Become Carrier Pigeon Famous

If you're looking to turn some heads, you might want to consider marketing with carrier pigeons.

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But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Let's start here: You're not in charge of your art. You're not in charge of your marketing material. That's just not the way it works anymore. 

The Instagram platform gives success to a certain color palate, a certain frame, a certain crop. Music Apps place singles in playlists, changing the most popular music into hard hitting, quick-to-satisfy sonic bangers. These platforms have a such a strong influence on the art that’s created, and we see it across almost every industry: delivery changes the pizza,  smartphones changed the taxi, the internet changed the hotel. 

Realizing that you have a lot less control than you think is the first step to success in using art for marketing. 

Often, we worry about success metrics on these platforms more than we worry about actually reaching our customers. 

I was consulting the programs director of a community center recently, and we were discussing how to maximize their Instagram account. The problem was this: half of their posts were aimed toward getting students to attend events, and half of them were focused on getting adults to donate to the programs. This led to a split focus that was a watered down the experience for both groups.

After turning the concept over in our hands for 20 minutes or so, I stopped. We needed to be thinking less about how to reach his customers on Instagram and start thinking more about how to reach the customers how they want to be reached. So we zoomed out and decided that it doesn’t matter if people love the content on Instagram or not, what matters is meaningful digital interactions that inspire action. Having a large, active Instagram following means nothing if the customers aren’t taking action after they see the posts.

So we decided that if phone calls get more donations, they'd focus on phone calls. If Snapchat or texting gets more kids to show up, then they'd be there.

If carrier pigeons get more people to take action, then they're about to be carrier pigeon famous.  

So you have a choice: will you bend your marketing material and your art to serve the platform its on? Or will you shape it to reach and serve your customers? You'll be shifting it either way, so make a choice. 

If you want to win in marketing, let your customers be in charge. Reach them where they are, speak their language, and have meaningful digital interactions. That's the most important thing, wherever that takes place.

Joshua Reese