I follow Anthropologie on Tumblr. (And yes, someday I’ll stop talking about Anthropologie. When they stop being so cool.) Here’s why: their Tumblr blog, etymologie, reads like great editorial content, because it is. Each week, the folks maintaining this blog choose a word: “pet” or “garden” are recent examples. Then, they feature a variety of content – sourced from employees, customers, ordinary people – that expresses the essence of the word. The tone is casual, conversational. The photographs aren’t always styled. It feels like a community effort.
The only marketing that ever appears in the blog is a small “shop anthropologie” link in the top navigation. So what makes the Tumblr blog such a smart marketing strategy? It obeys the two essential rules for communicating in our world today:
Be useful or be interesting. Bonus for being both.
Consumers are overloaded with information. Messages – of all kinds – fly at us from every channel. Still, organizations somehow believe that simply moving their marketing communications to Facebook or Twitter means consumers will listen to them. Nope. The reality is that none of us can process all the information that’s thrown at us everyday, forcing us to become more and more selective about the content we consume.
If brands hope to be heard, they must create communication that actually offers something of worth to their customers. It should instruct, inspire, ease, entertain. A few forward-thinking fashion brands have been quick to grasp this concept and have created their own editorial outlets – like the etymologie tumblr or like The Journal, an online magazine produced by men’s clothing brand, Mr. Porter. Consumers are attracted to the content for its own merit. It’s like going to a smashing party given by a cool host – your brand.
Granted, if you sell jet engines or potting soil, creating a lifestyle publication is probably not your best communication strategy. The question to ask yourself, then, is how can I give to my customers? How does my brand fit into their lives?
Perhaps the only “marketing strategy” that matters is simply love your customers.
When you love someone, you make a concerted effort to please him. You consider her needs, and how you can meet them. You listen. You pay attention to what he likes.
And when you open your mouth, that's what you talk about.