Cameron Upshall King ContentWhy are we still flogging the dead horse that is interruption marketing?

In my role, I’m lucky enough to spend time with some of Australia’s most progressive and savvy marketers. I get to play a critical role in some of the most interesting and engaging workshops, and I’m privy to some of the most advanced thinking in the world of marketing, publishing and media. It’s a great job.

I also get to see the other side of the coin. I talk to marketers who seem to be stuck in an interruption marketing rut. They appear to enjoy burning precious marketing cycles on an advertising hamster wheel. They’re doing the same things they did four years ago, unsure of why they’re doing it and not really understanding why their effectiveness is decreasing.

The not-so-merry-go-round

But the world has changed, and no matter how hard you spin that hamster wheel, you won’t catch those old results. They’re probably gone for good, and they should be. Retired, along with your right to interrupt a person’s day with antiquated, in-your-face marketing campaigns. Archive them on the shelf next to the advertising memoirs of Don Draper.

How is it that so many of us are still reliant on digital advertising as a form of marketing? Marketers seem to have an addiction that only lacklustre clickthrough rates and millions of impressions can satisfy. I’m starting to feel that many of us still cannot see the permission promise through the disruption trees.

Don’t get me wrong. At the risk of being ousted by the content marketing purest, I do think advertising, when used properly, has its place in the marketing mix. But to be so reliant on it as a primary tactic and to not support it with an always-on earned marketing strategy is madness.

So what’s the solution? What’s the new way to plan out your advertising budgets?

Rent-to-own subscriber strategy

The idea of renting audiences is not new. This is, after all, why people pay for an advertisement. The premise is simple: you give your hard-earned money to the ‘owner’ of the audience. This audience, you hope, comprises in large part your target market. In exchange for your rent, you get the rights to this audience so you can spruik your wares, deliver your marketing message and – you hope – drive a profitable outcome. Simple.

Derive something of value

However, let’s draw a parallel to other rent-to-own schemes, such as those for cars, homes, TVs and fridges. They all work on the notion that at the end of the rental period, you actually own something of value. So how do we bring this approach to paid advertising, and why is it important? You need to set the objective of your spend for building your own audience. (Shhh… don’t tell the current owners of the audience, but you want to steal as many of their eyeballs as possible and make them your own.)

Give them a reason to stick around

If you’re going to use advertising, make sure this paid-media spend has rock-solid foundations in an owned-media strategy. Always think about how you can start aggregating these borrowed eyeballs and how you can turn them into your own passionate subscribers. Then, once you have them, don’t stop talking to them! Engage them, educate them and entertain them. Give them a reason to stay. Keep an ongoing brand conversation happening with them. This will develop real brand advocacy and, in turn, transform a subscriber into a customer.

Don’t think about impressions; think about subscriber growth. Don’t think about “likes”; think about new business revenue. If you don’t, you run the risk of getting dizzy on that advertising hamster wheel, and you may as well throw those hundreds of thousands of advertising dollars down the drain.

Can you remember the last time you clicked on a banner ad? Exactly. These days, think rent to own or don’t bother renting at all.