sly : marketing

15 Minutes of Marketing and The End of Advertising

Hennes & Mauritz

Do you like this advertisment from Hennes & Mauritz? Do you believe that it works? This billboard happens to be close to everywhere I look, and it’s part of their latest marketing campaign. Does it work? Yes, it probably does, and I’ll tell you why at the end of this rather long post.

I have been thinking a lot about what I should be doing with my blog. I have thought about posting less often, and spend most of my time working for my client, but right now, I’m thinking that this blog is a part of me and my business, and it’s my way of showing you exactly what I’m doing, and it’s a way for me to learn from what I’m doing by receiving feedback from you.


I still don’t know exactly what I’ll be doing with the blog, but here’s an attempt to show you exactly what’s happening.

Tomorrow, I’ll be speaking about marketing to a very interesting group of people. I only have 15 minutes, and I have so many things to say. But, the topic is marketing and social media. What I’ll do, is to focus on explaining marketing, and how marketing has changed, and instead of telling people exactly how they should be using social media, I’ll be telling them a story about marketing that they won’t forget.

Still remember the beautiful woman at the top? I’ll get to her in a minuteā€¦

What is marketing?

Marketing is not advertising. The problem is that it has been advertising for at least the past 50 years, and that’s why some people still think it’s about advertising. And that they should interrupt as many people as possible with their very good looking ads.

I believe that we have three levels of marketing:

The first level is to get attention from people who have no idea who you are and to make them become interested in you.

The second level is to turn the same people from just being interested in you into customers.

The third level is to turn the customers into customers for life.

How you do the the three levels are very different today, than it used to be. And this is what many people don’t understand. We’re in a completely different era, than when marketing started out.

Three eras of marketing

As far as I can see, we’ve got three eras of marketing.

The first era was the industrial era, where everything was about the production methods, and how easy and cheap, and fun etc. it was to create products. That was the marketing, producing new things, and making things cheaper, because the production costs was low, and we got new products all the time – because of the production methods. This happened a long time ago. I know that the industrial revolution was the period from 1750 to 1850, but the industrial era in marketing (from what I understand stopped when mass media started)

The second era of marketing is the Mad Men era, the era of mass media. This is the period where the focus was more or less about taking the advantage of the mass media. I’m not going to say exactly when it started or when it ended, but let’s just say that it’s from the 1960’s to somewhere during this mellenium. And the reason why they focused on mass media was that doing so got close to everybody’s attention. It was exclusive, for the first time in history, they could reach everybody with a message (ads). And the more messages they created, the more money they would earn. People noticed close to every single ad. This worked because our attention had very little competition. Few TV channels, few radio channels, few magazines etc.. and we weren’t used to ads, not like we’re now.

I am not sure if the third era has a name, but this is the era we’re living in now (internet or social media). And the most interesting thing about this era when it comes to marketing is that it’s almost the complete opposite of the mass media era, we’ve got a major problem with getting attention. We can’t just create a mediocre advertisement and show it on TV, and that’s it. We can’t create average stuff anymore. There are just too many choices. When I was young, living in Norway, there was only a few choices of everything. We had three TV channels, we had four chocolate bars, a few interesting magazines for kids. Now, even here in Norway, it’s close to impossible to count all the various choices. And, now that we’re more or less become immune to traditional advertising, we need to make a switch.

I am not saying that not a single person will see your ads. What I’m saying is that it’s not as effective as it used to be, and it costs more money than the type of marketing that works

Like I said, the hard part is earning attention and trust. In order to do that, we need to focus on a different level. Interruption used to work, and it still works, but only if your interruption isn’t being interrupted. And that’s the point, your interruption is being interrupted all the time. Today, you need to earn the attention, you can’t steal it anymore.

Internet helps you to build connections. And it makes creating relationships a lot easier. That’s why it should be a major part of our marketing.

The Marketing Methods

The reason why I started my marketing business, is mostly because I want to help people. I want people to stop to think that they can be average and still be successful.

I have seen too many examples of executives that just don’t understand when marketing should be applied and what marketing is all about. Think about the era, and step back and look at what’s happening all around us. It used to be that a company created products, and when the product was finished, they talked to the people in marketing and told them to start advertising / sell the products. That’s not how things should be done. This just doesn’t work anymore. It won’t work in any type of products or for any type of service.

What we need to understand is that marketing should be implemented in the products and services, and that the people working in marketing should be included from the scratch, and be part of the product development. If you create products that makes people say yes every single time, well, you won’t need a single advertisment. The marketing is part of how you create your products, and why you do it, and how you run your business.

We are back where it all started

I don’t remember this far into the past, but sometimes I can visualize how it must have been like. A long time ago, the only marketing method that was guaranteed to work, was word-of-mouth. People bought what their friends told them worked. They walked to the local shoe store, and they talked to the man running the store, they were friends, and they trusted him. The sales process was based upon the trust. They bought every single pair of shoes from the same man.

Now, we’re back at where it all started. We are buying what people tell us to buy, and we’re looking for relationships and trust. But, we’re finding the answers online, and word-of-mouth are social media, and our friends are hundreds of people instead of your closest ones. When you recommend something, you’ll share it and people will see it in a matter of seconds (it used to take hours or days), and you’ll share it with a lot more people. The same things happen when you’re sharing bad reviews. You’ll share a bad review within seconds, and it spreads very fast.

The technology has changed. The speed has changed. But, the principles of marketing is still the same. True relationships builds trust. And trust is the only part of marketing you’ll guaranteed to work (forever).

But. Traditional advertising still works

Now, let me tell you why the beautiful woman on the Hennes & Maurtiz billboards works. We’re now focusing on level 1 of the levels of marketing, and this is where we get attention and make people become interested in who we are and what we’re doing. If we’re using traditional advertising, we can only be fairly successful if we’re standing out from the crowd, and doing something that fascinates people. And one of the seven triggers that makes us fascinated is lust. Sex sells. That’s a fact. And, what you might not see on the image above, is that the woman is exceptionally tan. She’s in fact so tan that it’s been a major discussion in Norway about the effect on the ads on girls (and women), and some have added that the effects can lead to cancer. It’s clearly that when you’re watching the ads you’ll see that she’s too tan (if there’s such a thing). And, that’s the point. In order to get attention doing traditional advertising, you need to do something extraordinary, something that will make you stand out from the crowd. If you stand out from the crowd, you’ll eventually get attention.

But. Remember. What they’re doing is only level 1 of marketing.

Permission marketing

Instead of stealing attention by using traditional advertising, like adding a beautiful woman on a billboard, we should be using permission marketing. Get permission first. Make people find you, instead of the other way around. Stop interrupting people, and do something that will make them want you on their own terms. Take a long hard look at yourself. The (only) people and brands you’re giving permission too, are people and brands you already have a relationship with.

Is this 15 minutes of marketing?

If you had 15 minutes to talk about marketing, is this what you would have focused on? I’d love to get your thoughts.

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