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One Weird Trick for Every Problem
There are literally 50 million one weird trick pitches on the web. Some of these weird tricks cure belly fat. Others will teach you a language without memorization in less than a couple weeks. Still, others will boost testosterone.
As Slate wrote about this time last year:
“You’ve seen them. Peeking out from sidebars, jiggling and wiggling for your attention, popping up where you most expect them: those “One Weird Trick” ads. These crudely drawn Web advertisements promise easy tricks to reduce your belly fat, learn a new language, and boost your credit score by 217 points.”
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Marketing Tricks for Gains Without Pain
These tricks seem so easy – they promise the world with no risk. As marketers, we know such pitches are complete swindles. To our credit, as we’re browsing the web, we avoid them, and yet in our professional work, in a way we can’t seem to see, we are drawn to them: Marketing is forever in search of a magic bullet.
Genuine content marketing, search marketing, nurture streams and email newsletters – the variety that actually provide useful news rather than a veiled sales pitch – are to be avoided. Businesses tend avoid such tried and true tactics that everyone knows about already – because they didn’t offer enough short term return. In the meantime, these same companies might spend years searching for a magic bullet, with nothing to show for it at the end.
Marketing is Both Art and Science
There’s nothing wrong with experimenting, but what marketing – and PR pros – ought to focus on is building systems. Systems based on repeatable processes that follow a pattern that can be improved, adjusted and continuously improves over time. Consistency is the single most valuable attribute in content marketing, for example.
Process is not at odds with creativity: Marketing is a mix of art and science. Process should never be so rigorous as to disavow experimentation, intuition, or merely a creative idea. The things that go “viral” seemingly overnight, are often weeks, months or even years in the making.
A Million Reasons to go Viral
The allure of “one weird trick” for marketing is hard to ignore. There’s always tips from Buzzfeed on how to go viral. And when those don’t work, perhaps a post that will actually show you how to go viral will blow your mind. A favorite flavor of viral however, comes in the form of a long list of tips – and that long list is critical to proving the value of an endless pursuit.
The Slate post sums up some genuine psychology behind the inability to resist the urge for one weird trick:
“Research on persuasion shows the more arguments you list in favor of something, regardless of the quality of those arguments, the more that people tend to believe it,” Norton says. “Mainstream ads sometimes use long lists of bullet points – people don’t read them, but it’s persuasive to know there are so many reasons to buy.” OK, but if more is better, then why only one trick? “People want a simple solution that has a ton of support.”
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