Six eye-opening marketing snippets to get your brain working

Here are six snippets of interesting information to help you make a success of marketing. 

6 marketing snippets

1. remember search engines never stand still. In 2010 alone Google apparently released 316 algorithm updates and road tested more than 13,000. Online marketing is a moveable feast.

2. marketers are especially prone to confirmation bias, ignoring or glossing over over evidence that doesn’t agree with their theories. Make like a proper scientist instead and test whether you can disprove your findings for genuine, unbiased insights.

3. stay sceptical. In 1989 I joined Sun Alliance as a junior direct marketer. At the time they were waiting for suitable customer data to become available so they could target their offers more intelligently, by renewal date. In this week’s edition of Marketing Week, RSA are quoted as “waiting for advances in personalisation so that it can reach people just in time for their insurance renewal.” Hm

4. acknowledge the limitations of marketing. Some marketers will tell you they can predict consumer behaviour. Scientists disagree. Here’s a paragraph from a book every marketer and copywriter should read. It’s humbling stuff. It’s evidence-based. And it throws all our fancy notions about what data analysis can do for us out of the window:

“There is a growing body of work coming out of psychology and cognitive science that says you have no clue why you act the way you do, choose the things you choose or think the thoughts you think.”

This applies to all humans, including marketers, and means it’s much better to rely on creative and communications excellence than trying to predict the chaotic and unpredictable. Get the direct marketing basics right and your SEO and marketing efforts will bear fruit. No matter how clever your targeting, a poor creative will always fail. Prioritise and focus. The book? You are Not so Smart by David McRaney.

5. There’s a lot of talk about quality content. Here’s a few types of poor quality content that, if there’s enough of it on your site, will eventually play havoc with your search positions.

  • you’ve heard of empty calories. There’s empty copy too. Here’s a sentence of it: Take a look around my freelance copywriting website for information about freelance copywriting and more. You’ll find all your freelance copywriting needs right here. So enjoy exploring my freelance copywriting site.” Grim. You could say all that in one sentence. It’s stuffed with keywords. It’s boring. It’s bland. A bit like American chocolate.  Google doesn’t like it and people don’t appreciate it.
  • too many adverts or adverts that are too prominent. They indicate to search engines that the site is about making money from click-throughs and nothing else. Google and co. assume such sites don’t contain much good stuff that visitors will genuinely value
  • machine-generated content created entirely by machine or spinning software. Which is at worst rubbish, at best pretty poor quality.
  • duplicated content that you’ve copied verbatim from elsewhere or that comes with your ecommerce drop shipping package. Rewrite it or start from scratch
  • copy with no ‘authority’. Think health. If your body’s falling apart in some gruesome way or another, the last thing you need is for Google to return a load of keyword stuffed sites selling snake oil and mumbo jumbo. You want your searches to return reliable, in-depth, intelligent information that answers your questions in detail and tells the truth. From trustworthy sources. That’s what people want. Deliver it and everyone’s happy.
  • content that’s simply ‘scraped’ from other people’s sites and blogs, reproduced verbatim. It’s a clear signal to Google that the content’s about as unique as the common cold

6. when creating site content, do it with your target market in mind. Counter-intuitively, an outsider gives invaluable insight into how to sell your stuff  because they know much less about it than you do. Just one of the reasons a freelance writer is such a good idea!