Making Your Marketing Heroic

Making Your Marketing Heroic

Why comics? And why Comic Con? In light of its explosive growth and popularity, one obvious and very important dimension is what Comic Con’s ongoing presence says about contemporary culture and consumers. For no one who is involved with or interested in Comic Con can fail to appreciate the passion, imagination and creativity on display – on the parts of the producers as well as the fans. Cosplay alone should tell us about the dynamic transformation that so-called consumers have undergone in recent years. Just ask the major recording labels.

Regarding all forms of new media, much has been made of attention deficit. About online gaming, social media and graphic novels critics frequently contend that the influence of these has been uniformly negative and that attention deficit disorders have grown proportionally as the prevalence of new media has increased. But what if sometimes it’s not a deficit at all? What if it’s, in fact, boredom or impatience with predictable content? or an unwillingness to sit through yet another spectacle of Beginning-Middle-End when the outcome was already determined by the single frame? Is it attention deficit that makes graphic novels so popular now? or is their popularity a recognition that their multiple and complex framing and invitation to condense and read complexly BETWEEN frames are suited to the intense and HIGHLY focused energies of contemporary readers? And the fact is, they are better suited because from one perspective, today’s readers are potentially (an important discrimination) more informed, more demanding than any previous group of readers in history. There is potentially more information at the tip of a finger than any one reader can ever process. And the resulting message from that reader? Simple: “Don’t waste my time telling me something I already know but instead allow me to skip around, discovering and creating as I proceed within my own sequence.”

Put another way, the message for marketers from Comic Con is: Make your content be at least as rich, complex, varied and imaginative as your potential customers are. For if we accept it as fundamental that adult humans seek above all else to be able to exercise their faculties at large in a complex world, then it follows that no one struggles through the travails of childhood in order to be spoon-fed as an adult. And if, as a marketer, you are confident in the quality of your product or service, then assume your potential customers to be as creative in their appreciation of that product or service as you and your company were in developing it.

Because form is everything. And the form in the sequential art of comics is participatory. Another way of put-ting this: there is – formally – an enormous DIY element in Comic Con. The question is: why is that so appeal-ing to contemporary readers (read: customers)? One reason may be that we are quintessentially incomplete, the only animals who are… that is, unfinished. It may seem at times like restlessness, but equally, on the positive side, it may also be an irrepressible urge to explore and, being incomplete, we have all that possibility to – frame by frame – reveal and/or string together into new or unanticipated results.

In other words, instead of “marketing AT” your customers, market WITH. “Invite” your customers to fill in the blanks, to jump ahead, sideways, back, to PLAY with the content.

Why? Because in doing so, customers not only learn about themselves but equally, learn about YOU while enjoying learning about themselves. And there is always the possibility that the answers uncovered in either or both of those reflexes may be the most gratifying of all – and that in that new-found identification the perfect space for your product or service is uncovered.

There are many insights to be taken away from Comic Con, but foremost has to be the understanding that today’s consumers are the most sophisticated in history and that communicating with them must be equally sophisticated. We all need to understand that – in the contemporary world – if we underestimate our customers, there will always be someone else who won’t.

The AMI Digital Summit: The Flight Crew Heads to Chicago

The AMI Digital Summit: The Flight Crew Heads to Chicago

The Flight Crew Heads to Chicago for a Digital Summit Our Flight Crew makes penguins fly from the East Coast most days, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love spreading our wings every once in a while–especially when it’s to hone our skills so we can become even smarter,...

Grassroots Marketing

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We recently brought a grassroots marketing campaign to life in Central Park for the family-owned snack company John Wm. Macy’s. Our experience got us thinking about the core aspects of grassroots marketing and audience engagement, and what it takes to create a...

Vision Creative Group attends the 2015 Shopper Marketing Conference & Expo

The 2015 Shopper Marketing Conference & Expo was recently held in Minneapolis, MN, and Vision Creative Group was there! The conference is the largest shopper marketing event in the U.S. and was organized and facilitated by the Path to Purchase Institute, a leader in shopper marketing.

The Institute provides the tools, the knowledge and the community necessary to integrate and execute against today’s shopper marketing demands.  The event was hosted and sponsored by industry leaders such as Coca-Cola, Heineken, Oracle, Kellogg’s and many more and showcased the latest in technology and the most recent advances in the path to purchase and shopper marketing.

During the 3 day event, VCG attended symposiums and seminars that included a wide range of exciting topics around the shopper marketing experience, the path to purchase, best practices in displays, the future of circulars, shopper trends and research. It was a great learning experience, and we cannot wait to share this valuable information with the rest of the VCG team and our clients. We look forward to increasing our involvement with this event and future opportunities with the Path to Purchase Institute!

While there were many exciting discussions, we found several particularly relevant and interesting, one of which was the future of circulars. Data shows that 61% of consumers always read the circular they receive and of those 61%, 87% read and use the entire circular from front to back. Circular shoppers are valuable, spending more per store visit than their fellow shoppers who do not receive the circular.

That said, the overall take away was that while printed circulars are not “going away” anytime soon, there are definitely opportunities around delivering this information in a digital format that consumers are thirsty for. Research finds that the way Baby Boomers would like to receive the information delivered to them differs from that of Gen-X or Millennials, and the concept of “personalized” or custom circulars is not a too distant reality. So all in all, there was great data around circular loyalty, digital circular opportunities and info suggesting that print circs are here for a while!

Another discussion of high interest for us was the data surrounding social shoppers, their behaviors, tendencies and patterns. A couple of great statistics that we learned were: Whom do social shoppers trust for recommendations? 21% trust brand messaging, 20% trust retailer messaging while 54% trust friends, family and co-workers. And, add to that the fact that 1/3 of social shoppers check their social networks while they are shopping! There are so many opportunities in this social shopper activation space!

All in all a great experience, one that we look forward to doing more of! We encourage you to visit to gain more information about this exciting organization.