Shark Week and Inbound Marketing: There Will be Blood
What ‘Shark Week’ Can Teach Us About Marketing
My well-meaning earth science teacher once told me that the ocean gets its saltiness from the tears of sharks that just want to cuddle. I appreciate her optimism, but the difference between Shark Week and the other lame fishing channels is that every minute of it is actually packed with jumping, thrashing, chomping apex predators. Believe it or not, Shark Week can be much more than just an episode of unsuspecting-seal-destruction, which we all enjoy; and even more than the chilling suspense of living vicariously through the unprotected scuba divers. If we watch it through the right lens, shark fishing can dramatically alter our perceptions about marketing and consumer behavior, especially in the midst of a digital revolution.
OLN vs. Shark Week
The old school OLN outdoor channel mirrors the methods of most traditional marketing companies. They proverbially put a line into the water with a dilapidated fish shish-kabobbed onto the end of a hook. Then they putt around, dragging it along or casting it repeatedly at areas where sharks might be hanging out, just hoping to land one of their hooks in a hungry shark’s mouth. We end up sitting in suspense for an hour, until the captain swings the boat around and heads home disappointed. The problem is that most sharks are not easy customers. If they’re not interested, the dry, out-of-date fish that was market-fresh years ago is just an interruption to their daily routine of swimming in circles looking for food. Also, the sharks get shrewd and learn to identify sparkling frauds with hooks and painfully obvious gimmicks sticking out of the gills.
Flip to Shark Week. What happens when the sharks smell blood? What happens when a big bucket of good market-fresh chum is poured into the water over the side of their boat as the fishermen sit anchored right at home? For one, they save tons of time and money; their most precious resources. More importantly, the sharks come to them. Why is that? The sharks are drawn and attracted to what leads them to their prey, and not so much the prey itself. They can be sold on a prospective dinner from over a mile away, depending on the smell and quality of the bait.
New media marketing is similar to new blood. In 2013 moving forward, your business’s digital brand and web presence will determine how many sharks you lead to the keel of your boat. SEO, blogging, email marketing, social media, and digital branding are the market-fresh blood and its reach is as far as you want your content to travel. Instead of spending precious time and money on travel, prints, commercials, spam, phone calls, or billboards, companies can now create a hub of information about their product or service from one spot that can be found by potential customers at any time. The look and feel of your digital brand is the blood you’re pouring into the water. A link, graphic, tweet, blog, or Google search-result could be miles and miles away from your website, but the Internet gives customers a superhuman sense of smell and the ability to swim at the speed of light.
One click and they’re on your site, ready to purchase or inquire about your product or service. Statistics say you have FOUR seconds to make an impression on the generation Y attention span. If your site is confusing, bland, outdated, or hard to find—you’ve just lost yourself a sale and the shark is onto the next one.
In inbound marketing, a customer is attracted and drawn to what he or she is actually searching for and subsequently, companies have the opportunity to convert leads into sales without shouting, spending, and putting around in their boats with print-flyers and radio ads. Your digital brand, the first impression you emit when people experience your web presence, is the best bait. Sharks are apex predators constantly looking for something to devour, and your audience has a similar appetite. There will be blood!
Download our FREE whitepaper ‘Lead Generation Lessons from 4,000 Businesses’
More Business articles from Business 2 Community: