MARKETING 401: Vanity vs Value
by Kyle Sockwell
Everyone has their own take on marketing, but the basic principles that produce a positive return for a client are consistent across the majority of the practice. How much value can you build your consumer and can you convince that consumer that their money is better spent on your product than something or someone else?
Sounds pretty simple, but this is a world of A/B testing confounding variables run rampant, one of which is the power of vanity. Before we go any further, it’s important to ask the internet (more specifically Webster) to define the two terms we’ll be diving into as plainly as possible for us.
Vanity (n): Inflated pride in oneself or one’s appearance (via: Webster)
Value (n): Relative worth, utility, or importance. (via: Webster)
What and why?
Vanity – Vanity metrics would include Reach, Total Social Footprint, Page Engagement, and more. These KPIs are important to keep in mind for any marketing team or marketing strategy to ensure the progression of brand awareness. I could go on for days on the unseen importance of the “number of followers” or the “number of likes, comments, and shares” a page receives on average, but I’ll break it down more simply. We live in an age of internet investigators and for brands that don’t understand this properly, they’re losing customers. When an ad surfaces on a potential consumers timelines, there has to be some level of trust built up to push that consumer further down your funnel. This comes almost completely down to brand. Knowing this, what happens if this internet investigator hasn’t been appropriately acquainted with your brand?
It’s. Time. To. Hunt.
They click on the profile. Check the number of likes/followers/etc. Cross check that number with the engagement metrics on other posts. Watch a few videos. On and on and on they go validating the company’s worth and trustworthiness until they make up their minds. Long story short, vanity matters and can make or break a sale. Question is, to what extent for YOUR brand?
Value – Value can come in all shapes and sizes in business. The basic understanding behind a sale or customer acquisition is that the marketer (or product) must build enough value for the customer to outweigh the financial burden brought on by purchasing said item. For a marketer, it’s important to understand that value doesn’t have to be built with the product alone but can be built from the first touch on the internet all the way until the consumer is debating whether or not to pop onto the internet to leave a review for your product. To sum up the value portion, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes related to the value building aspect of marketing.
“All things being equal, people will do business with a friend; all things being unequal, people will still do business with a friend.” – Mark McCormack
Make friends, not sales.
Here’s a rhetorical question. Does it make sense for a real estate company that only serves the Austin, Texas area to spend thousands of dollars growing their social footprint? No, but it might make sense to spend a little here and there.
Here’s another rhetorical question. Does it make sense for a clothing brand to spend thousands of dollars growing their social footprint? Yes, of course it does.
Having a marketer (who knows what they’re doing) custom fit a marketing plan for your brand business isn’t optional, it’s a necessity for proper brand growth. Some organizations could lean as far as 90% Vanity and 10% Value while others could lean the opposite at 10% Vanity and 90% Value. Leveraging your marketing budget to its greatest extent starts with a great marketer and hiring the right one could make or break your company.
Disclaimer: Most companies don’t even use the full 100%.