📖 Read time: ± 8 mins
Remember your time off at the beginning of the month one million years ago?
That was nice 🥴
Now, it’s back to the grindstone, and we’re kicking this year off in style. Think upgrading your marketing collateral, finding the perfect collab, and making personalization the theme of your marketing outreach.
Psst — My word of the year is strategy, and if you’re wondering what 2024 will bring to your business, let’s talk.
I’d love to create a digital marketing strategy that makes this year your best yet, and I’m inviting you for dinner to show you how.
HMU if you’re in the LA area, I’ll take you to my fave Mexican place. If not, let’s jump on a call, and I’ll buy you tacos virtually 🌮. Just email me, and it’s a date!
Your January Critique
This year, I’m starting a new regular critique feature, designed so we can all upgrade our marketing materials and learn from the sweet success (and miserable failure) of others.
This month, this email from SEMRush hit my inbox. And I loved it!
🥑 I love the pun; they get bonus points for extending it through.
🥑 RIZZ and POTENCY! Those are some yummy words right there.
🥑 Valuable content + a bit of gamification = at least one of those bullets got a click from me.
And things to work on:
🌶️ What is the purpose of this email? The actual content of the text seemed a little vague – what do you want me to do? (This happens when writers get too in their heads about the email. They’ve looked at it for too long and too many people have had their say.)
🌶️ Why is the formatting off? Why such large font bullets and such small body text?
When it comes to emails, communicating like a friend is going to get you far. This email was clever, but it was maybe too clever?
When it comes to emails that get clicks, my recommendation is to bash out the email in one go, and then come back to it tomorrow. Read it aloud and check for flow. Add a funny in there. Maybe a pun or two.
Now send it.
Don’t overcomplicate things, don’t get too fancy with the layout, and don’t ask for feedback from too many people! Then let me know how it went.
👑 Our Brand Winners 👑
A sneak preview — this month’s winners did collaboration well.
First up, we’ve got Olipop — the qweens of the collab — who in the past have teamed up with the minions, a sports team, and now Cheez-It. Talk about diversity.
Look at that for a party!
The key to these collabs is attracting new customers. Pringles x The Caviar Co. introduced a luxury delicacy to a whole new kind of snacker, and Olipop’s careful collabs bring their market for healthy sodas to non-traditional audiences — soccer fans and your grandma’s Facebook minion groups.
This is fundamental to consider when contemplating a collaboration of your own. Don’t stick to partners that make sense. Try something a little out of the ordinary, and don’t forget the aesthetic af social media campaign to go with it — you don’t need me to tell you a collab is really successful when you get that viral momentum behind it.
Your Monthly Shot of AI
So, how can we make the most of AI in our funnel? Let’s take some inspo from the greats.
Coca-Cola has thrown themselves into the world of AI by using it to generate magical Christmas images and encouraging its customers to have a go too. I love this idea, as it makes AI palatable to the masses — when we can experiment ourselves with something fun, the new technology becomes less we’re-all-doomed-when-AI-take-our-jobs scary.
Team it with an AI-powered chatbot, and Coca-Cola is leading the way in using AI to connect with their audience without that flat-sounding text that ChatGPT spurts out.
However, could it be that Coca-Cola’s plan is backfiring? Even when you ask DALL-E to create an image about controversial topics using ‘unbranded’ soda bottles – it still represents Coca-Cola bottles.
Case in point:
My own AI-generated image for 2024’s Coca-Cola holiday campaign discussing the theme of climate breakdown, featuring squished babies, a swimming dog eating itself, and a crying polar bear. Oh, and an ‘unbranded soda bottle,’ according to DALE-4, delivered by a Coca-Cola truck. This one’s a winner!
Struggling With Content?
In a recent poll I asked on Linkedin, a huge 46% of marketers told me that scaling their content creation is a challenge they face, and a further 43% of marketers struggle with scaling both content creation and distribution.
- Rely on AI for scalable output
- Decrease the quality to increase the churn
But neither of these is good enough for businesses that want real results from content marketing. So, what’s next?
My suggestion this year is to double down on quality rather than quantity. Don’t focus on hitting output targets (the number of businesses I work with whose main content strategy was the arbitrary ‘4 blogs a month’ quota 🙃🙃); instead, focus on content that is ACTUALLY VALUABLE.
Then, make your content count! That means going hard on your content pillars, developing a great SEO strategy (including social media SEO and visual search elements), and nailing your audience development to use your analytics to craft compelling headings, tone, etc that are proven to connect.
There’s a lot more to content marketing than simply creating content. If you focus on the strategy, it’s much easier to scale your reach than to scale your content (and that’s what matters after all).
Search Is Changing — And It Might Not Be Good
But for all of us without a tangible product to sell, what does this mean for us?
The honest answer right now? No one knows.
All we know is that building up your brand communities is doubly important. The audience you control (hello email lists) will help you stay on top even if a new search pulls the rug out from under.
If you’ve not got that good to go, then it’s time to act.
The Stanley Cup craze is one that has crept up on us. First, we had that news story about how Europeans don’t drink water. Now, we have teenagers screaming with happiness, unwrapping a water bottle on Christmas Day.
It’s escalated, is all I’m gonna say.
And, of course, behind every crying TikToker, there’s usually a marketing team celebrating an outstandingly good strategy.
Stanley’s is no exception, except for the fact that the marketers behind the craze didn’t even work for Stanley. They simply recognized a great product, placed a 10,000 wholesale order, and pushed it on to a new audience.
The Stanley Cup Mania is a lesson for us all about the power of finding the right audience. Even for a product that is almost a century old, Stanley has untapped customers and untapped markets that have allowed them to 10x their sales revenue in the last year alone.
Do your products have untapped potential, too?
Don’t mind me; I’m just over here strategizing with my Stanley Cup.
Zara’s PR Nightmare
But Zara has been accused of just that, with its edgy ‘The Jacket’ campaign receiving an incredible backlash from customers for photos resembling photos emerging from the genocide in Gaza.
Zara maintains that the shoot was shot before the war began — in which case fair enough. But surely someone could have critiqued this and thought it was a bit of a bad look?
I know things fall through the cracks and that terrible marketing campaigns (*cough* Kraft’s word of the year being moist *cough*) sometimes get approved.
But Zara’s terrible apology didn’t help things either 🙃🙃🙃🙃
There’s a straightforward lesson here: Accept when you’ve messed up and apologize earnestly.
Sounds simple enough!
So, why do so many brands still not get it?
If you’re not shouting from the rooftops, “THIS IS THE BEST MONTH EVER!” then it could be time to re-think. I have a great feeling about this year, and here’s why:
- The S&P 500 reached its highest ever last week
- Inflation is trending downwards
- Interest rates are likely to drop (eventually)
All this means more spending power in the hands of your customers, bumper sales, and bigger profits are coming.
But only if your marketing strategies match up.
What constitutes marketing success changes all the time, and what worked for you in 2022 just isn’t gonna cut it.
Trends like microblogging, brand communities, and AI are here to stay, and they’re having real impact on sales. If you’re not orienting around visual search, and if you’re slow to adapt to AI’s evolution, your business will get left behind as your competitors latch on to the global trends.
Finally, all of this needs to be packaged in a way that’s incredibly personal to your customer. We’re talking a personalized story, a great connection with the individual, and a community element that rewards and surprises.
Our Last Meme
Probably only for their meme potential. Hehe.
Tacos this Tuesday? 🇲🇽
Don’t forget! If you’re ready to level up your marketing strategy with the best team in the business, this Tuesday, it’s a date. (Why Tuesday? Look here.)
I might even throw in a margarita (or two).
CEO & Founder,
Nouvel Age Media
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