Brand-centric marketing is dead. Maybe that statement is a bit harsh, but then again, so are many marketing methods. I’m no medical examiner, but I think the cause of death in this case is quite obvious: people simply despise and distrust push-style marketing that interrupts or intercepts them.
Today, marketing is all about distinguishing your brand amidst the abundance of online content. But this attention and trust needs to be earned, not assumed—nobody out there is waiting for your marketing.
Nobody is waiting for your marketing. It’s so simple, and yet so often forgotten.
So, after all the ads and messages that seem to yell at people, the people are starting to yell back: If you are going to be sending me marketing messages, at least make it worth my while.
As a result of this backlash, a new approach has emerged that cuts through all the clutter: marketing that is truly, inherently useful—Utility Marketing.
What is Utility Marketing?
Utility marketing might be a new term, but its mission isn’t: put the consumer first.
It forces brands to flip the conversation from me, me, me to you, you, you. But brands are rewarded for this kind of selflessness, and the reason is simple: if you sell something, you make a customer today, but if you genuinely help someone, you create a customer for life.
“Customer-obsessed marketing is no longer an option—you must deliver immediate value to earn brand loyalty.”
—Melissa Parrish, VP, Research Director at Forrester Research
When it comes to providing these valuable and relevant interactions that consumers crave, there are 5 primary ways that brands can offer utility:
- Become a trusted agent
- Solve a problem
- Get out of the way
- Automate mundane tasks
- Fulfill a need a customer doesn’t know they have
However, in order for brands to be true utility marketers, they need to demonstrate real-time customer value rather than just talk about it, and there’s one medium that does that best: video.
Simply put, other marketing tactics have failed in creating a connection between brands and consumers. Without trust, people are inherently skeptical about the messaging they receive.
When done correctly, video can truly show what a brand cares about, and how it’s working to deliver the products, services, and messaging that are a reflection of what the customer needs.
Besides being entertaining, videos are in a unique position to provide more complex utility that no other form of content can do. In telling customer-centric stories through video, brands can become “trust agents.”
At the core of becoming a trust agent, is the ability to show or teach someone something new. Video can teach someone how to fold a pocket square, how to cook a turkey, or what island to travel to in a matter of seconds. No other medium delivers so much customer value in a short period of time.
-Colin Haley, Director of Product Management at ViralGains
Why Should Brands Care?
Marketers, it’s time.
The key to being an innovator within the industry isn’t all about being a step ahead of your competition, it’s about being a step ahead of your customer. Anticipate and address their needs and wants before they even realize they have them. It’s not about pushing people to consume, it’s about using your brand to nourish and advance the lives of those consumers.