fried from Higherclick, a professional SEO management company that was shared via twitter by Matt Hunckler. To summarize his blog, Jordan says that internet marketers, SEO experts and inbound marketing consultants are the new Mad Men – stating that the ways of Don Draper are no longer relevant. I posted a comment differing with his point. I must first share that I agree with much of what he intends to share, but had to comment on where I thought he may be missing the mark. I’ll share my comment below exactly as I wrote it (typos included):
I enjoyed your blog, and I understand the point you are making, but I think you are generally wrong about your delivery.
In today’s age people fight for the first place on a Google search term, the first video on a Youtube search, or the brand/consumer relationship status to be shared to ones personal Facebook network.
In Don’s age, they fought for placement on the best show (same idea as a search term), the best billboard, getting the best celebrity endorsement… It was essentially the same. If you had enough money, you could get it, and today is no different.
The problem with your case is that people don’t buy because of the internet, or because of a TV show. They buy because your story is relevant to them (and sure, because you were able to tell it to them). Story telling connects with people’s senses because they can imagine the smell of the coffee brewing in the story, or the emotion they felt when their child had their first steps, or the anger they would feel if their inferior product failed. Stories are where it is at (and this is also why Nickleback is so successful too by the way).
To explain why nothing has really changed, let’s go back as far as Jesus’ time for example. He often told Parables to sell his message, that is, he told stories. He presented his ideas in a way that make sense to his listeners and allow them to mentally imagine being part of the story, or recall a similar experience you’ve had. When you hear a story, you start replacing the characters with people you know. You begin to put yourself in the story if it is something you can relate to. When you are in the story, you can really imagine what it would be like if you were there and why your life would be better if you had that product. If that story rings true with your experience, you will likely tell that story to others, and they will believe as well.
Good marketing comes in all shapes and sizes, and there are many technical ways to implement it (Search, Social, TV, Print, Other Stuff) but at the end of the day, people still love a good tag line and picture the plants that story in their mind. People buy because something makes them happy.
“Advertising is based on one thing: happiness. And do you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of a road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing is OK. You are OK. ” -Don Draper