Ben Gregory
Resisting Marketing’s Ozempic

Ben Gregory

Ozempic. It’s the weight loss wonder drug that has overtaken Hollywood. Of course, the biggest wonder of it is that it’s not a weight loss drug at all—it’s a prescription to help regulate insulin for adults with type 2 diabetes. But when people started noticing the effect of shedding pounds, its fame was born.

Why? Because people love a silver bullet. The battle of the bulge is a difficult one. Exercising is time consuming. Eating the right foods can be costly. Portion control takes a lot of discipline. But to give myself a painless shot once a week? That I can do.

The Silver Bullet Mindset

Unfortunately, that’s the same mindset we see from a lot of organizations today when it comes to their marketing efforts. They want to increase sales and they think that one single, magic tactic is the answer. So, naturally, they turn to the latest fad out there. And just like weight loss has gone through waves of trends (Atkins, intermittent fasting, Whole30, Special K [do you remember the Special K diet? “Lose two jean sizes in two weeks!”]), marketing has had its own history of futile attempts at being the savior of sales. Let’s recap a few from recent memory:

When this social network became what people went to—not only to connect with friends, but for everything else in their lives—companies started thinking they didn’t even need their own website (or at least they didn’t have to pay much attention to it); they just needed a FB page.

Influencer Marketing
This grew out of the demand from consumers that brands be more “authentic” and a third-party advocate (even a paid one) became a way to do that.

Content Marketing
In a world that is being overtaken by things to watch, read, and listen to, the idea was to just put out as much as possible and hope something sticks.

Machine Learning
From predictive recommendations (think Netflix’s “Picks for You”) to chatbots, there seems to be no limit to what this AI branch can (seemingly) do.

From the short list above, you can probably see how views change over time. While most companies still do maintain a Facebook presence and some can afford to engage in influencer or content marketing, many organizations have realized they can’t put all their eggs into one of these baskets. And yet, in a way that’s what we’re seeing people want to do with AI and machine learning. This is marketing’s Ozempic. It’s THE hot topic right now and everyone’s searching for a way to get their hands on it and use it. But soon people will realize it’s not the sure-fire way to make a company succeed.

Why Silver Bullets Don’t Work

While a trendy tactic is all the rage for a moment, what it can really amount to is a distraction. That’s because customers don’t make a choice due to one ad, a single post or a solitary moment. Their preference is consciously and subconsciously built over a long period of time. So if your sales team tells you that a new white paper will get product X flying off the shelves, or your marketing department says collaborating with influencer Y will translate to higher engagement or a developer says incorporating a chatbot will double conversion, you may not end up seeing the ROI you expect. And if it does work, the effect may be limited, short-lived or a fluke. (Sorry!)

What DOES Work

So what kind of marketing work will actually have an impact? Branding. It’s like the diet and exercise of weight loss. It’s always been there. You know you should pay attention to it. But it’s hard. And in fact, just like diet and exercise, it takes time, money and discipline. Branding is a long-term initiative. No short fix here. But it’s effective. It allows you to build a solid foundation that you can then take bolder leaps (i.e. marketing tactics) from. When you implement branding effectively, then each touchpoint will be 1.) consistent and 2.) valuable. And as you keep up that pattern, consumers’ thoughts about you will be shaped—much like your body will be shaped from fruits and veggies and squats and sprints.

So stop looking for that silver bullet. Stick with what’s tried and true—branding. It may not be as exciting or sexy, and probably all the RealHousewives of Marketing won’t be talking about it. But it works. And unlike Ozempic, it’s easy to find. Just give us a call.