What can we really learn from the 'YouTubers'?

Its difficult to look at Twitter these days without seeing something about the new breed of You Tube stars, how amazing they are and how they're all planning to publish books soon...Oh, and how much they can teach us about branding and marketing! 

I spent a bit of my lunch hour the other day reading this article, Five behaviours marketers can learn from the new YouTube stars from Marketing UK. And then I wished I hadn't, because I spent most of my afternoon staring at spreadsheets with this blog post buzzing around inside my head…

These are the ‘lessons for marketers’ highlighted by the article:

  1. It takes time to build up an online presence
  2. Too many controls/steps in the content-producing process mean you can't be responsive to current trends
  3. You should experiment, adapt and learn all the time
  4.  Listen to your audience
  5.  It is beneficial to collaborate with other influencers or brands with a similar audience
So, are these young whippersnappers setting the world of marketing alight with their new and inspired insights?

Not really...

Let's take each one in turn:

1. It takes time to build an online presence

Anyone who has tried to start, and grow, their business online, particularly if they're not already an established or recognised brand, will know that it takes an awful lot of work and effort.

Here are 43 experts explaining exactly how much effort it takes to build an online presence.

2. Don't have too many steps in the content-producing process

"Committees can criticise, but they cannot create"
― David Ogilvy, Ogilvy on Advertising (1983)

There is a reason that David Ogilvy was a great believer in keeping it simple and straightforward. He knew that layers of bureaucracy waste time and add very little value. Yes he admitted that, “if it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.” But this, he felt, should be the extent of it.

And in an article published this week, Advertising Age suggests brands should learn to be more fluid in the way they plan and create their content.
“The best brands listen to how the world responds to their planned creative and layer on stories that arise naturally from these reactions, creating deep connections between brands and the consumer.”
 After all, it’s long been known that too many cooks can spoil the…Well…Content?

3. Experiment, adapt and learn

Claude Hopkins is probably best known for his book Scientific Advertising (published, 1923). He strongly believed that good advertising should always be tested to see how effective it is.
“Tests are important and help us understand our customers. Good selling is based on good testing.” - Claude C. Hopkins
Hopkins cites his work with Pepsodent toothpaste. He suggests that he was able to turn around sales for the company in only a few weeks through use of carefully engineered tests on the adverts and customers’ responses.

You can’t help feeling Hopkins would have been in his element amongst the A/B testing of today’s digital marketing.

4. Listen to your audience

It’s no secret that business starts with the customer…
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” – Peter Drucker (1909 – 2005).

5. Collaborate with other brands or audiences

This, again, is something brands have known for generations. 

Nike joined up with Michael Jordan to create the first pair of Air Jordan’s 30 years ago, and after 29 different pairs this iconic shoe is still going strong.

As part of its partnership with Seaworld, Southwest Airlines painted killer whales on the side of several airplanes in the mid-80’s to mark the beginning of what was to be a quarter of a century of  successful brand collaboration. Due to end later this year, it is speculated that growing pressure on Southwest Airlines from animal rights activists has encouraged the airline to rethink the partnership.

And by far my favourite example of recent brand collaboration, was LEGO joining up with ITV to re-make famous UK adverts from Confused.com, Premier Inn, the British Heart Foundation and BT.

So, nothing new there then…

The lessons suggested in the article should not be new to anyone working in the marketing industry, or I would at least hope they are not. As demonstrated, they mirror closely a lot of the wisdom imparted by the undisputed ‘fathers of advertising’. Nonetheless they are important points that must not be forgotten.

What's interesting to me, though, is how these youngsters, barely out of pull-ups, with not an ounce of marketing training amongst them, know all this stuff.

I guess the answer is, they don't…Not really…Or they certainly didn’t when they started out.

But what they also don't do is sit around ‘strategising’ and ‘brainstorming’, trying to justify the cost of their 'campaigns'. Instead they try something, and if it doesn't work they try again - and they go back and talk to their audience and try some more. 

I think at the end of it all, the lesson to be learned from these online ‘stars’ is one of honesty and integrity, of being true to yourself. And put simply, in everything you do, every business communication you write and every business decision you make, focus on your customer and you can't go far wrong!

So, what do I think businesses marketing to teens could learn from ‘YouTubers’?

  1. Be personable – people respond better to people than to ‘faceless corporations’
  2. Be honest, forthright and create a brand that stands up for what it believes in
  3. Get ‘down and dirty’ with your customers…Speak to them in their language
  4. Be entertaining

And 5. Most of all, have fun, don’t take yourself too seriously and make sure the people representing your business enjoy what they do.

Oh look, Ogilvy already knew that too…

“Where people aren’t having any fun, they seldom produce good work.”     -David Ogilvy, Confessions of an Advertising Man

Is there anything Ogilvy didn’t know? 

Well, probably this one thing.  

The thing that has almost definitely benefited ‘YouTubers’ more than anything.

What is it? I hear you cry.

In 2014 teenagers like watching stuff on iPads…A lot!


So what do you think of these 'YouTubers'? Do you think there is anything new we can learn from them?

Follow my #copywritingjourney on Twitter @weenixlen

If you enjoyed this post you may like:

The #nomakeupselfie - Why it worked and what Dove already knew.

Wondering where it all began? Read: CA Copywriters Anonymous

No comments:

Post a Comment