Luis Reyes is a marketing hybrid who develops work at the intersection of media and technology, shattering conventional notions of content and form.
As an Executive Producer and Partner at LA-Based creative content company Butcher Bird Studios, he has expanded the definitions of interactive media, branded content, and audience engagement, spearheading work for brands such as Twitch, Netflix, Samsung, Mazda, Lenovo, Intel, and TYLT, among many others.
Here, he gives us his insight into the questions brands should be asking themselves when considering which marketing platform to use…
The strategic evolution
The marketing landscape that favours a single, unified message beamed out loudly and boldly into a monolithic medium such as network television, or full-page newspaper ads, has been in our rear-view mirror for quite some time.
You’ve probably already noticed this now that we roam in a marketing landscape comprised of increasingly complex systems of online destinations and interactive experiences.
No one-size-fits-all solution is going to drive your message and your target customer could be anywhere.
So, how do you find them? And then, when you do find them, how do you engage them?
I have written many articles about shaping the right content for maximal audience engagement (and I’ll continue to do so), but in this piece I would like to address platforms themselves, what is actually happening in those ecosystems, and strategies for how you might better define yourself within and across platform spaces.
Should you chase the marketing hype?
Over the last decade, we have laid witness to marketing executives slamming down media spends on whatever hot new platform has just sprung up: Snapchat, TikTok, Twitch.
Though staying abreast of these platforms and their idiosyncrasies is certainly valuable, being the first marketer to exploit a new platform doesn’t mean you are doing it right, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that your customers have even migrated there in the first place (Ed – take note Metaverse fans).
It is easy to get caught up in the hype and lose sight of the fact that more established platforms have developed communities that aren’t so easily dislodged.
And often consumers use multiple platforms in their interaction with content and each other.
Where are your customers?
The answer to this straddles the divide between old and new. Demographic analysis profiles your customer archetypes, and data analysis tells you where they are online.
Traditionally, this information helps you tailor your commercial, social ad, or slogan, but in platform marketing it simply points you in the right direction.
To truly understand your customer and what it means to engage them, start by asking yourself a few questions:
Are you and your target customer in the same demographic?
If the answer to that question for you is, ‘No’, then find someone within your organisation who can say, ‘Yes’, and make them the head of your campaign effort.
Marketing to a platform very much depends on being ‘of’ that platform, so empower the right people to lead the effort.
What do your target customers do on a platform?
Seek to understand not only that your target customers are on a platform, but how they are operating within a platform.
Are they looking for content? Are they looking to hang out? Are they looking to play games?
And it may be multiple things, because after all we are talking about existing in a kind of meta-life where multiple sides of someone’s personality are at play.
Who are your target customers paying attention to?
Who are the most substantial influencers among the people you most want to reach? These are going to be your allies, and you are going to want to help elevate them and their communities.
Why you should embrace community
And here we have it – the concept I have been driving to: embracing community.
In traditional advertising models the central focus is on the individual; beaming that monolithic message right into the living room.
On platforms you are not speaking to an individual, or even an entire group, but rather ‘joining’ communities; becoming a valuable member to diverse and oftentimes welcoming groups of people, each with their own priorities, sensibilities and dialects.
This is why we recommend finding someone in your organization who is of the demographic; and why we suggest that the idea of one-size-fits-all messaging is a non-starter.
Being part of communities means that your brand has a far more complicated mission, but it also means that it can be so much more rewarding – for the bottom line and the greater good.
Don’t underestimate your audience
Remember, though, communities make for savvy audiences. They know that if a brand is among them, that brand is essentially trying to sell to them.
And for the most part they are okay with that, as long as you are providing content that they want, engaging in activities that they like, and are overall being a supportive member of the community.
This kind of marketing might be more complicated, but it is also liberating, in that you don’t have to be so protective of the brand.
The brand, in this context, has a substantial personality, can be multifaceted and can actually be a member of the community that genuinely cares about that community.
The savviness of your audience means that you can level with them.
Driving deeper engagement via feedback
Now creating effective content for communities on platforms may be less formulaic as 30-second spots and slogan-driven adverts. It’s hard to be genuine.
But when you can find your consumers and embrace their communities, you open yourself up to not only more precision in terms of speaking directly to your most likely customer, but also deeper engagement with them.
You get more firsthand knowledge about how your customer is responding to your media spend, because they are often telling you, in real time, right there in the chat feed.
So would you rather soak up the data on infinitesimal click-through rates on your A/B banner ads, or plunge into a community that can give you a direct, rewarding interaction with your audience?