January 2021 Internet Roundup: All Eyes on Inauguration Day

We all knew that the infamy of 2020 wouldn’t turn into a pumpkin, as it were, at midnight on January 1, 2021. But isn’t there something fresh and hopeful about a new year, even though we know it’s primarily psychological?

We’re not out of the woods yet, but things are looking up. And now that the holidays are over, can it just be spring already?! K, thanks.

In the meantime, here’s what rocked our socks this month…

The brilliant marketing strategy of Inauguration Day festivities

Not sure about you, but we had the Inauguration Day livestream pulled up on another screen while working on January 20...and then couldn’t stop watching even into the evening. Whichever side of the aisle you find yourself on, being able to watch the swearing-in of our country’s highest elected officials is a wonder in itself. But as marketers, we were struck by the genius of the day.

We could talk about the messaging of Inauguration Day fashion at length, but one thing that struck us was the messaging position of the evening program that replaced the inaugural ball. Breaking with tradition was by necessity, but it continued the theme and variation of the day--a call for unity among all segments of the American people.

Positioning the average American as the hero of the day

It was a brilliant marketing strategy--sincere, authentic, on-brand with the theme of unity, and all about the “customer” (the American people). The program was not about the new president, his party, or even the people who voted for him. The program was centered around the stories and songs of people from all over the spectrum of our population, giving voice to normal Joes (sorry, had to) and Janes that make up “we the people.”

That’s what the best, most effective marketing does: it positions the customer or audience as the hero and the brand as the trusted guide (we’re big StoryBrand fans over here at PMM, btw). Just like nobody likes people who talk only about themselves, customers don’t buy from brands that are similarly narcissistic.

Leveraging aspirational identity

If an outsider’s window into the current climate of the US were just Inauguration Day festivities and the evening’s program, they’d have a rosy vision of where we currently stand. But we Americans know that the unity and solidarity projected on Inauguration Day is the vision and hope for our future, not our present reality. The evening programming beautifully displayed the aspirational identity--not what we currently are but what we aspire to be.

In marketing, you’re selling a product or service that solves a problem. But what does life look like when the problem is solved? How will your customer feel? What will your customer’s life look like when their problem is solved? Projecting an aspirational identity shows customers what their life could look like once their problem is solved. That vision plays to their emotions (the real engine behind our decision making), giving them the intrinsic motivation to trust you and buy.

At this point in the game, the American people don’t need to make a decision between two competing “brands.” What we need now is buy-in to what we’ve got so that we can make the vision of unity and cooperation a reality.

“Proven Website Marketing Tactics: 1 large and 5 small changes that got big results” from Marketing Sherpa

Sometimes the best marketing strategy is really simple. It could be a matter of rephrasing your call to action (CTA) buttons or the sentence above the fold on your website’s home page. Sometimes you have to “kill your darlings” and get rid of that clever or cute phrasing you came up with for the sake of better performance. And the beauty of digital marketing? It’s easy to experiment and revise as needed.

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