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Why Your Marketing “Signal" Should Be Analog

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by: John Watton (@jwatton)
13 August 2013

In the world of music production, you have a choice between digital and analog techniques. Whilst for many years this choice was constrained to the murky world of studio technicians, engineers and sound geeks, consumers became famously aware of the differences during the debate over whether CDs (digital) are better than vinyl records (analog). 

Ignoring factors like convenience, longevity and corporate monetization, there are fundamental, scientific differences between digital and analog.

Sound is basically a bunch of waves coming at you like a series of gently rolling hills. The waveforms generated by vocals, instruments and electronics all create these hills. An analog system (such as that used to create vinyl records) takes these waves and tries to faithfully reproduce those gently rolling hills (albeit with some old tech). In contrast, a digital system uses the latest in smart tech to convert those sounds into a series of ones and zeros, creating a series of jagged peaks.

In short, this means a digital signal is either there (as a one) or not there (as a zero). Whilst an analog signal always exists.

That’s also the danger with a lot of marketing. The temptation is to be digitally perfect on a periodic basis. We're all scared of making mistakes (weak signal) or saying the wrong thing (interference), but the reality is that we need to be “on” all the time. And if the signal we're projecting fades in and out occasionally, that’s fine. We should all learn to experiment and not be afraid of failure.

Of course, prolonged (or repeated) failure over time is a bad thing, but with online marketing we can try, measure, fail and improve over a few days (and in some cases over a few hours). Which is why we should all go “analog.”

To get analog with your marketing, try these four things:

1) Find a way to continually be in tune with your market. The most obvious way is to set up Google alerts on your industry, competitors and markets. Or, have pre-built streams in a social media tool like Hootsuite.

2) Get into a real-time measurement mindset.  Set up a daily dashboard in your CRM system, or have your Web analytics tool send daily reports.

3) Automate your analog-ness. Invest in a marketing automation platform, such as Silverpop Engage, that can be constantly listening to your customers and prospects and using their “signals” to ping them with the right information at the right time. All the time.

4) Set aside some money. Bookmark a small amount of your budget (say 10 percent) to spend exclusively on experimental projects. Try that whacky ad copy or build a fun viral video. Even the most modest budgets can support experimentation.

Being analog is a state of mind, not a thing you can buy. Chances are your competitors have made the move already and are out-marketing you. They're out there right now, filling the gaps in your marketing signal with their analog buzz.

So, forget stalling and remember, practice makes perfect. Time to get playing!

Related Resources:

1) Ebook: “Print Money Today: 7 Emails Marketers Should Automate to Drive Massive ROI

2) Infographic: “The Social Impact of Wimbledon, The Ashes and The Lions 2013

3) Blog: “The Fight for Attention in Marketing




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