Why traditional marketing thinking does not work today

As a marketer, it was drilled into us to be single minded.  What is the one single benefits you want to tout to consumers?  What is that one thing that makes you special?  What is that one thing that differentiates you?

Back in the days of 30 second ads, marketers can really only focus their communication on this single, oh-so-special, benefit.  But social media completely changed that game.  Don’t get me wrong, it is still very important to know what is that oh-so-special differentiator.  That’s something fundamental to your product that is necessary for it to survive in the marketplace.  There is just so many choices, and if you don’t have something special, you won’t stand out.  But that kind of thinking can actually be limiting for a social media campaign.

Social media campaign is all about content, and a lot of it.  If all that content is going to focus on that one single special benefit, it’s going to get boring very quickly.  It’s one thing to see the same 30 second ad on TV 30 times, it’s quite something else when it comes social channels.

So, it seems to me that marketing content now needs to be able to tout a variety of benefits and features.  This makes it that much more important to make the product right from the get-go.  Having a good product has always been vital success.  No marketing can save a bad product.  But today, marketing cannot just leverage one unique selling point to push the product.  The product holistically must be designed with the target consumer in mind.  For a food product, everything from sourcing, to recipe, to manufacturing, to packaging is all part of the overall product proposition.  Social media content needs to be drawn from every aspect of a product.  Long gone were the days when marketers can come up with one awesome slogan to push one single awesome feature / benefit.  The product as a whole needs to tell a story.  And an interesting story is always multi-faceted.

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Photo credit: Daniel Lee


  • Johnson,
    I totally agree with you. Each message has to be sharp! Thanks for sharing


  • Great article Jeannie.

    My take on how social media impacts on the single benefit motif that us marketers follow is that it actually magnifies it. Social media has democratised the “voice” and given it back to the people, so to speak.

    Social media can amplify and carry the strength and values of a brand even further than the communications from the brand itself if – and only if – the message is strong.

    For the message to be strong, guess what? It has to be single-minded, sharp and focused.

    Just like cars, the vehicle of communication will change and evolve. There is nothing better than a strong, single idea, delivered at the right place and the right time.

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