Think back with me to when you just graduated college and you had that friend (well maybe not really a friend) who always had an idea and they’re always pitching it to you. They’re going to be the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, their inventions will change the world. Instead of talking to them about the football game from Sunday or the new Chance the Rapper album, all you will hear about is their business model and how they’re marketing their product.
Did you enjoy hanging around that entrepreneur? We thought not. So why would you enjoy reading a blog written by them? Here are a few words that you may hear thrown around, but better yet, here is an explanation of those words and why we don’t regularly use them.
What organizations want you to hear: “We are an honest and responsible organization.” What you actually hear: “George, tell me about the rabbits.” Authenticity is a word that gets thrown around way too often in today’s world of corporate transparency. Companies want to be seen as genuine and relatable. Sometimes, however, it’s hard for an average person to relate to a multi-billion dollar corporation. Plus, it feels like some companies use authenticity because it’s close to honesty without actually using the word.
Authenticity is a buzzword that a majority of companies have picked up on as a concept. Whether they practice transparency and authenticity is another thing altogether. Because of this, the word authenticity has become tainted. If you want the public to believe in your business, first BE real. Show them what goes on, be transparent, and start building that reputation first. Then we might start talking about using words like honest or real, but please don’t use authentic.
Don’t get us wrong, we are all about creative ideas, however, this can’t be your only marketing tool. Going back to your entrepreneur friend (or not friend), they probably mentioned a guerilla marketing tactic or two. Basically, guerilla marketing is a publicity stunt that is cheaper and less complex or epic in scale. Foursquare set up a literal game of four squares and helped participants find Foursquare in the app store and download it. Another example would be when Vault had trucks at the entrance of Walmarts, handing out free samples. In case you don’t remember, Vault was the precursor to the reintroduced Mello Yellow.
While these campaigns can be successful, they also have a chance of being really unsuccessful. Like when Microsoft Zune got roasted at SXSW. A man was posting Zune posters around the festival when he was detained by police for the unpermitted postings. While he was detained onlookers said things like, “We’ll have none of your advertising for your DRM’d crippleware’d crappy MP3 player littering our town!” Yikes.
Not to say that you shouldn’t try interesting tactics, it just feels like the publicity stunt tactics are cliche and the tactics you use to connect with your consumers shouldn’t be a hit-and-run attack but a way of satisfying a need or providing some fun that leads to you supporting them through the buyer’s journey. It’s not that guerilla marketing doesn’t have its place, it’s that the concept has evolved into a more holistic approach.
KPI means Key Performance Indicator. That’s it. Whatever metric you use to determine whether your tactics are working is your KPI. So why come up with a fancy acronym? We don’t know, we get paid to write for a living, so we write things out. It’s our job. In your case, you might want to stay away from it for two reasons.
First off, some people think that all metrics are KPIs. They aren’t. All KPIs are metrics, but not all metrics are KPIs. KPIs are performance-based metrics that draw clear results for your marketing tactic. Secondly, talking about the specific metric you chose to measure success, why you chose it, and if your tactic worked, says more than KPI ever will.
Personally, we love talking about engagement, so this may come as a shock to you, but just hang on for a second while I explain. Return on Investment is a superior metric when applicable. When you can show that whatever marketing tactic you employed directly led to (x) Return on Investment, that is a great way to justify your tactic. The problem is when your ROI is unfavorable, people start screaming about engagement. Engagement doesn’t correlate directly with ROI so you’re using engagement as an excuse for a tactic.
Engagement, however, is a great metric to use in situations where ROI isn’t applicable or is immeasurable. Tracking likes, views, and shares are better than not measuring at all and is a legitimate way to measure if people received your message. Just be sure to use engagement metrics in the right way and not as an excuse.
We hope that this review has been helpful. Remember, not all these words are terrible. You have to use them sparingly and in the right context. Often, people use these words incorrectly or just overuse them, which is why we suggest finding better ways of saying them.