“Something is happening in marketing.”
That something, according to Visa senior vice president of North America marketing Lara Hood Balazs, is how marketers are responding to the convergence of physical and digital.
[Balazs is attending VentureBeat’s GrowthBeat Summit, June 1 and 2 in Boston.]
And that means new products, like Visa Checkout, require thinking across both realms.
Visa Checkout is an instant-buy option for use on your computer, laptop, or smartphone. You set up an account, enter your credit card, and then pay with a password and username, not unlike other digital pay systems. Interestingly, you can use any major credit card or debit card in your setup, not just Visa’s.
But, like most digital products, its utility is highly abstract. You can explain it, but don’t be surprised if potential users respond with eye-glazing.
The trick, Balazs indicated, involves a balanced mix of real and digital marketing.
“When we launched Visa Checkout, we first did an innovation summit,” she told me. First, they got influencers — bloggers and others — interested through an in-person presentation, and then the marketing moved to news stories. Short online videos showed the benefits of Visa Checkout.
Balazs said the bar these days “is so high for marketers,” who have to keep their campaigns “compelling” to stay above the noise and to make an impact in those first few, impressionable seconds on TV, online, or in your email. And you have to get it right on social media, or those networks will soon let you know.
It’s sounds like high-performance marketers need to keep hitting the same high marks as, say, professional athletes — like Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, whom Visa employed in a TV ad to catch footballs with one hand and pay with Visa Checkout in the other, emphasizing both his and Visa’s one-handedness.
They need to show the benefits, roll it out through layers of influence, use real-world presentations and demonstrations of value, and keep it compelling with an immediate impact.
In other words, you might say, market digital but keep it real.