Digital Intuition and How to Use It

Marketers, executives and business owners alike face a common challenge. Often times we get so caught up in processes and tactics that we forget that the best way to create demand for a specific product or service is to lead with intuition.

As a digital strategy consultant, I meet with business owners and marketing executives who are passionate about their products or services but have given up when it comes to the daunting task of understanding how to utilize social media, search engine optimization strategies or content marketing tactics. They get caught in the weeds and forget the one thing they know better than anyone – the passion behind their business. Tapping into the passion is the key because passion comes easy to us. Our intuition understands and can communicate passion effortlessly – so it’s important to listen to our intuition. Business owners don’t need formal training on social media – or even training on marketing in general to understand intuition. Intuition is quite literally defined as “knowledge from within”.

steve jobs on intuitionSteve Jobs has a great quote about intuition. He said,  ”Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect, in my opinion. That’s had a big impact on my work. Western rational thought is not an innate human characteristic; it is learned and it is a great achievement of Western civilization. In the villages of India, they never learned it. They learned something else which is in some ways just as valuable, but in other ways is not. That’s the power of intuition and experiential wisdom. Coming back after seven months in Indian villages, I saw the craziness of the western world and its capacity for rational thought. If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things – that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. It’s a discipline; you have to practice it”.

With the same fervor that most people can tell a story about their childhood that influenced them in some way, a business owner should be able to tell the story of their product or service with that same kind of passion. People remember passion. People may not  care what you make as much as WHY you make it. Digital intuition is simply putting what you know inside your heart – online.

For a digital marketing campaign to be successful long term and provide highly sought after brand positioning, give your marketing team the tools they need by looking inside yourself.

Here’s what I mean:

Step 1 : Discover and communicate your passion ONLINE (using Social Media, Content Marketing, YouTube Videos, Search Engine Optimization and E-Mail)

Example: Intuition and passion in social media marketing is being a good friend

Your intuition asks: “If your social media followers are called your Facebook “friends”, shouldn’t you treat them like a friend?”

How do you treat social media followers like real friends? Simple.

View social media and digital marketing as a tool for telling a story about something you are passionate about (in this case, it’s your business). Think about that last sentence carefully. Before you tell me you are passionate about “real estate” or “social media” – save me the rational answer and tell me the WHY answer I’d so much rather hear.  For instance, you love real estate because you love helping people fall in love with their home. That’s what your passionate about and I can relate to that, even though I know nothing about real estate.

Furthermore,  I don’t get off work and call my friends up to explain an algorithm for search engine optimization. I call my friends and tell them about how amazing it was to go on site to the Nike headquarters to rap with their team about search strategy. I also tell them how one of the best parts was the incredible half-off employee store and the amazing Nike museum.

Why do we choose to tell our real friends those stories over the technical, somewhat boring ones? Well, aside from being more interesting, those are stories where anyone can relate – whether they care about digital marketing or not – everyone can relate to the excitement of a fresh pair of kicks or the excitement of walking through the halls of Nike where one of the most successful brands in the world was built. Almost anyone can be inspired by those things.

So when you post on your social media profiles – use your intuition before you post. For social media marketing, post the same way you would if you were telling a friend something funny or inspiring that happened at work. Finding your voice on social media is all about how to “be a friend” to your online community.

Ask yourself: what stories would I share with my friends about my product or service? What kinds of stories would make someone laugh? Am I adding something positive to someone’s day with this photo I’m going to share or am I just adding it to show off a discount code? If you want to gain traction and influence with social media, you have to tell stories in your posts and most importantly you have to act like a true friend.

Step 2: Decide how your company will save the world from a problem

Most products or services solve a problem. In essence, most businesses are in some way helping people have easier, happier, better lives. Think about how your product or service helps others. You can save the world from a problem with your product or service no matter what it is. For example: If you sell toys, you are helping children laugh. This makes parents happy and if people associate your products  with happiness your business will be successful and you will also have done your job as a marketer.

Here’s where I often see digital marketing strategies gone terribly wrong. The toy company below posts pictures  on social media of just the toys themselves and their posts mainly focus on discounts and savings.

The posts shown above did NOT use their intuition.

Your intuition asks: How will our toy company tell a story about happy kids and parents to our social media friends and followers?

Simple.

The answer on Facebook and Twitter could go something like this:

Facebook strategy for social media marketing and toys

Step 3: Google yourself

Your intuition asks: If people can’t find our company’s story when they search for it on Google or YouTube – won’t we be forgettable? People remember stories – but only if they can SEEK and FIND them easily.

Nike Example: Intuition in Search and Content Marketing

One of the insights the Internet Marketing team gained from our Nike search audit was the idea that Nike.com could gain better traction on product pages, get much more traffic, and most importantly convert many more online sales if they told “product stories” with a heavy eye on search optimization. Essentially, this insight leads  to a product page strategy involving “content marketing” as a search marketing tactic. But in reality, it’s simply what our intuition told us. And given that the team was lead by highly experienced and technical search marketers – that’s a collective intuition we are very confident in.

So how exactly could Nike use this insight to sell more products online? Telling stories within your product pages can lead to selling more products . By telling a story that people are interested in, people will share your links, other sites could link to your content from their website and that will help your search rankings. Remember, the goal is not only to be found during a search, but to be remembered, liked and shared.

Here’s an example of the opportunity Nike has. One opportunity which one of their partners seems to understand.

Let’s pretend we are trying to sell the first pair of Air Jordan’s. On the product page, we might tell this story with some written content or even video.

Air Jordans were originally banned from the NBA. Every game, Nike paid the fine for Jordan to wear them! The Air Jordan 1 was first released in 1985 to match the uniform of the Chicago Bulls, the team for which Michael Jordan played. This red and black color-way was later outlawed by the NBA Commissioner. Michael Jordan would wear the shoes anyway, and each time he stepped on the court with the Air Jordan 1 he was  fined five thousand dollars. But like a bad-ass, MJ wore them anyway.  Boom! So goes the birth of the Jordan phenomena.*

*Side Note: How intuitive was Nike with the Air Jordan marketing strategy by the way?! Nike used the story of gifted, talented AND bad-ass Michael Jordan as a marketing tool. The story hinted that the shoes gave an unfair competitive advantage and that whoever wore them had a certain edginess associated with outlaw activities. Outlaw behavior is something ALL kids and teens can relate to in some way. The shoes represented a feeling, yet the shoes themselves were just shoes. By adding meaning, Nike changed history.  Brilliant!

Footlocker.com understands that its important to tell product stories within product pages and optimize them for search as well. Here is a screenshot of a search I did for the Nike/Air Jordan story.

20130806-094410.jpg

Footlocker brings you right to the page that answers your question and therefore comes directly with an answer to your search intent.

Nike also comes up on the first page of Google for this particular search but in position number 4, below Footlocker. Another issue is that when you click on the link, you don’t find the Air Jordan story, instead – you click a page with Jordan’s but nothing to do with the Michael Jordan story.

Perhaps a popular blogger (an influencer in the athletic apparel space) wanted to link to the MJ/Nike story. That blogger would have to link to Footlocker because they might not be able to actually find the Air Jordans story on Nike’s website. Therefore, Nike loses visibility and online influence even though the story itself should belong to Nike.com.

In digital marketing its best to “hang out” with the best people or influencers in your industry as well. They say in life we are the sum of the 5 people we hang out with the most. Online, your brand is the sum of the people posting and sharing your brand message. So make sure your brand spends as much time with those influencers as possible.

We’re always here to help you express your brand story online!

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