The Marketing Metaphorest – SPECTROSCOPY

Looking for a better way to describe and define marketing to clients, or for your business?

Well then, step into the Marketing Metaphorest w/ Jake Sanders! The POSMarketer, musician, audio illustrator, and content strategist mixes metaphors & marketing science, to demystify this important business development function.

The Spectroscopy of Content is an attempt to find the connective and underlying structures that all marketed messages share. 

Whether it’s account based marketing, content marketing, mass market advertising, native, guerrilla, paid, earned, owned, taglines, slogans, calls-to-action; marketing is about humans communicating with other humans.

The Spectroscopy of Content provides an understanding of human behavior, it’s shared triggers and environments, and uses this information, preemptively, to increase the relevancy and effectiveness of the marketing we choose to foist upon the world.

First – let’s cover what spectroscopy is;

Spectroscopy is a scientific measurement technique. It measures light that is emitted, absorbed, or scattered by materials and can be used to study, identify and quantify those materials. One thing that you need to remember, is that “light” is a lot more than just the colored visible light that we can see. – NASA

This is interesting for two reasons –

  1. What we see as plain, white, visible light, actually contains all the colors of the rainbow, plus a collection of wavelengths that we can’t even sense as humans.
  2. Spectroscopy breaks up a complex, noisy signal, such as light, into discrete, constituent parts, provides a glimpse of once imperceptible structures, and brings meaningful data points out of chaos.

Now, let’s bring this back to marketing. 

Content starts as this solid concept, a beam of light, ready to illuminate the minds of our target audience. 

The beam is the message, and the message is the beam. 

Strong calls to action. Tracking is set up. We’ll know what success means and we’ll be able to point to business goals that Content will help to achieve. We fire the solid beam of light into the blackness of Deep Space/The Internet/America’s Living Room.

Now, let’s briefly return to the science of light.

Light is perceived by it’s reflection off of surfaces, and two different reflections are possible – Diffuse and Specular.

Light rays travel from a source and then reflect off of an object towards our eyes. 

There are two types of reflection: specular and diffuse. Specular reflection sends discreet beams in specific directions. Diffuse reflection sends many different beams in several directions.

So what about our Content? Once our beam of light is perceived by our audience, will they, via the specular reflection principle, be able to understand specific messages or triggers embedded in the beam? Or will the light spread out into a million different meanings, fade into the background – a diffuse reflection of our loaded beam?

Well, didn’t we think about the audience and the affect our content would have on their Mind Prisms? Did we think to analyze our content’s Impact Spectrum?

A few more metaphors….

Just as prisms help to break apart light, the interpretation of marketing content happens in the audience Mind Prism. The audience’s Mind Prism, is the only medium through which your lighted message is decoded and understood.

Content is not what you think it is – it’s what your audience thinks it is.

Content is not the beam of light you send, it’s the beam of light that is received. And, further complicating things, each Mind Prism is unique and it’s absorption can change with it’s environment – and no two will absorb information the exact same way.

So in The Spectroscopy of Content, we’re seeking to consciously pre-fabricate the beam of light, knowing what spectral lines need to be absorbed by the audience, amplifying the strength of those wavelengths, and thoughtfully anticipating the myriad ways our Content may be interpreted, or misinterpreted, by the Mind Prism.

Once the light is considered through the Mind Prism, the Impact Spectrum should be analyzed and considered. To explain this last piece – we return to the light. . .

The spectrum from distant stars contain the signatures of the elements that compose the star. Spectral absorption lines in the wavelength of visible light, correspond with elements, present in the stars chemical makeup. There is a Hydrogen Line, a Sodium Line, Magnesium, etc.

In The Spectroscopy of Content, the “absorption lines” reflect the ideas or concepts that are anticipated to hit the intended Impact Spectrum – and we have several different Spectra of Understanding. Here are three versions I’ve created specifically for this piece – but there is room for thousands more!

Are we soliciting buyer behavior, are we making someone mad, are we talking about cultural values? Is this a curveball with a mysterious trajectory, a fast pitch in an elevator, or a beachball in a stadium? Does this message leave enough room for the recipient’s ego? Does the Content talk about personal things, or relevant ideas in society? Will this make them think of Church, School, the bedroom, the barber shop?

Before we launch any Content, we have to ensure that it’s light will reflect into at least one Impact Spectra, if not multiple. And although it is true that each Mind Prism is unique, certain concepts like the ones briefly covered in the above examples, work on more basic levels. Humans are unique, but human behaviors and reactions tend not to be.

In closing – The Spectroscopy of Content aims to understand the ways information impacts people on this basic level, and use this information to fortify and empower the messages we send in the future. 

Whether we’re analyzing various Mind Prisms, or the associated Impact Spectrum of a message, one thing remains true throughout this marketing metaphor. . . Our success depends not on how much we put ourselves into our marketing, but by how strongly our marketing considers it’s audience.

Want to add onto this metaphor, or find out how it can all apply to your business, hit me up on the posmarketing blog, follow me on social, and until next time – I’ll see you on the internet!

The Marketing Metaphorest – HORSE RACING

Looking for a better way to describe and define marketing to clients, or for your business? Well then, step into the Marketing Metaphorest w/ Jake Sanders!

Marketing is like a horse race, in that people are overly-obsessed with winning & dissecting champions to discover fail-proof-strategies, which unfortunately reinforces biases, and creates ethical & strategic blind spots for business development.

1 – Winner Takes All

In horse racing, winning is everything, And so if what it takes to win may be dirty, sneaky, edgy, or otherwise, most racers that want to be “winners” entertain these thoughts, not because they are amoral, but because if the racer next to us is “enhancing” their performance, to win at all costs, then why shouldn’t we?

In George Brenkert’s excellent “Marketing Ethics,” he outlines why game and racing metaphors are incompatible with marketing ethics, exactly because they warp our sense of morality around business development decisions.

Instead of obsessing over how to “win the race” for your brand, set internal goalposts & benchmarks for “marathon” marketing performance, that are aligned with driving business results, over the long run. 

2 – More Data, Doesn’t Mean Better Prediction

Part of horse racing is dissecting champions to discover proven-strategies, and race fans will use everything, from superstition to big data, to get insights from every which seemingly all lead to big rewards.

A note on this –

In 1973, Paul Slovic, Univ. of Oregon, studied horse betting and data interpretation and found, the more data points a trained handicap setter had to predict a winning horse, the less accurate the prediction became. 

Out of a total of 88 data points, test groups were given 5, 10, 20, 30, and 40, the most accurate predictions for winning horses occurred in the group with just 5 variables. 

With more data, comes overconfidence, which in the horse racing study dramatically increased inaccurate predictions.

So – when it comes to data-driven marketing decisions, don’t be fooled, be focused. Reduce data points, and divine direction via interpretation, not intuition.  

3 – Survivorship Bias

And finally, the horse racing world, like marketing, is so biased towards understanding every nuance of winners, that strategic, possibly winning insights, gleaned from the whole competitive field, tend to be ignored because, losers don’t write the rule books.

Survivorship bias or survival bias is the logical error of concentrating on subjects that made it past some selection process and overlooking those that did not, typically because of their lack of visibility.

The famous example is Abraham Wald’s study on returning WW2 bombers – where he discovered that the places on the aircraft that needed reinforced armor were not the places that bullets had punctured the surviving aircraft, but where the bullets had missed, and hit the aircraft that had been shot down.

Taken in the horse race marketing context – we’re obsessed with what it takes to win a race, we fail to study and research the bounty of knowledge in what it takes to lose one.

So – to create a marketing strategy that’s robust and not reliant on the winning horse to come in – dedicate some research to the thousands of unlucky, anonymous brands that never made it, rather than studying and copying the ins-and-outs of the few, lucky, anomalous winning brands at the top of the marketing hill.

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The Marketing Metaphorest – NEWTONIAN DYNAMICS

Hey everyone, Jake Sanders, POSmarketer here, today we’re overlaying the metaphor of Newtonian Dynamics on Marketing, but first, we should probably define Newtonian Dynamics….

1) A body stays at rest, or in uniform motion, until acted on upon a force.

2) The rate of change seen in the body is proportional to the force acting upon it.

3) When a force from one body impacts another, then an equal and opposite force acts simultaneously on the impacted body.

So, are you ready to find out how this all relates to marketing? Let’s go!

A body at rest, stays at rest

Taken in a marketing context, this principle really means your brand, good ideas, solid content, won’t go anywhere without being affected by an external source of energy. You have to promote, your marketing. You have to advertise, your advertisements. 

This sounds dumb but folks are filling up their organic content bins with no plans on promoting any of it. Well, newton says, unless you got the energy to commit to it, all that content ain’t goin nowhere. 

You get out, what you put in

If the result expected from marketing strategy is huge, the energy and commitment that goes into executing the strategy needs to be equally huge.

You want SuperBowl results, but you’re only paying for junior football scrimmages…Newton says, if you want unreal results, plan to work unrealistically hard for them. 

3. Every action, has a reaction

Lastly, it’s important to remember that while external forces influence your marketing, your brand is also capable of influencing and guiding external forces. 

Marketers spend so much time reacting to things, new trends, following standards and statistics, that we forget we can create new standards, and statistics, OURSELVES.

Ad legend Bill Bernbach, had a quote, that outlines this idea…..

So Newton says, if you’re looking to create distinct, momentum for your brand, focus less on how you respond to market dynamics & trends, and more on how you can create them.

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The Marketing Metaphorest – MOUSETRAPS

In this episode we talk: MOUSETRAPS. Is it necessary for an exterminator to know every mouse’s name, before they can do their job? Is a floor full of traps, better than a big piece of cheese? When you bait a trap with too much cheese, where does the mouse fit in?

If one of the main goals of marketing is to lure buyers out of their homes, using associated, maybe cheesy, memories, to guide behavior, action, and close the deal, then the mousetrap is a perfect metaphor to explore.

Mousetraps help explain marketing & advertising in a few ways…

To catch a lot of mice – do you need to know each one personally?

Imagine, if an exterminator came to your house and before handling the mouse problem, he wanted to get all their names.

Seems silly, but for marketers, we spend more time obsessing over “sales personas” than obsessing over selling.

In today’s hyper-targeted world, advertisers believe that marketing budgets are wasted on not understanding every movement and click of every mouse – that with enough data, we can ID all personas, find the loyalists, and get them to buy, buy, buy.

But serious research, from Byron Sharp, Ehrenberg Bass, and others, shows that personalized ads perform poorly next to generalized ads, buyers are extremely brand agnostic, and loyalty isn’t a growth strategy, if not an outright myth.

Would you rather oversee ONE plan to market and capture the attention and intention of a single category audience, mice, or have to manage MULTIPLE plans, based on THOUSANDS of individualized, market-segmentations?

That’s where AI comes in, you say? Deep learning in your martech stack? Yeah….no.

You want to attract & catch the most mice, which of the following do you think would perform the best?

Giant Cheese on Floor – think of this as mass media. Expensive.

Floor full of traps – Think of this as direct response. Exhausting.

AR projection of mice eating cheese – Think of this as social media, or influencers. Exhibitive. 

Pretty sure every CEO would be interested in the AR mousetrap – low overhead, low stakes for failure, no one get’s hurt, and no one wastes cheese. Actually, nothing happens! 

Most marketers think if they push out enough sales messaging and activity, if they lay traps all over the floor – that the mouse will show up, eventually. 
Nothing wrong with this. But overtime – the mice become wise to it, ignore the inticements. The ROI for short activations like this, diminish overtime.

In initial polls, everyone chose the giant cheese. Why? If the main point of advertising is to bring awareness and drive action, then the giant cheese hits it – it’s less important that certain mice show up, and more important that ANY and ALL cheese eating mice show up, and remember the experience. 

“When baiting a trap with cheese, leave room for the mouse.” – Saki

This quote merits deep reflection – marketers tend to bring too much of their own cheese to the marketing trap.

Too much brand puffery, too much “We,” very rarely a “You”

Every customer is looking at a brand’s advertising asking, “What’s in it for me? Where do I fit in?”

Your marketing should be relatable, not just BULL.

Before you write that next cheesy bit of copy, ask yourself, “am I leaving enough room, for the mouse?”

So – to summarize – In order to capture the most attention and intention for your brand, focus on categorization rather than segmentation, utilize broad-reaching campaigns, and make sure your marketing copy is focused on, and leaves room for, the buyer.

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The Marketing Metaphorest – TREES

Looking for a better way to describe and define marketing to clients, or for your business? Well then, step into the Marketing Metaphorest w/ Jake Sanders! The POSMarketer, musician, audio illustrator, and content strategist mixes metaphors & marketing science, to demystify this important business development function.

In this episode we talk: TREES. A single acorn contains the mighty oak, depends on a diverse forest ecosystem for distribution, and if the rate at which trees are planted, is slower than the rate at which you cut them down, then trouble starts.

ONE – Like tiny acorns contain all the information required to grow a forest of full blown oaks, a marketing campaign should 1) seek to condense required brand messaging into small, distinct, easy to ingest packages, that are 2) easily replicable, dropped by the thousands, and spread by a variety of category buyers in the audience, 3) with the knowledge that without broadcast awareness, singular behaviors will never take root.  

TWO – Like a tree can become a forest, effective marketing strategy takes a while to grow business into self-sustaining cycles. 

And if the rate at which you plant the long term strategy seeds for new business, outpaces the rate at which you seek short term rewards, (i.e. cutting down trees for fire) progress will be unattainable.


THREE – Like an interdependent collection of diverse trees & shrubs, ensures holistic health and progress for an entire forest ecosystem, marketing strategies must be diverse in tactics/methods/applications/settings, because business development that relies on a single cash crop is waiting for famine. 

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The Marketing Metaphorest – WATER

Looking for a better way to describe and define marketing to clients, or for your business?

Well then, step into the Marketing Metaphorest w/ Jake Sanders! The POSMarketer, musician, audio illustrator, and content strategist mixes metaphors & marketing science, to demystify this important business development function.

Dive into the latest episode of the Marketing Metaphorest – WATER!

In this episode we talk: WATER. Water is everywhere, but it’s quality (drinking water vs salt) and conditions it exists in (ice, clouds, liquid), can vary greatly, without ever changing it’s substance.

How else does marketing relate to water?

Marketing is like WATER in a few different ways

1)

Just like rivers and oceans were the connective tissue for thriving port-towns throughout history, developing business effectively through marketing, depends upon understanding and viewing your audience through the natural pathways that brought them to the marketplace, not just as consumers in a decision vacuum.

Too many marketers think about their product only in context of it’s relationship to their buyer, but never consider the things outside of that relationship, behaviors in the buyer’s busy life and brain, which impact a brands chance of sticking out.

When you understand the tides & behaviors of your marketplace, research the rivers your buyer crosses everyday, you create more effective, resonant marketing.

To learn more about taking a behavioral approach to marketing & advertising, I recommend  “Competing Against Luck” by Clayton Christensen and CO. and “The Advertised Mind” by the brilliant Erik DuPlessis.

2)

The quality of water in the river, leading up to a spring, isn’t equal to the water you’d drink from it – and yet, both types of water, potable and non-potable, are necessary for survival.

In this metaphor, the spring is a marketing source for clear, quality sales, and the river is a pathway that ensures traffic. Business owners need to cultivate marketing activities which secure traffic as well as leads, and should respect the differences in quality.

3)

Like water, marketing effectiveness fills the strategic vessel you pour it into. You could be under a torrent of leads, but if you only have a teacup commitment to marketing strategy, you’ll be sipping progress, when you could be chugging it.

4)

Like water, effective marketing strategy needs to be able to change and adapt, based on environmental conditions. Marketing should be lithe enough, and supported by a strong enough brand, to shift easily through varying mediums, lengths, and tone. 

Like water can become ice, liquid and vapor, while remaining water, marketing must be able to phase shift through mediums and messaging, without sacrificing brand ethos.

From email to billboards, from one-line-copy to 3,000 word white papers, and ranging in tone from boardroom-buzzwords to borderline bawdy, the execution of your marketing strategy needs to contain an element of adaptability to survive, and thrive, as the environment of your marketplace changes.

Interested to learn more about this metaphor, want to pile on your own version, or find ways to apply it all in your business? Hit me up on the POSblog, follow me on social, and until next time – I’ll see you on the internet!

The Marketing Metaphorest – NUTRITION

In this episode we talk: NUTRITION. Like balanced nutrition, a healthy marketing “diet” should consist of a balance of activities and practices that fulfill short-term energy demands, while also increasing brand longevity.

The latest marketing metaphor from POSMarketer, Jake Sanders.

Marketing is Nutrition – Like balanced nutrition, a healthy marketing “diet” should consist of activities and practices that fulfill short-term energy demands while increasing brand longevity.


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Marketing Metaphorest – INTRO & FUNNELS

Looking for a better way to describe and define marketing to clients, or for your business? Well then, step into the Marketing Metaphorest w/ Jake Sanders!

The POSMarketer, musician, audio illustrator, and content strategist, mixes metaphors & marketing science, to demystify this important business development function.

In this opening episode we learn why metaphors, and why now, and then we dive into the first metaphor:

FUNNELS

Marketing is a funnel; first goal to broadly reach potential buyers with Awareness, which narrows into Consideration for a smaller group of buyers, which then shrinks into a Decision set of buyers.
In regards to prioritizing budget for marketing activities, turn the funnel upside down to get a sense of how to properly fund marketing.

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