The Life of Ryan: Learning the 'Science' of Marketing

Sitting here at week 6 of my journey with Key Branding Labs, I can honestly say this has been one of the most rewarding and fun jobs to be able to wake up to in the morning. It hasn’t all been a piece of cake though, as you may know if you’ve been following along with my other blog posts. There have been a lot of hard lessons learned, both in terms of marketing and ,more specifically, on social media. As a so called “Millennial”, I had the good fortune of growing up with some truly amazing technology. It allowed me to connect with friends across the country in an instant but it also allowed me to put pictures of myself and personal opinions out to the public for people to comment on and like. It may come as no surprise that when starting this job, the hardest lesson for me to learn was to leave those preconceived notions about social media and, more importantly my opinions, at the door.

What sets us apart from different forms of advertising is audience feedback. We know exactly how many people we are reaching and exactly how many people are engaging with our posts. With radio and television you simply have to guess and guessing is rarely accurate. For us, when a post doesn’t work or falls flat, our audience tells us. Either by not responding to it or explicitly telling us “this does not look good.” What was toughest for me when taking on my first accounts was leaving my opinions out of it and starting to think like the audience I was posting for. A student housing complex has an audience of between 17-23 year olds so you have to start thinking like a 17-23 year old to develop content that will resonate with them. You have to place yourself in the mind of a college student. What will they be doing on a Thursday night or a Friday night? My Thursday or Friday nights in college might have been spent differently than those that lived downtown but that was the type of mindset I had to start placing myself in. “If I lived downtown, what would I do for fun? What would resonate with me?”

The same can be said for a pizza shop. Maybe I didn’t frequent there too often, instead going to one that was closer. I had to leave my personal opinions behind and think strictly about the audience I was trying to reach, which is a lot more broad than a student housing complex. Everyone loves pizza (and if they don’t you should definitely be suspicious of them). So the audience demographics are wide, but I still had to start thinking like them. What are they going to want to see on the weekends? During the weekdays? On rainy days? What kind of content would resonate with mothers of 2 on a busy weekend? What would resonate with high schoolers coming in for lunch? All things to be cognizant of but it’s what makes the job fun. And even if you miss your mark and the post didn’t resonate as well as you’d like, you have data to give you insights into why it might not have done so well. All tools to help you change your approach and do better next time.

Yes, technology has infiltrated our lives immensely over the past 30 years and while some of that might be bad, a lot of it is incredibly good. With our job, we now have the means to analyze how our ads are being delivered to people through the amount they engage with our content to the time of the day they engage with it. It allows us to take all of the guess work and opinions out of our job and really make a science out of it. Of course there are circumstances outside of your control to how people respond to your content (weather, holidays, unforeseen events), but even those things can be used in a way to strengthen the relationship with the audience and have them care about our story. That’s why we’re here after all: to tell a story.

adam sabol