The Marketing Must Be Built-In

Our world and media have been fragmented into hundreds of TV channels; millions of blogs, webforums, and websites; thousands of newspapers, radio stations, and trade publications; and infinite channels of search on Google. And that’s just the beginning.

Every single person has been given an amplified voice, and as we all start to talk and become even more connected, we stop listening to traditional advertising. Well, not so much stop – it’s just that we figure why listen to messages we know are crafted by the companies themselves when instead, we can listen to advice from trusted sources and third parties.

Attention spans have become shorter than ever, people TiVo past your commercials, many savvy web users use AdBlock to block out your ads online – the old model of interrupting people with your messages is becoming less effective everyday.

So how does one combat this massive, unstoppable fragmentation of attention, media and ideas. A simple strategy is to build the marketing right into whatever your product is. No longer can external marketing drive sales and success of your product in a world when less and less people listen to those messages. The product, idea, publication, restaurant, or blog needs to be so good, so different, so innovative that it spreads itself.

Let’s go through a few examples of what I mean by this:

There are literally millions of blogs on every subject you can fathom. How exactly does a newbie gain tracking in such a crowded market? Simple, they build the marketing right into their blog. How do you do this? Not using AdSense. The answer is to create blog posts so compelling and insightful that they just have to be shared. You have to write content so good, that people reading not only can’t help but subscribe to it – but they go a step further share it with their peers. This should set off a chain reaction. Here, your posts are in themselves your viral marketing elements. Think back to the last time you forwarded a blog post to a friend or posted it to Digg. Think about how great the content was – that post was not only great content, it was successful marketing.

Being an artist myself, I’m well aware of the (extremely) vast amount of other artists out there doing the same thing. The numbers of artists are staggering, and they’re all trying to get you, the music-fan to listen to their music. But marketing and buying ads alone won’t even sell anymore, at least not in the numbers artists would like to see. No longer does getting local DJs to play your music matter when everyone is listening to online radio and their iPods. The only way to break out is to have the quality of your music speak for itself. It has to spread on its own and be remarkable in some way. The big labels are churning out generic music. You need to be different, strive to make exceptional music, and when you succeed, it will spread itself. You can get clever with external marketing here all you want through viral videos on YouTube or giving away content free – but it won’t lead to sustainable results unless the music itself is so good it has to be shared.

The small business (and big business) world is cutthroat. Everyone is vying for new clients, more sales and bigger profits. But of course someone’s win is someone else’s loss. The trick here is to have your product sell itself. If you’re in the service industry, you need your clients raving about your services to the world. Let your competition spend as many dollars in the traditional ad space and spend hours brainstorming how to marketing the current product they have, while you focus entirely on improving the quality of your service and making it the most exceptional, talked about service there is. In the end, it is now the consumers, not you, who can do the best job spreading the message about your business. Give them the best story to tell, and they’ll tell it.

Mediocre is not good enough any longer, and even the best marketing can’t turn an average product into a winner.

Now that everyone has been given their own, personal, amplified voice, you need to give them something worthwhile to talk about. You need to give them something worth spreading.

The product itself needs to be the talking piece, whether it is soap in unique packaging, a blog with remarkable content, or a restaurant that serves meals in a unique way, it absolutely has to stand out. To transcend media outlets and get exposure across the board, you have to craft your product strategically from the start to have the marketing built right in. This will create fantastic synergies with the marketing external of the product itself, and create something that permeates mainstream media, the internet/social networks, and gets into personal conversations and recommendations.