Online Marketing Basics. Core principles that don’t change

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I have been reading that the old school rules and that core values no longer matter or apply to today’s world.  Although I am 100% on board with creating newer and better strategies and also all about developing new techniques, there are some things you just simply cannot argue with me.  Call me a dinosaur but there really are some core and key strategies and principles that no matter what Country you live in, no matter what Market you are targeting and no matter what industry you are in, these still apply.  Something unrelated to Marketing but I can tie back in to this post was someone commenting on’s fan page on today.

If you know me then you know I love the theatre and to go to a show.  I also am a huge Broadway junkie and follow a few of the main Broadway sites.  Anyways, when I was looking at the non posts on their fan page I saw someone and then a few other fans complaining that Celebrities are what pull in an audience today and is the only thing that is selling tickets.  Then a few more Actors started to complain that it is also impossible to get a start or get a role on Broadway unless you are a celebrity.  Although this can be true to an extent, Broadway runs on talent and that is something that will never change.

The reality is that when you have a revival show or one that needs a boost, sometimes what the show needs is a celebrity.  However, you also have to think of a couple of huge hits in the past few years.  None of them had had celebrities and none of them needed the big names to take off.  They relied on Talent, good writing, a unique theme and more important, quality and attention to detail.

Avenue Q had a fun idea of combining a popular children’s TV show with a very popular Musical about 20 somethings trying to make it in New York City.  The score was catchy and the songs were unique.  The acting was great and the characters were hilarious and well thought out.  Guess what, it made it on sheer brilliance and comedy and acting talent and made it across the world.  Wicked had two very well known Actresses in it, at least well known to the Broadway community, but in reality it was their talent and the iconic characters that they redefined that made this show a huge success and one that is still selling out today.  Spring Awakening is a disturbing show that makes you think, has an amazing score and also had no seriously famous or main stream recognizable people starring in it.  Guess what, out of sheer talent and a great score and a unique stage set up, they skyrocketed a few people to fame and two of the stars are now on the hit Fox show Glee.  One of the fundamentals that you cannot escape with theatre is talent, brilliance and relating to your audience.  If you get people that can bring a character to life, have  a score or screen play that captures your audience and a set that takes them to where you dreamed the show takes place and are able to tie the Acting with the Script into a perfect harmony that relates to your audience and pulls emotions out of them, the rest is yours to define and be creative.  If you can engage your audience and spark an emotion that you want them to feel, you have a hit.  That is what Marketing and Advertising is all about.  Engaging your audience and getting them to react.  This is a fundamental of Theatre and a fundamental of Marketing.  You cannot succeed without the engagement and reaction.

Now, I have some people constantly telling me that I’m wrong and that my ways are the old ways and I don’t understand their market.  This is the same as people on the Fan Page saying that you need celebrities to succeed.  Again I disagree.  Whenever we have tested and I had full say in my designs and strategy, I have won out 100% of the time with this group of people.

For the fan page people, think about shows like The Color Purple.  They brought in some of my favorite Singers and Actresses, they also took one of the most memorable stories and books most of us read in high school but you know what.  Even with an amazing story line and celebrity power backing it, it still flopped and you never really heard about it.  People don’t sing it’s songs at showtunes nights and piano bars and I didn’t see any signs for it when I was in NYC for Affiliate Summit last year.  With their Email Campaigns, I warn about bolding and using red lettering.  Using just images with absolutely no text and using the term FREE repeatedly in the subject lines.  I also warn about sending at night and not including calls to actions in it.  These are the core principles that built Email Marketing.

Sure I may not know all of the slang for their particular market and nice, but what I do know is how to make a Newsletter and Email campaign effective.  That is why I can create the basics and the copy, but rely on them to tune the language into their own market when it is a Market I do not know well enough.  Marketing is a partnership and needs a team effort, many people forget that and that is also a core value.  I also know that when you hit an inbox if you only have images you may only show empty spaces without any messaging coming through.  The end user has to click one to three times just to show the images with the message when all the Advertiser had to do was include a couple lines of text to show the basic sales pitch or the reason you were emailing them in the first place and their message may have been delivered a lot easier and to a potentially much larger group of people.  I’m not going to go into what else is wrong with image only emails as most people already know.

With SEO, I got tired of fighting with them that a flash site is only that, a flash site.  Unless you want to buy a million backlinks, do a ton of giveaways for Bloggers to go crazy over you and start a blog to add content, then your site is not going to be SEO friendly.  (There is a plug in or something Adobe created I believe to feed flash into SEO friendly formats, but I still don’t trust it and they were not using it).  These are the same people that are opposed to an internal linking structure, don’t want to use meta data (I still don’t see what they are afraid of with this one), and they are opposed to having content because it takes away from the artistic value, then they ask why they aren’t ranking for top terms.  When I tell them its because they refuse to go with the basic core values of SEO and won’t provide samples or a budget for backlinks, they just get more and more angry.  Sometimes people just won’t listen to reason.

To me, there are certain core principals you cannot escape.  They are fundamentals for a reason and they cannot be abandoned.  It doesn’t matter where you live or who you are, certain things always have applied and more than likely always will.  Yes you can play with the other rules and standards but certain ones will almost always have to be there or guess what, you more than likely won’t progress.  I needed to vent this out because I am so tired of arguing with people over this and to be honest, I stopped fighting with it and have been watching certain campaigns that I am not responsible for fall.  Sure I jump in when they bring me back to get them on the right track again but the cycle gets old.  (This is not for any of my current Clients.  This is for partnerships and projects I work with with other Marketers for fun and for charities we believe in).

When their numbers fall enough, they come back and yell and I say are you ready to get your head back on straight, put your ego aside and go back to the basics?  When they say yes, guess what, I do it my way and also tie in their advice, what they learned and ideas and we all start to grow and succeed again.  (Sometimes you need a falling out to build a stronger relationship).  Sure we have had some small failures but if you don’t try new things and you don’t keep going forward you never will have some flops and you will never learn new things and be able to expand upon your current limits.  Luckily if you keep your basic fundamentals in place your chances for a complete disaster are in my opinion reduced to a minimum and your chances for success may be even greater.

Fundamentals are key to Online Marketing and although some of them are no longer valid and you can falter on them like having to blog everyday or spend the most money for the top spot in Google Adwords, certain others like backlinks for SEO or image only emails will not go away, at least any time soon.  Sorry for this long post but I needed to vent and sometimes people just need a reminder about the basics and core values of Online Marketing need to be there and most of them still apply.

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