Customer Experience WondermanThings have changed in terms of marketing in this country and it has nothing to do with the products being marketed. What changed are the people being marketed to.

For many reasons, people are more skeptical, less receptive, and more discerning than ever, especially on the frontiers of marketing, the internet. But why has this happened? And how much blame can be assigned to companies? Those are the questions that we want to answer.

Customers Are Used to An Onslaught of Advertisements

There was a time when creating a blog, loading it up with keywords and putting up Google AdSense text ads was an almost guaranteed money-making formula. Those days are gone, no matter what any cynical web entrepreneur might tell you.

Web users quickly learned to distinguish what was an honest link and what was an ad. Furthermore, pay-per-click ads became more aggressive. Pop-up ads and embedded video ads became not merely something that web users didn’t click on, but something that they held in genuine contempt.

Honest marketers suffered for this shift. Aggressive advertisements created a digital era where users were skeptical to the point that they rejected anything that felt like an advertisement.

Even companies that attempt to run honest online marketing campaigns feel the cynicism. “Trolling” or mocking a company’s Twitter or Facebook account is often seen as funny; it’s viewed as giving companies “what they deserve.”

Working Around Customer Cynicism to Win the Customer

If you understand that you are targeting an audience that is cynical and skeptical of web marketing efforts, then congratulations. You’re light-years ahead of most marketers, who still think that bombarding web users with ads for their product will be effective.

So how do you target customers that are hardened to most web marketing efforts? It’s a challenging task, but doable. The following are some tips on how to turn these cynical web users into actual customers.

Customers Demand That You Demonstrate Integrity

A successful online marketing campaign needs to demonstrate integrity. It is impossible to get instant results anymore. This is just something that companies need to accept. Instead, a successful online marketing campaign is built slowly. Building this campaign with integrity means ignoring selling your product from the get-go and instead slowly building trust and demonstrating value to your audience.

The first six months of building your online marketing campaign – as in, gaining followers on Twitter, developing a regular readership on your blog, etc. – should involve little to no pushes for your product. Instead, you have to create real and compelling content. It may seem like a long, arduous process, but the payoff will be well worth it. Once you actually have developed a following that enjoys your online efforts for the content and discourse they create, you will have created a successful audience to which you can market your product.

Sell Your Customers a Lifestyle

This is an old buzz phrase in advertising, but in the digital age, it’s truer than ever. Every single website that the average web user encounters is trying to sell them something. The result of this is that web users have become immune to being directly sold to.

However, what customers do respond to, time and time again, are sales efforts that are not selling them a product, but rather a lifestyle. Popular YouTube video bloggers, especially in the lifestyle and beauty categories, can easily help a product to sell out by mentioning it in one of their videos.

That’s because customers aren’t buying the product per se, but rather purchasing something that they think will help them to be more like the lifestyle or beauty expert that they aspire to emulate.

Don’t Market, Make a Difference

Don’t market your product online. Market the lifestyle that your product will help to create. Once you have created an effective community and audience via your digital marketing efforts, push the lifestyle that represents your brand. This is trickier than merely bombarding your audience with pushes for your product or company, but it is incredibly effective.

In this skeptical age, it’s not enough to just throw up a bunch of links and hope something sticks. Instead, you have to be savvy. But if you play the online marketing game right, the results will be well worth it.