10 Keys To Unlock Better Marketing

I believe we can market better. In fact, I believe we can get to the point where marketing isn’t even “marketing”, it is a conversation.

Credit: Fast Co

At it’s core, marketing and advertising are about manipulating emotions. If it were just about informing the consumer of how wonderful a product is, automobile ads would be some photos and statistics; not the picturesque cityscapes or off-road adventures of which we’re accustom.

In that effort, I want to explore 10 keys to make marketing better. No matter your size, industry, product, or customer, I believe we can collectively improve by implementing these ideas into our marketing campaigns.

1. Understand Your Customer Intimately

Your customer persona — that is, the fictional representation of your ideal customer — should be your best friend. You should know your customers likes, dislikes, preferences, biases, and needs better than anyone. Only then should you create a plan to market and sell to them.

2. Have a Plan, and Plan to Change

Marketing without a plan is a plan to fail. You would not run a marathon without knowing the route, start line, finish line, mile markers, and water stations. That said, understand that your strategy will need to adapt to ever-changing, and unpredictable, factors.

3. Don’t Be Everything To Everyone

“More of Everything” Was a popular slogan for a home improvement store. It is not possible to have more of everything. Nor is it practical. Find your niche. Excel. Build a reputation around the superior service you provide around your area of expertise.

4. Respect Your Customer’s Intelligence

Customers are entering the buying process with more information and product knowledge than some salespeople. Respect their effort to learn more and don’t dumb down your marketing. If you are appealing to the lowest common denominator, don’t be surprised when you attract high-maintenance customers.

5. Be Helpful

Don’t be afraid to get into the weeds to help a customer. Provide resources, give answers, share your expertise. You will attract better customers, more qualified customers, and improve word of mouth — the ultimate sales and marketing tool.

6. Under Promise & Over Deliver

Self explanatory.

7. Reduce Friction At Every Touchpoint

Don’t be a company that makes it hard to reach a human. Huge entities (Facebook, Google, Apple) go to great lengths to increase the distance between the consumer and their support staff. Zappos does the opposite.

8. Delight At Every Touchpoint

Every touchpoint is an opportunity to delight. Analyze your transactional messages (“Thank You” and “Your Order Confirmation” emails, for example); follow up after a prospect reaches out to the sales or support team; send a memento on the anniversary of their purchase.

9. Walk Through Your Own Front Door

Often staffers approach their business the same every day. We have a routine, perhaps we physically walk into our building using the back staff door, perhaps bypassing the customer area altogether. Maybe we only ever view our website from the dashboard and analytics reports. Instead, walk through your business, physically and digitally, the way your customer would approach you. Do you like what you see?

10. Be Human

It is quite easy, and natural, to fall into an “Us vs Them” mentality when we spend all of our time in the trenches. But this is not healthy in a business relationship. Be intentionally proactive in seeking out ways to remove the corporate facade, lower the barriers, and reach out on a Human-to-Human level. It is not about B2B or B2C, it is about interacting with other humans.

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