There is no one-size-fits-all marketing strategy meeting all of our needs at Helsingin Sanomat. Instead, we employee several marketing funnel tactics to achieve our goals.
It all starts with the image of the brand. The role of brand marketing is to make promises about what the brand is and what it does for the user. This is especially critical if you are changing the positioning of the brand, or if you are a new brand, and you do not want to compete only with price.
In this phase, you need to assume the audience is not interested in you or what you have to say at all, so the target is to get people interested, pay attention, and remember you.
Helsingin Sanomat tactic No. 1: Touch the emotional part of the brain. There is plenty of research about how our brains use emotional metadata to tag important things. This means people better remember the moments or the things they have strong feelings about. That’s why it is easier to influence long-term brand perception by touching the emotional part of the brain.
This is not news to brand marketers. But for people coming from the shorter term-oriented, performance marketing angle, it might be less evident, as the longer-term memory effect does not perform as well in immediate data collection.
Helsingin Sanomat tactic No. 2: If you do video, specifically plan out the first three crucial seconds. Either you get people’s attention or you don’t. In the digital channel, it is easy to skip the ads, and if the content isn’t interesting right away, it absolutely will be skipped.
This might seem obvious, but there is still a surprising amount of advertising where the interesting bit is only in the end — the place where most people will not see it.
Product marketing (in our case, content marketing)
When you have gained some interest in and emotional attachment to your brand, it is time to prove in a concrete way how you improve the life of your customer. The role of product marketing is demonstrating how you fulfill the promises made in brand marketing.
When you are selling media subscriptions, content is the product. In our case, this is means highlighting of our best content pieces every day that demonstrate our brand position.
Helsingin Sanomat tactic No. 3: Prove your promise in a native format. In the product marketing phase, you have a lot to prove and plenty to tell. If you adapt your storytelling to a form the consumer is expecting from that channel, the chances of receiving a longer attention span and more interaction are higher, because you provided the format the user came looking for.
This means different things for different channels, of course. For print it might be a text-heavy ad. For Facebook, it is a clever post.
Assuming you have increased the interest of the buyer already, now is the time to push over the conversion thresholds. If you are selling a non-critical product like a subscription, it is easy for the consumer to postpone the decision to buy.
Helsingin Sanomat tactic No. 4: Create a sense of urgency to convert now — in our case, with content. The most common way to create a sense of urgency is with price discounts, and we have done our fair share of them. But if you are always discounting, it becomes your norm and is no longer interesting. Also, if you are building a valued brand, discounts are not really the best way to promote sales.
Creating a sense of urgency is easy if what you are selling is scarce. But with digital subscriptions, there is no limit.
Luckily for us, there is another pressing motive for buying right now: The content a user wants to get his hands on is what everyone else is talking about it (i.e. the fear of missing out). When we do native marketing for our great pieces of content, we are optimising some of that toward direct subscription sales, and some toward free trials, which we then later convert to sales.
So there they are … some tactics we are using.
Of course, brand versus product versus conversion marketing are not always separate activities. Many of our marketing activities try to do at least two things at the same time. For example, native content (product) marketing that converts to sales, or brand marketing that also goes into more detail about what you get while still evoking emotion. It is just not easy to tick all the boxes at the same time with one clear message.