Cute. Isn’t it? I think so as well. But, putting that aside, what is wrong with this picture? It’s a toddler wearing a man’s shoes. And as any parent would tell you (or in my case, as any ex-toddler who was given grief by his parents a lot for doing this), this is a recipe for disaster. We all know, or at least can guess what is going to happen when he starts to run or walk in those shoes. Let me represent it slightly graphically.
I have no idea what is he so happy about. He just lost a tooth, and possibly got grounded for a day — at least.
Many new age marketeers I run into every day are like such a child. You talk to them about marketing, and the longer you listen to them, the clearer it becomes — they are the followers of the one size fits all approach.
But, isn’t that wrong? How can you have such a firm belief in the marketing technique that worked for a particular company? Is the company in the same line of business as yours? Are you guys selling the same products? Are the two of you at the same place as far as the stage or progress of your business is concerned? Is your target demographics the same? Is the motivation (or the primary reason) for consumers to buy from them the same as it is to buy from you?
Or does any of that not matter to you.
That seems like the case a lot of times, isn’t it? I have gone through case studies and assignment submissions of dozens of applicants applying for a marketing role with us, and I am left wondering — Replace our company with any other company on the planet, and this guy’s/girl’s approach would have been the same. Probably even the answers would have been the same for similar questions.
Marketing is not complex. It is really simple, to be honest. The best marketing messages are the ones that were a lot of work to conceptualize, plan and execute, but have the grace of a ballerina once the consumer looks at them.
Marketing is like art. Simple, elegant, and yet it strikes the right chord inside of you.
Marketing is science. Psychology, to be precise. (Please let’s not get into the debate of whether psychology is a science or not)
You need to segregate your audience base from the rest of the world and focus just on them. The rest of the world, let them be a blur. (I won’t say they don’t exist for you. Let’s keep them handy for a later time in case you are looking to widen your service offerings)
Now, break up this base into smaller macro and micro clusters asking yourselves these questions:
- Which pain point of my consumers that I am solving. Remember, you may think you are solving one pain point, but different people will look at that same one thing differently. So answer this question thinking like your consumers.
- What would be the simplest message for me to establish a connection with these consumers — again, different messages for different buckets/clusters.
- How can I keep them engaged? What sort of activity — online or offline — would they be interested in?
- How can I help them?
Now. This question is THE most important one. While answering this question, I want you to forget that you run a business. I want you to forget that such a business even exists. I just want you to be a genuine and true friend to these people. And like any true friend would, make a sincere attempt to help them.
There. You have every single ingredient you need to make the right marketing plan. Go ahead and make an omelette.
Why I want you to be a true friend?
Because it is crucial and imperative that you do that.
TRUST. Trust is the key. It is true irrespective of whether you are a b2b or a b2c entity.
We trust people who are:
- knowledgable about a particular field
- acting in our best interest
- unlikely to get into shady behavior
My best friend calls me up any time he wants to buy something. It has ranged from a PC to a CCTV camera to his first bike to his first car. He trusts my opinion. He values it. Why? Because he feels that when he asks me for an advice, I would be offering him a genuine one. I would not be having ulterior motives or my own personal biases cloud my judgement and I will give him an advice that is most suited to his needs. If I ran a business, he would do transactions with me. Not because I would give him a friends and family discount. Because he would know that he can always count on me.
Be that friend for your consumers. No monetary expectations. No ‘I scratch your back, you scratch mine’ behavior. Just be a true friend.
It doesn’t matter whether you are selling t-shirts or beauty products, whether you are selling used cars or new home appliances — build trust, command authority, and don’t try to push a sale every single time you talk to your consumer.
And no. When I say talk, I don’t literally mean talk. Every action taken from your side is you (as a business) talking to the consumer. When you send him an email, when you show up a pop-up on your website, your blog — it is all different ways in which you are talking (interacting) with your consumers.
Build trust and you will generate sales, and more importantly loyal consumer base. The more loyal a consumer is:
- The higher is your LTV (lifetime value of the consumer). The higher the LTV/CAC ratio, the better it is for your business. (CAC = customer acquisition cost)
- The more likely he is to promote your services/product to friends. Your NPS (net promoter score) increases. All good for the business.
- The less likely it would be that a competitor would be able to just steal him away. Unless you drop the ball
Let me end with giving you some examples:
- You sell kitchen appliances. Sure, you could promote that via ads, emailers and what not. But is a consumer ALWAYS interested in the kitchen appliances? No. What is he always interested in? Fun recipes. Countless are available online. Have it on your blog, your instagram feed, your youtube channel. Whichever medium you choose, do it well, and do it to benefit the consumers. Don’t plug in your product sales all the time in these.
- You are selling health products — exercise equipment, resistance bands, fitness bands etc. Again. Set up a facebook page and talk about health and wellness in general. Things to do in the morning. Easy health drinks to make that could be ready in less than 5 mins. 10 mins exercises that could help a person avoid backaches or at least alleviate their current back troubles.
- You are selling furnitures. Engage with your audience with points on home decor, organization etc.
You get the gist. Now, back to the omelette you go.