Digital marketing is good. So are books. Zuckerberg’s book club could teach us a thing or two about both.

I love to read. Even more so, I like holding books in my hands. I dislike the Kindle, and I’m an evangelist for the importance of turning a paper page.

So the irony that I coordinate planning, programming and testing websites isn’t lost on me.

In fact, I love my work. And I love doing it at KW2, where we on the digital team redesign websites, optimize for search, run PPC campaigns and help clients with technical solutions to their digital challenges. We do it all and we do it well.

But it’s important not to forget that “traditional” forms of media can still resonate with an audience. Even excite them. In fact, human beings still read books. You heard it here first, folks! And that’s how Mark Zuckerberg wants to unite us in 2015.

His global book club’s pledge to read a book every other week in 2015 recruited almost 140,000 joiners in its first 48 hours, and the momentum just keeps growing. His track record shows we can count on him to carry it through: in the past, he’s learned to speak Mandarin, eaten vegetarian (unless he killed the animal himself) and worn a tie every day.

The Atlantic called him ‘the new Oprah,’ and for good reason: the club’s first book sold out on Amazon within 36 hours. That Oprah moniker earns your eye roll, yes. But it’s important to recognize what this means for anyone thinking about how to connect with an audience.

“Books allow you to fully explore a topic and immerse yourself in a deeper way than most media today,” Zuckerberg wrote. “I’m looking forward to shifting more of my media diet towards reading books.” Zuckerberg might be a punk in a hoodie (that’s what my father affectionately calls him), but he’s hitting the mark here. Even Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger make the time in their schedules to read upwards of 250 books a year, crediting their unquenchable thirst for knowledge an important part of their continued economic success. I’m no billionaire, but I definitely know that when I curl up with my favorite Russo, it’ll stick with me much longer than a banner ad or an Instagram photo.

Our “media diet” should nourish us, just like our food diets. As consumers, we deserve information that serves us well. If you sell a product, inspire a change in behavior or motivate charitable giving, people will only connect with your message if and when you’ve earned their attention. Whether it’s a guerrilla marketing event, a print ad or a radio spot, good advertising should be compelling, real and meet your clients’ and your clients’ customer’s needs. Period.

Digital marketing matters. Duh. Your customers matter more. Those customers may still want books. That means ‘traditional’ advertising matters. We’ve got you covered there, too. We’ll let our print work speak for itself.



3 advertising tools to connect with customers in 2015

Entertainment has come to the forefront in new ways. And therefore, so too has advertising. Regardless of company size or budget, it’s important to stay on top of every tool in the advertising tool kit. How can you spread brand awareness? Tell stories. Listen. And join the conversation. Here are three advertising tactics to keep in mind during 2015.

Telling longer stories through video. In an age of bite-sized content through Vine, Instagram and Pinterest, some brands produce ads that fit faster and shorter media. But with the trend towards fast and short, longer-form ads still work. YouTube reported that its top ten ads of 2014 have an average length of three minutes. Taking minutes instead of seconds to develop a story around your product or brand can garner attention like nothing else. Last year, World Cup fans watched over one billion minutes of World Cup ads alone on YouTube. Beats by Dre packed a punch with its ad that chronicled “the game before the game,” exposing the human side of global sports figures. Thailand mobile operator True move-H has inspired millions globally with its powerful stories of giving unconditionally. Lesson learned? In this age of “instant” entertainment, consider an online video presence to tell longer stories and make deeper connections.

Keeping an ear to social media. Remember the iconic “Oreo moment” a couple years back, during the Super Bowl blackout of 2013? Real-time marketing is not new, but now it’s becoming a requirement for some brands today. Brand newsrooms – teams on-hand to instantly react – are becoming more popular to harness the “It’s happening now!” moments. Nationally- or globally-televised events are not the only opportunities either. Being always-on is time-consuming and difficult to do well. But it means you can foster good will among a customer base, like Citi Bike and JCrew did for a fallen biker. Social listening and reacting even in small ways, is customer service with incredible potential.

The new social media. Snapchat. Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp. Viber. Tango. Kik. Even Vine. They’re all at the forefront of messaging apps. If mobile is the new frontier, then messaging apps are the covered wagons bravely trekking ahead. BI Intelligence reports messaging apps as the fastest growing category within mobile apps. These apps highlight the divide between social networks for communicating with family, and more private options for communicating with friends on-the-go. The tough part is staying in the loop in terms of brand presence. These are new platforms, unsaturated with ads. But they’re not necessarily off-limits to brands. Virgin Mobile does a nice job with this by soliciting already Vine-famous users to “take over” their Vine channel for a period of time. These users create content that appeals to a captive audience, and Virgin Mobile spreads further awareness of its brand. First, you need to investigate your target audience’s presence on the platform. Ensure that social interactions on the network relate to your business goals. Then carefully strategize how you will interact with your target audience for your brand to join the conversation and spread brand awareness.

Staying up to date on the latest advertising options helps your brand stay authentic and relatable to your customer base. These days, that often means entertaining to remain memorable and valuable to your audience. Which outlets are right for 2015? Let your budget and your audience decide.