Dear Marketers, please stop calling everything “king”
Every morning I open my feed reader to see what is happening in my industry, expand my knowledge, discover something new, and hear what some knowledgeable people have to say about topics that impact myself & what I do.
And almost every morning, I see headlines saying, “insert word here is king”. The obvious (and least eye-roll inducing) example is “content is king”, but it seems that we marketers have more potential kings & queens competing for the crown than Game of Thrones!
Before I tell you who I support as sovereign ruler of marketing land, let’s delve into the intrigue and turmoil that surrounds the iron throne of marketing land and have a look at some of the would-be rulers of the digital world.
Many believe that Kings and Queens rise and fall at the will of their people. Queen Content has been elevated by her people to the throne and is accepted by her subjects as the one true ruler of marketing land. Content is a woman of the people, connecting and engaging with everyone from the most powerful lords and ladies, to hard working farmers and labourers.
Lord Data sits on the royal council, providing strategic direction, and critical insights. Such is her tactical and strategic prowess that Queen Content has come to rely on his advice to run the kingdom. However, Lord Data and his sympathisers are feeling under-appreciated. It is his hard work and insight that is ensuring the smooth functioning of the kingdom and keeping the Queen on her throne.
Audience does not have a title, lands, or riches, but she does wield immense power. The people of marketing land see Audience as their collective voice, and she is not impressed with the gap in power and privilege between the rich and the poor. Audience controls the eyes and ears of the people, something Queen Content, and all other claimants need if they wish to secure power. However, what is to stop Audience from claiming the throne for herself?
If you thought only the nobles of marketing land had to deal with backstabbing and power plays, you would be wrong! Engagement wants to put the needs and desires of the people before all else and wants to shift the role of their rulers to be public servants working for the people, not overlords. Watching Audience gain influence has caused Engagement to doubt her intentions. For now, Engagement is supporting Audience, but is making preparations to seize control if he sees the need for it.
As Mistress of Coin, Conversions plays a critical role in the kingdom, controlling the royal treasury. It is her seal that approves or rejects funding for all spending; and thanks to her diligent work and smart investment decisions, the great nation of marketing land is prospering. As the jostling for power spills into the public arena, many are calling for a leader that can put the needs of the nation ahead of themselves. Conversions hears that call, but will she act on it?
Who should wear the crown?
We are the public of marketing land, and it is us who decide if it is Content, Engagement or any other factors that are “King”. Marketing is a broad field of expertise, and we all see our own little niche as being the lynchpin that holds it all together.
But is it?
Is there any point to having content that does not draw in an audience, or produces engagement? Do you even know who your audience is and what they really want without data? And what is the point of marketing from a business perspective if it doesn’t deliver conversions?
These factors (and more) are all interconnected, and if you want your marketing campaigns to be successful, you need all of these working seamlessly to connect your brand, product or service with a potential customer.
So, I am going to put forward my recommendation for the true king (though I think of her as a queen)…
Believe me, the word “Synergy” is one of those words that make me eye-roll more than “whatever is king”, but in this case, I think it actually applies. Synergy brings all of these factors together, ensuring that we are able to find the ideal audience, deliver engaging content, establish a meaningful connection, and convert sales or leads for the business.
Successful marketing is an ecosystem where every element has a role to play and removing one (or failing to do one properly) causes the whole thing to fall apart.
So my plea to all marketers: Let’s stop placing our niches in a hierarchy, and start talking about them as vital parts that make up a whole. Or to quote Monty Python:
What do you think? Who is the one true king of marketing land?