Bryan Kramer

Posted on January 25, 2012 by Bryan Kramer 8

The New Marketer’s Adhesive: What Makes It Stick

The other night I was helping my son glue his green army men back together. We had several glues to choose from, and picking the right one for the task at hand was more difficult than we’d bargained for. I make big business decisions every day, right? And here I was, staring at a 2nd grader, stressing over which adhesive to use.

I was . . . (wait for it) . . . stuck. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

What does this have to do with marketing? Well, think about the beginning of advertising. It was all pretty basic back in the day. In the Mad Men era, a marketer’s glue was TV and radio—that’s what they used to get the message to stick.

In my personal opinion, most glue eventually fails because the wrong type is used in the wrong situation. Now, relate that to the business world. It’s a challenge for any business to find the one glue that won’t fail—that won’t “unstick.”

This begs the question, what is the right business glue for the right situation? Bear with me here, but let’s think about the four main categories of glue.

Credit: Transitions,

Non-reacting. White glue and rubber cement are part of this family. They don’t respond to anything other than air. In other words, they need time to dry and form a bond. In marketing, same deal. You may be sick to death of waiting for the glue to dry, but getting your message to stick with your audience is sometimes simply a matter of time. In fact, when you’re convinced that your message has been overplayed and beat to death, that’s when your audience is just starting to hear it. Sometimes the best marketing glue is simply having the patience to wait for your audience to finally get what you’re saying. Eventually, the glue dries and the message sticks.

Reacting. Adhesives in this category usually react to another component (radiation or heat). In other words, they need an agent to help them get their job done and be effective. Two words: Social media. Think you’re going to create a Facebook page and get your message to stick? Not likely. But what if you establish a presence on Facebook and Google+, connect with like-minded people and groups on LinkedIn, share your industry expertise through your blog and tweet about it on Twitter? Now you’ve got some components working together—and this synergistic effort is what’s going to drive your message home.

Natural. This type of glue is made from organic sources, like vegetable matter, starch or natural resins. It’s the old “water and flour” kind of paste. With all the methods of digital communication we have at our fingertips, sometimes going back to the basics of organic marketing can make the most sense. Simply put, organic marketing is about seamlessly fitting product promotion into someone’s daily life. It’s word of mouth. It’s creating brand evangelists who sell your products for you. It’s about attracting organic traffic to your website—users who come because they have a solid interest in what you offer. And like anything organic, organic traffic doesn’t happen instantly. It takes time to grow into something healthy and with longevity.

Synthetic. This kind of glue is a combination of two or more parts, whether by design or by natural process. It’s epoxy and acrylic. It’s about taking several components and bringing them together to form something more complex—a super glue of sorts. It’s like taking tools such as behavioral targeting, personalization, social and mobile and combining them with the perfect campaign for the right company with the right message and creating an adhesive that is fail-proof. This kind of glue is a marketer’s dream—and it takes clever strategy and remarkable creativity from a branding agency that understands what it means to make the message stick.

Key Takeaway: Today, the marketing world is much more complex and there are more glues available. It’s like me staring at that green army man, wondering which adhesive would make things “stick” the best. It’s about applying the right glue in the right situation.


Other related articles:
Taste Graph Trumps Social Graph
Marketer’s New Years Resolutions for 2012
Top Five 2012 Predictions: Year of the Digital Marketer. Are you Prepared?

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  • Cheryl Durzy

    I was at an interesting conference last week that was discussing “experience” marketing. Example: Nike + Apple Run, Northface app with trailheads, and the best in my opinion…Charmin “Sit or Squat” guide to public bathrooms. A good example of synthetic ….? PS, I crazy clued my fingers together last week working on my daughter’s solar system project. What would be the marketing equivelant of that? :-)

    • Bryan Kramer

      Sounds like a great conference, which one was it? Nice job on the crazy glue incident. The marketing equivalent could be skipping the planning and going straight to implementation.

  • Carter

    Great article Bryan! I loved the story you shared about you and your son, and the analogies you use with it. I love your articles, every single one of them teaches me something. Thank you!

    • Bryan Kramer

      Thank you! We’ll keep em’ coming :)

  • Chris Boak

    Use the Right Tool for the Job.


    Use Duct Tape.

    • Bryan Kramer

      Ah…tape and glue, sounds like another great blog article. Of course duct tape is the king!

  • Scott

    Bryan you are a legend
    When are we catching up
    Cheers big man

    • Bryan Kramer

      Thanks Scott. Hope all is well in Australia. Let’s catchup soon!