13 Minute Read

“The Higher the Neckline, the Higher the Hair” – Marketing Edition

“Higher neckline, higher hair,” someone typed in a Facebook group – imparting wisdom that transcends fashion and delves deep into the art of marketing. In today’s ever-evolving landscape, it’s not just about the dollars spent on marketing and advertising; it’s about the subtler art of perception management. Some brands can afford to take the hit of a low-rent image by advertising on platforms like Twitter (or should I say, ‘X’), but larger brands must tread carefully to avoid the PR faux pas of being seen as ‘slumming it.’

The Elevated Neckline of Marketing: High Barrier to Entry

First off, let’s talk about high necklines in the marketing world: products and services with a high barrier to entry. These are your top-shelf items – think luxury cars, complex SaaS products, or anything with a price tag that makes your wallet weep. Just like a high neckline demands an equally high hairstyle to maintain fashion equilibrium, high-barrier products require a more elaborate marketing do.

Why? Because selling a high-end product isn’t just about slapping a price tag on it and calling it a day. It’s about crafting a narrative, a brand image, a lifestyle. It’s about convincing your customer that they’re not just buying a product; they’re investing in an experience, a status symbol, a piece of the moon. And let’s be honest, a simple tweet isn’t going to cut it. You need the full marketing salon treatment: PR campaigns, influencer endorsements, maybe even a skywriting plane or two. Go big or go home.

A high neckline demands a hairstyle that balances the look; a product or service with a high barrier to entry requires a more substantial marketing effort. This can be due to higher costs, complex application processes, or intricate usage requirements. The marketing for such products needs to be more thoughtful, addressing potential customers’ concerns and clearly communicating the value proposition.

The Scoop Neck of Marketing: Low Barrier to Entry

The situation with Twitter post-Musk’s takeover illustrates a unique case study. The controversy and changes have led to a significant drop in advertising revenue, as many high-profile advertisers have withdrawn. However, for some, particularly e-commerce retailers, the lower cost of advertising on Twitter now presents an opportunity. These brands, which typically have lower barriers to entry and are known for quick sales or affordable pricing, can afford to take risks on a platform like Twitter, where the advertising costs have become more budget-friendly.

These are the scoopnecks of the marketing world: products with a low barrier to entry. These are your everyday items – the toothpaste, the t-shirts, the apps that turn your face into a potato. These products are like the jeans-and-a-tee of fashion: accessible, easy, and, frankly, a bit of a relief after all that high-neckline effort. (However, you do need a LOT more exposure, which is a whole other blog post.)

With a lower barrier to entry, you don’t have to break the bank (or your creative spirit) on marketing. Sure, you still need to put in the work, but it’s more about efficiency and smart targeting than a full-blown Broadway production. This is where Twitter comes in – or should I say, the social media platform formerly known as the bird app. While I won’t agree that any platform is fine to advertise on, regardless of its societal impact, I understand trying to save a buck or two.

Twitter: The Clearance Rack of Social Media Advertising

Since Musk’s takeover, Twitter has become something of a clearance rack in the social media shopping mall. With the platform’s ad business taking a nosedive, it’s become the perfect hunting ground for bargain-hunting e-commerce retailers. Why?

Because when you’re selling something as straightforward as a potato-face app, you don’t need to worry about the ritzy glitz of high-fashion advertising. You just need a platform where you can shout, “Hey, look at this cool thing!”

The big brands might be giving Twitter the side-eye, worried about the PR equivalent of a fashion faux pas. But the smaller, scrappier brands can afford to take a gamble on a platform that’s going through its Ayn Rand phase because, at the end of the day, they’re selling easy, cheap, fast.

The key is to balance your marketing efforts with the barrier to entry of your product. High-value B2B solutions, luxury goods, or complex SaaS products might require more intensive marketing campaigns, focusing on brand reputation, detailed explanations of benefits, and targeted outreach. On the other hand, low-cost e-commerce products can risk relying on platforms like the current state of Twitter to quickly reach a broad audience without a significant investment.

The Couture of Marketing: High-Stake B2B Sales

In the world of high-stake B2B sales, where multiple stakeholders scrutinize every move, aligning with the right software providers is akin to choosing the perfect outfit for the Met Gala – you don’t want to end up on the ‘worst dressed’ list. These brands need to invest not just in marketing but in crafting a perception that resonates with their discerning audience. They need to be a high neckline with just the right hair height – sophisticated, thoughtful, and strategically impeccable.

The Ready-to-Wear of Marketing: AI and Cost-Effective Tools

On the flip side, there’s a growing trend among some brands to opt for the marketing equivalent of off-the-rack – using budget tools like AI to replace quality marketing professionals. While these tools offer a cost-effective solution, they can sometimes miss the mark on nuanced aspects like brand perception and stakeholder engagement. It’s like trying to pair a haute couture gown with flip-flops – sure, it’s practical, but does it make the right statement? Now we don’t have an issue with AI at Red Branch Media — in fact, we’ve created some amazing policies for ourselves and our clients. However, they are dependent on human interaction, input, nuance, guidance, oversight, and in-depth research and editing. Imagine an AI advertising tool selecting the best value for your advertising dollars. There’s little way to avoid it selecting a platform that may not jibe with your corporate values.

Buuuuut, that may not matter, because Forrester says, CMOs are starting to care less about values ANYWAY.

Shift from Purpose to Practicality

The Forrester predictions for 2024, indicating a shift from purpose-driven to practicality-driven marketing strategies, tie into this discussion. As brands navigate economic pressures and cultural divides, marketing strategies might become more focused on practical benefits and ROI rather than social justice or ESG concerns. This shift could impact where and how companies choose to advertise, emphasizing efficiency and direct returns over brand alignment with social causes.

Forrester’s 2024 Forecast: Practicality Over Purpose

Echoing this sentiment, Forrester’s predictions for 2024 suggest a paradigm shift in B2C marketing – from purpose-driven to practicality-led strategies. Mike Proulx highlights that in the face of economic pressures and cultural divides, CMOs are increasingly focusing on practical investments like AI and data privacy, possibly sidelining social justice and ESG concerns. This shift could redefine how companies approach their marketing, potentially dialing down on purposeful messaging in favor of more straightforward, results-driven campaigns.

The Culture War and Brand Positioning

But here’s the rub: as we approach a polarized 2024, brands face the dilemma of whether to speak out on social and cultural issues (newsflash, I think they should.) The backlash against certain brand campaigns shows that taking a stance can be a double-edged sword. Proulx advises that brands already defined by their social values should stay the course while others should weigh the risks carefully. It’s a delicate balance, like choosing the right accessory – too much, and it’s overwhelming; too little, and it’s forgettable.

The Big Question: How Will This Shape Future Advertising?

So, will this shift change how we advertise?

Will advice like this create a landscape where brands think they can advertise anywhere, devoid of concern for public perception?

Is staying silent on issues a statement in its own right?

The answer isn’t straightforward. Personally, I think pulling back on societal issues in a year that, at least in the United States, is BOUND to be fraught with issues someone needs to take a stand on, is effing ludicrous and wildly irresponsible. But unfortunately for them, I don’t represent all the brands in the world (also going through some super real ish right now that demands education and information, and hello, Gen Z has been telling us just how important values are to them AND they are entering the workforce and the phase where they start spending money in earnest, so this is very short-sighted but I digress) so I cannot advise them BUT just like fashion, marketing is about knowing your brand, understanding your audience, and striking the right balance between being bold and being wise. It’s about choosing your platform and message as carefully as you’d choose your outfit for a high-profile event.

Choose wisely y’all.

Dressing Your Brand Wisely

In the end, it all circles back to Mom’s advice. Whether your brand is a high neckline or a scoop neck, the key is to style it thoughtfully. Understand the dynamics of your platform, the perceptions of your audience, and the nuances of current trends.

As marketers, we’re the stylists of the business world, and it’s our job to ensure our brands are always best dressed, whether they’re gracing the runway of high-stake B2B interactions or the everyday streets of B2C engagement. Stay stylish, stay strategic, and most importantly, listen to your mom – she knows a thing or two about making a statement. 😉👠📊

And there you have it – a lesson in marketing, courtesy of some mom’s fashion advice. Whether you’re dressing up a luxury brand or keeping it casual with a low-cost product, remember: the right strategy can make all the difference. Just like the right hairstyle. 😉👗📈