OK, Britney Spears wasn’t one of them, but there are many. Who could forget Norman Greenbaum’s Spirit In The Sky, or Shaddap You Face from Joe Dolce, Charlene and I've Never Been To Me, and the unforgettable St. Winifred's School Choir with There's No-one Quite Like Grandma?
Yes, they’re all one hit wonders. If you’re of a certain vintage, you might remember one or two of them (maybe after your memory has been jogged). But ask anyone under 40 and you’ll just get puzzled looks (unless it’s their specialist Mastermind topic).
So, what does this mean for marketing? Everything.
You’re only relevant if you’re active. If you’re not putting yourself out there you’ll get forgotten about pretty quickly. And, as for attracting new fans (or customers), it’s not going to happen.
“But I’ve still got my established customer base,” you might say. Indeed, but that customer base will slowly, or sometimes quickly, decline if you’re not promoting yourself and your products.
Unlike the world of rock and roll, where you can cement your place as one of the greats and your music will be played long after you’ve stopped recording, businesses never get that long-tailed ‘afterglow’. Who’s pining for Woolworths, Blockbuster video or Toys R Us? (That reversed ‘R’ always grated with me anyway).
Marketing is simply a function that every business should be working on all of the time. It’s not something you can do every now and again when you feel like it.
You never know when somebody will be receptive to your marketing messages; either when they have a need for what you’re offering or when their existing supplier lets them down. Because you can never predict when this will be, you simply have to promote yourself constantly.
Chasing rainbows and viral posts
Even amongst some marketers there is the idea of a silver bullet: the viral social media post. It’s the belief that if you can somehow get your marketing to ‘go viral’, then all your problems will be solved and you will have thousands of would-be customers beating a path to your door.
There are a couple of obvious problems with this. The first is that things going viral on social media is a matter of luck. There is no science behind it. You can’t create posts that you know will ‘go viral’. A few do, billions don’t. And if you’re a company that is seen to be trying to create a viral post, be prepared to take some abuse (or ridicule) for it. It’s a bit like walking into school one day and saying “Hi guys, I’m really cool.”
The second issue is that social media has a worldwide reach, so unless you have a global customer base, many people who might like what you’ve posted have no way of accessing it. It’s what they used to call in the old days ‘waste’. And even though you might not be spending money on ad space, there is still the time and expense of creating your content. The question you need to ask is
“is the effort worth the returns?”
But the main reason that you shouldn’t bet the future of your business on a trying to achieve a viral social media post is that you’ll still get forgotten about if you don’t keep doing it – it’s the same as any marketing activity. A viral post will be seen, interacted with and, very quickly, forgotten as people scroll onto the next post that catches their eye.
That’s not to say don’t use social media if that fits your marketing strategy. Just don’t make the idea of ‘going viral’ your goal. If it happens, great, but it’s more important to get your key marketing messages out there in a way that resonates with your audience on the platform you are using.
The message is simple: For whatever platform or channel you think will most effectively reach your target market and suits the messages you want to get across, you absolutely have to keep the content coming. Again and again and again.
Think more Ed Sheeran and less Crazy Frog (Axel F).