Everybody is a marketer. Here’s why:
Look back to your younger days. Have you tried selling lemonade in a school fair? The moment you said yours was better than the other stand’s – that was marketing.
Or let’s say you’ve collected a bunch of comic books over the years, and decided to sell them. You posted them for sale as a collection on social media and told all your friends to share the post. Maybe you’ve put up a banner for a garage sale of vintage items neighborhood collectors might find interesting.
Yes, that’s marketing. That’s why it is just not right that the act of marketing itself is left alone to the marketing department of any business.
Business success happens when a company or entrepreneur manages to secure a great trading relationship between them and customers. If anything, profit is just an indicator.
The true reward of business lies in both entrepreneur and customer feeling satisfied.
In the decades starting now with the #NewNormal, marketing is about to become even more important for doing business. You should be ready to face the future with a strategy that fits this perspective to success.
In doing so however, you’ll find that some key points in marketing are just rehashed ideas. Don’t worry, it’s not a scam. Or at least not all of it.
Marketing itself is a tale as old as time, and some principles never actually change. It just grows and morphs into new forms with new appendages the way a redwood tree keeps growing.
How do you master this and create your strategic strength? Let’s first make a little trip down memory lane.
Timeless facts in the boom of digital
A decade or so ago in 2008, Facebook was just a glorified school directory over the internet.
Fast forward to 2020. It’s now a $70.7 billion titan that looms head and shoulders in the sea of not just social networks, but the entire internet. Only a few other names can look Facebook down or eye to eye.
Have you ever wondered how that happened?
In the first decade of the 21st century a lot of things happened not just in the tech world, but everywhere. After the Y2K scare at the turn of the century people began to embrace the digital age, which then transitioned into post-digital, the stage we are in now.
Also in 2008, marketing icon Seth Godin gave an insightful marketing workshop with lessons that still resound to this day.
He proposed several theories that proved true in the case of Facebook, social media, and many successful brands. Yes, even post-COVID-19.
First, he believed that the first order of success is connecting with customers.
Second, he said you should talk to the right people.
Third, tell an authentic story, live an authentic life, and let people connect to you.
A lot of successful companies did those things. Some may not even be aware they just followed Seth Godin’s new principles for marketing.
But one thing’s for sure: marketing is evolving, and you need to catch up.
Clearing up the Clutter for Creative Communication
In line with Seth’s three objectives, we agree that connecting with customers is indeed the tallest order of business. Without customers of course, there is no business. No sales or trade, no business.
Marketing is a fundamental part of business. It is the very practice that connects customers to your product and your business entity.
Think about flea markets. The very fact people put up stalls there is because they want customers to know that they are selling something. Sellers put up displays so people can see their products. That’s already marketing.
However, same as in flea markets, the number of competitors just keeps growing. Calling the attention of your customers can get very difficult, so you need to stand out.
In our highly digital world, the internet has become the new flea market and competition has reached a saturation point. There’s just too many sellers. Or are there?
To connect to customers effectively, you should know first who your customers are. Next, you find out how to reach them. Most importantly, you should know how to make lasting connections.
So you know your business like the back of your hand. But how well do you know your customers? It’s a significant part of creating a marketing strategy. Identify who will buy your products by creating customer personas, conducting interviews, surveys, and research through various means.
MAKING THE CONNECTION
Technology has made marketing a lot easier… for everyone. Even your competition has it a lot easier now than they would have before. That said, you’d want to take advantage of specific things, which can be rounded up in three things:
1) A unique value proposition
2) Choosing the most effective channels
3) Saying the right words
Your value proposition should make your customers not only feel good – they should feel satisfied. Those are two different things. Feeling good means you make them feel positive about your brand. Making them feel satisfied means delivering an experience that solves their problem.
Choosing the most effective channels means you don’t throw yourself all over the place for visibility. You could be selling the world’s juiciest burger but putting up an ad in a vegan page isn’t an ideal move.
Many business owners and even marketers are sometimes unaware that their customers are actually talking about them. So make the first move and reach out – talk to your customers.
Your ideal customers will tend to group up in places where their interests converge. It could be a blog, a forum, or a social network group. Maybe it’s a regularly-scheduled convention or gathering.
Wherever your ideal market is, be there – or make a place for them instead.
When you say the right words – that is, to deliver a concise message, you bring clarity for your customers. You answer a question they’re asking with appropriate content, or provide a solution to a problem they presented. Your product should prove to be the “right answer” to the “right question” to create the ideal transaction.
The chain should look like this:
Get the right customers in the right channels, and say the right message (content) in the right way. This way, customers get maximum value for their purchase of your product. Moreover, they buy-in to your company’s persona – and with the right motivation, can even become your brand evangelists.
Once you’ve got the process right, you’ll be surprised you’ve already covered two of the three principles mentioned above. Let’s move on to the last item.
Telling the story right
Your branding affects the way people perceive your company. This in turn can also affect their purchasing patterns. That’s why your content marketing strategy should be able to promote both your product and brand image.
Take the context of “telling an authentic story and living an authentic life” and incorporate it into your business practice. People value genuine experiences and genuine messages.
Data sourced from: Cohn & Wolfe “Authentic Brands 2014: The Age of Authenticity”
Stick to what you say your brand delivers. Adjust to the needs of the market. Relate to your customers when addressing their needs. Stand with their advocacies. Business is a human to human activity. That’s how you make lasting connections with your customers and increase them.
As mentioned earlier, a successful relationship between businesses and customers can create brand evangelists out of the latter. They are probably the most powerful symbol of your story’s authenticity.
Take for example athletic wear giant Nike and their “Better For It” campaign in 2015. In the wake of issues that still depict women as frail figures, the campaign solidified Nike’s empowerment advocacy. Their continued support of women everywhere makes the brand an influential partner for many organisations and customer groups.
There’s a missing key, however, to ensuring that your business is future-ready:
A unique company culture.
The real magic happens with a real purpose
Traditionally, business owners leave the marketing to the marketing guys. They’re given a budget, they make proposals, and they execute everything. While this may have proven good in decades past, it is essentially an obsolete model in today’s world.
It’s called a silo mindset, and it’s a dangerous thing to keep. Why?
Today many organisations fail in executing changes and concepts because even their leadership won’t buy into their own ideas. The best way to remove the silo mindset is by creating a culturally-conditioned process that restructures perspectives from top to bottom.
You might ask: how does this make a marketer out of our people?
It’s simple in words but difficult in practice. Adhering to a culturally-conditioned process is to set up your business to make every member accountable, motivated, and participative.
Successfully transforming people’s minds to deliver a satisfying and unique-to-you customer experience humanises your business. They begin to market the company ideals as persons, and that is a product no one can steal from you.
In the post-digital age where clutter, creativity, and genuine human connections are saturated, success lies with adaptive strategic strength.
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