We’ve kind of grown used to the website in the ad. After 15 years, we expect it. If you have an ad, you need a website. Simple. Now we have the Twitter logo, the Facebook logo, theYouTube logo and more. “Follow us,” these ads say. Okay.
But here’s the problem. In the past with an 800 number there was a clear reason for having the connection point. “Order now.” There was a reason to call. A real reason. But now the value exchange has become, “follow us so we can market to you a little more.” Basically we’re saying, “Like our ad? Then follow us and get more ads!”
Who the hell wants more ads?
I mean seriously? Who of us wakes up in the morning and says, “You know what, I hope I get even more ads today. More than yesterday. Maybe more than I’ve ever had in my whole life. And in fact, when I see an ad, I’m gonna go seek out that advertiser online so that I can get the rest of the story or see more of Danica Patrick. That would be awesome!”
It started with the website, but now it’s painfully obvious that we have no idea why we are promoting our online presences. I mean, God forbid we ask for a sale! That would be too obvious. So instead with limply offer our Facebook page and say, “Follow us.” Maybe if we’re a bit more creative we add, “And get a 50% off coupon.” If we’re feeling really wacky, we add a bit of spice and say, “See what happens next.” (Like it will kill me not to see the end of your lame car chase.)
There is no clear reason for engaging us beyond a tease offer. It’s almost like we expect the customer to do all the work here. If they like us enough to come and visit our site or YouTube channel, then they pass the test. They have navigated the gauntlet of our advertising ineptitude and we dub them, “Advocate!” E pluribus unum. Gloria in excelsis deo. See store for details. Amen.
Now I’m not saying get rid of web addresses in ads. There’s nothing wrong with listing a website. It certainly couldn’t hurt. Maybe we’ll get that one guy who luuuuuuurvvvves advertising, who will come and totally dive into the comments section.
The problem is not in the listing, but in the understanding. We don’t understand how digital and social media work, so we apply old media understanding to our execution. We make our ad campaign episodic and put portions of the ad campaign online so that we can appear digital. (Look at us! We put a commercial on YouTube! We rock!) Or we try to shortchange the hard work of relationship building and jump right to the “let’s get married” phase of marketing and ask for a like before we’ve even really met.
Marketing has always been guilty of crap like this. It’s just now more of us are getting guiltier and guiltier of doing it, because it’s easier and easier to do. “Come Like us on Facebook,” might as well be changed to “Come Lick us on Facebook and see what you think,” because that’s the extent of the relationship most of us are forming.
So I urge you. I plead with you. If you are in marketing, please think through exactly what you’re asking for when you list a site on a social platform. Have a clear followup and understand what the value is that you are offering. Otherwise you are wasting all of our time.
Oh, and by the way, follow me on Twitter at @thebeancast.