Black Box Ad Platforms (That You Or They Configure) Versus Thinking About Where Your Tribe Gathers

You have a couple options when putting your product or service to market: 1) using established ad platforms like Google and Facebook (whether you configure the targeting, or they do, or both), 2) thinking creatively about what Gary Vaynerchuk calls ‘attention markets’. Equally important is what you do with the attention you’ve garnered.

First Things First: Be Differentiated

As Gary Vaynerchuk points out, marketing is really about placing notices and offers in ‘attention markets’. Meaning: you can theoretically advertise anywhere human attention is directed.

This is an elegant way to think about it, because it opens up possibilities. Not just new advertising platforms are born this way, but new advertising techniques. 

You’re really just vying for attention. All marketing channels, media and sources work because of this fact.  

It’s basic supply and demand: if advertising your product puts you against competition, then you’ll a) pay more to advertise it, and b) you’ll get a smaller yield. 

Google And Facebook Ads

Millions of businesses use PPC, which can be highly effective. Here are some characteristics: 

  • They allow manual and automated targeting; 
  • They’re incentivized to match you with your target demographic, since they make money if you get clicks;
  • Their click-through rates are typically below 2%;
  • Their cost can be considerable. 

The Alternative: Going To Where Your People Aggregate

You can advertise just as effectively, or in combination with established ad platforms, by considering where your demographic gathers. 

  • This option opens up innovative advertising modalities, which typically cost less, because there is less competition;
  • This approach opens up consideration of new, as-yet-undiscovered ad platforms, where costs are also lower;
  • Since you pay-per-click, as a function of spend – even if the newer ad platforms are smaller – you can still achieve a high ROI;
  • Management of disparate platforms has become easier and easier, with creatives easily uploaded, or even scraped, from existing ad platforms.

By thinking broadly and asking your demographic gathers, you may well end up spending less on a lead, because these modalities are not saturated. 

Marketing is not  complicated; it’s noticing the people in your demographic of your offering. That’s all. It’s placing a notice in a place where it can get attention, and marketing is done *well* when that notice includes an offer that is irresistible.

What To Do When You Have Their Attention

It’s easier to offer than to ask, hence the proliferation of ‘lead magnets’ in recent years.

Produce a plethora of great content, and offer it upfront, without condition – helping your demographic rather than selling to them. If you do this, you’ll get a few benefits:

  1. People will respect you as a ‘thought leader’ in your field;
  2. People will actually click-through to your content;
  3. People will share your content; 
  4. People will appreciate your assistance and think favorably of your business;
  5. People will feel subtly indebted or obligated to you – because you have given them something.

A Two-Pronged Strategy

Often a two-pronged strategy is best. Try configuring your ‘black box’ ad platforms, and let them to do the matching, also. But also think creatively about where your people gather, irrespective of whether that’s online or offline, whether the ad platform makes it easy, or not. 

And don’t forget to include offers they can’t refuse.