Brian Carter has been a digital marketer for 18 years and a trusted influencer for a decade. A bestselling author, IBM futurist and one of LinkedIn’s top 25 social media experts, Carter has more than 250,000 online fans and students. ARN’s Carol Ward spoke to Carter, who will keynote the ARN 2018 Revenue Conference & Exhibition, about his unique marketing and messaging approaches.
Ward: You say effective messaging relies on the convergence of data, psychology and creativity. Can you expand on what that means and how it impacts businesses?
Carter: In business the No. 1 thing we want is to persuade people to do stuff. From a marketing perspective, whether you are a marketer or a salesperson, you’ve got to get people to pay attention, you’ve got to get them to engage with your content or your social media, you’ve got to get them to visit the store or the website, and you’ve got to get them to buy the product. It’s about getting people to take action. That requires motivation. We’ve got to figure out how to move people. The data tells us what’s working and what’s not. If we make [customers] feel heard – basically by giving them more of what they like, more of what they responded to, more of what made them buy – then we’re more influential.
Ward: What are some key ways that companies should drive engagement?
Carter: Obviously people can’t engage with something they can’t see because awareness comes before engagement, and engagement is really proof of awareness. You can put a television commercial out, or you can put a post on social media. You can put a video out and say it reached X number of people, but you don’t really know if those people were looking at their screens or not. Engagement is proof that they saw it and they responded emotionally. You need attention, you need engagement, you need traffic, you need sales, you need loyalty, you need all of it.
Ward: What are some key mistakes that you see companies making?
Carter: I think one of the biggest mistakes is opinion versus facts. We now have data – we can test whether the customer likes our branding. If you listen to the wrong information, or your information is out of date or you make decisions that are based on opinion rather than fact, eventually you’re headed for disaster. The companies that are winning today, that are disrupting categories and established companies, are using technology to make customers happier than they ever were before. When your opinion is wrong and out of whack with the facts, you’re not going to be able to make your customers happy.
Ward: Given the constantly changing social media world, how can companies nimbly adapt?
Carter I think you have to be open-minded to what is coming and what is effective. You really have to look at who your ideal customer is and what platforms they use. I could give you 10 reasons why the Facebook ad platform is more powerful and more effective than any other social network out there, and it’s as powerful as Google AdWords. Those two are really the monsters of scale. And you need to be able to do Google Analytics. There are some core competencies that every company needs. They need a social advertising competency; they need a search-advertising competency; they need an analytics competency. That is way more important than Snapchat, more important than some messaging platform that kids are on that doesn’t have a scalable marketing solution. For some reason, some people would rather talk about what’s coming than get good at what’s already effective.
Editor’s note: The full version of this article appears in the February 2018 issue of ARN Magazine. Click here to subscribe.