This particular line of thought was inspired by a great article from Fast Company where they forecast some of the trends around building products for 2013. There are some really interesting ones including the idea that the importance of technology is now secondary to the power of the experience. This has been a pillar of my thinking for quite some time now as I truly believe that our jobs as marketers is not to inject more technology into consumers ecosystems, but to do our best to take it away.
However, while I touch upon this a little bit in my words below, that is for another time and another article.
The idea that really spoke to me in the Fast Company piece was the concept of ‘Brand Loyalty Is How We Escape Decision Fatigue’ which resonated for a couple of reasons. The main one being around the thought that as we start embracing a time where technology is now democratized, we are now entering an age where people are getting tired of having all this information so readily available due to the abundance of technology and the ease it provides.
In my other life, I am the Editor-In-Chief of Canada’s Number One independently owned film and television site – Xavierpop. Through a combination of a focused strategy, great timing and sheer luck, the site is now relied on by many of the most influential folks in this country with some great traffic to back it.
While many tools and technologies were used to build the site, the fact is that what we offer as a product is by no means unique. When you look at it across the whole board, the competition is ridiculous. You can get the type of information I provide from numerous other outlets, online media and traditional forms of entertainment. Most are hacks that do this just for free movie swag and tickets while some are pretty brilliantly done.
The key to Xavierpop’s success has been based on the idea of building brand loyalty. While there are many things that work against us on a daily basis, there are a lot of things that work very much in our favour. One of the big factors is that, outside of Xavierpop, the Canadian market is drastically under-served. There is a huge lack of sites spitting out quality content. The number is actually quite minuscule.
Using that and a few other things to our advantage, a long-term vision was put into place to carve our niche and serve this very under-used market. Not only for the readers, but the brands looking to speak to them.
Which gets me back to the point of this article. Along the way, the data showed us that people were starting to feel a fatigue by all the technology out there. Too much choice took away from actually living a life. The reaction was a pull back from a lot of them.
So our challenge was, how do we fight that the fatigue.
The answer is by just being there. Quietly.
I reiterate, as a digital strategist I am of the belief that all great marketing that actually sells things is based on the principle of not injecting messaging use more technology in front of the consumer, it’s actually to strip away technology and make their lives just a little easier as a result.
So not only was our job to simply being there, but we focused on helping our readers by actually stripping technology out of the way and focusing on the user experience, which in this case is the consuming of content.
How did I do it? Well here is just a brief breakdown of the things that were focused on.
Have a voice and stick to it no matter what – One of my favourite people on Twitter is the film writer Scott Weinberg. He has built a loyal following by having a voice. He has opinions on things and is not afraid to stand by them. It’s an admirable quality among the sycophants that the social spaces are littered with.
We are Canadian and proud of it – The fact is that there is no Independent Canadian voice speaking on what we speak of. There are big media companies that try to act all ‘young and hip’ and then there sites that just have no voice or opinion and you only go on their to get free shit. It is very well known that Toronto is the toughest place to make it. Being based in this great cities with all the festivals and films being made here just adds to the flavour of our content.
Focus on community – Our readers are the best readers around. They are passionate, informed and require only the best quality content. By focusing on them, I have been able to make the site better.
Make it easy for them – Due to resource issues when the site was launched, I decided to wait to implement a mobile strategy. This was three years ago and mobile traffic was just a fraction of what it is now. The site’s redesign was just recently launched and with it came the implementation of responsive design that reads very well on mobile appliances. We have seen an increase of 20% in our mobile traffic resulting in an increase of 250% in overall traffic. If you build it they will come.
Be constantly there providing the information they want – This one might seem like a no-brainer, however if you look into a bit more, it is a very important point. Far too often, the content being provided is tailored towards what the site owner wants with little regards to what the audience is thirsting for. Sure there must be some editorial vision, however if you listen to your audience, you can shape that vision together. The result would be an endless army of fans spreading the word.
As the site grows and evolves, more processes will be put in place to make my reader’s experience that much more easier. That is the secret sauce; the golden nugget; that is how you will win in this crazy overpopulated internetland.