The question, “What would Don Draper do?” is one that cheekily circles the advertising industry ever since The Oatmeal first asked it.
Advertising has changed so much since the 1950s that you would almost forgive the character’s chronic whiskey drinking as a coping mechanism if he were suddenly transported to earth circa 2013. However, as much as the advertising industry has changed, certain core principles remain unchanged – the soapbox used on street corners in the 1900s has simply been replaced with one that can reach the entire globe: the internet.
If we breakdown what successful marketers were doing 100 years ago, we will soon discover that successful marketers today are really doing much of the same thing – it’s merely the medium that has changed. Effective creative digital campaigns today contain the same magic (good or bad) that snake oil salesman had in The Wild West; let’s look at just a few of the most important considerations that remain even while their delivery is revolutionised.
These four pillars make up the never-changing landscape of what successful creative marketing campaigns have always needed and always will.
Today awareness can be achieved a lot easier than what was possible even a decade ago; the internet allows us the freedom today to self-publish, without the giant budgets needed in the 1950s to reach a mere 10,000 potential customers. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest, to name a few, all give small to medium businesses the same boxing gloves the big boys have spent millions monopolising for the last hundred years.
These same tools and so much more allow for ease of engagement in a contemporary world as the local community becomes the global community. You may choose to serve only your city or connect with customers on the other side of the world; the rules of engagement are yours to decide whereas in the past it would take Marco Polo a decade to sell a silk scarf a few thousand kilometres away.
When it comes to enticement, the methods of baiting interest are truly only as limited as your imagination. The gimmicks of yesteryear are the viral videos of today. What has changed today though is the fact that you can receive as much interest as you can handle personally without needing to hire an army of salespeople. Social media puts you in direct communication with the customer whereas before enticement could easily lead to the ransacking of your wagon on the Oregon Trail.
Finally we address the product; people will always need or want products and that never changes. However we as creative Mad Men are not so far into the future that we can read minds (yet). What has changed from the past though is that we have the tools to best guess those minds and present them with what they want and/or need effectively. We don’t need to take those vacuum cleaners door-to-door anymore; today creative campaigns can use AdWords, SEO and other concepts to perfectly streamline straight into the bloodstream what people want, where and when.
So as you can see while it may SEEM that social media marketing campaigns today would look like science fiction to admen of the 50s, the truth is the more things change the more they stay the same. Understanding the never-changing principles of effective marketing and applying them to the ever-expanding digital world means that you can be the next Don Draper – that’s something we can all drink to.