7 Signs Your Marketing May Need to Evolve

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evolveA lot of marketers get both confused and fed up with all the talk about things like new media, social media, inbound marketing, user generated content, and the age of conversation. I mean, how is a person suppose to apply all these somewhat vague and hard to pin down terms and trends. Well, there’s no denying that the world and certainly the world of marketing has changed. If you’re trying to wrap your head around what that might mean for you, here are seven very concrete ways to start viewing the evolution of your marketing strategies and practices.

1) Your marketing strategy is a sales strategy – far too many small business folks view marketing as selling. I’ve got nothing against sales, you must have them, but what you must have, before a sales presentation is ever made, is a crystal clear, very easy to understand difference. You must claim and communicate at every turn the way that your products, services, and processes are uniquely here to make some narrowly defined target market’s life better. Oh, and it can’t be boring, there must be something remarkable enough about your business or strategy that people go out of their way to tell others about it. Do that and selling not only gets easier, it gets somewhat superfluous.

2) You use mail-in rebates – OK, really this one’s kind of a pet peeve of mine, but it applies to any kind of odd or confusing issues around pricing, buying your products, contacting your company, or engaging your services. Any practice that doesn’t make sense or makes your customers jump through hoops, either because it makes your life easier or you’re intentionally trying to trick people into buying, is so last century.

3) You are the low price loser – This is the opposite of the low price leader. See, the low price leader uses technical or operational advantages to profitably thrive in competitive pricing scenarios. The low price loser simply tries to compete on price alone instead of competing on value. Value means many things, but far too often business owners undervalue or under-educate about true value and are forced to differentiate based on price. Differentiate, activate and army talkers, add value, and charge premium prices.

4) You think a blog is something created by the IT department – Blogging is the tip of the very large iceberg of content creation in the new world of marketing, but it’s still one of the easiest ways for you to play. The fact that anyone can find anything they want about any business or challenge by simply visiting a search engine means that you must be consistently producing content that allows your business to be the one they find online. Committing to producing educational content through the low-cost, easy to operate blogging software is a no-brainer for your marketing department.

5) You think lead generation is about hunting – the problem with going out and hunting down your prospects is that they have developed far too many ways to tune your messages out or simply developed a numbness to much of what they see as attempts to sell them stuff. Today’s marketers are optimizing tons of content, written word, images, audio, and video and placing it online, offline, and in outposts like LinkedIn and Business Week’s Business Exchange so that when prospects go looking, and they still are, these marketers are being found.

6) You think the only way to press coverage is pounding journalists with press releases – Well, I’m not really sure this was ever that effective, but identifying key journalists and building relationships through relevant interaction on their blog, sending industry data, and commenting on stories is a far better way to become a quoted source. Expand your view of the media to include industry blogs (some of which have larger and more focused readerships than a traditional metro Business Journal) and build relationships with these individuals. Consistently submit press releases and articles to online distribution sites such as PRWeb and Pitch Engine.

7) You think the best way to get more referrals is to ask – Sure asking for referrals is a good thing, but being more referable is a better thing. You make your organization more referable when you do something that’s remarkable, that people can’t not talk about. And, you do it by looking at every interaction with a prospect or customer as a marketing interaction. You do it by making certain that in every engagement the customer not only receives the value, but realizes that value fully. You do it by keeping your promise in a way that provides a wonderful experience.

Image credit: Trevor Mantermach

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Business Exchange, Marketing Strategy, prweb


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  1. I really use to enjoy your column and all of the advice but frankly I'm at the point now of thinking that you aren't really telling us anything new. You've become the exact thing you tell us to avoid; boring, rehash, served on a cold plate.
    How about telling or giving us some concrete example about how exactly to do something different. You talk about sales strategy versus marketing strategy. Ok, I'll by that. Give us a concrete example.

    1. That's fair to want more – I give what I can, as much as can, but if you really want a dialogue or relevant conversation why leave an anonymous comment with a bogus email address?

  2. #4 and #6 above are so true. It may take some time, and some failure to learn this yourself, but anyone succeeding in getting coverage know this to be true. Good conversation, doing something unique and doing it well, and using a blog as a communication device get stories told. Marketing is all about telling your story, and the more people know, the more they can share.

    1. Zach, your point about stories is so true and maybe even truer today as people look to connect. I heard the greatest quote from Keith Ferrazzi about stories being “emotional transportation”

  3. To point #6, I recently wrote a guest column on DailyBlogTips providing tips on how journalists can stay connected with PR people using social media such as LinkedIn and Twitter.

    It's a mutually beneficial, two-way street. It seems that building relationships is often viewed as only the job of the marketer, but, as a freelance trade press journalist, I find staying connected to industry insiders–marketers and others–helps me do my job better. If only more PR people would avail themselves to the opportunity to read and interact with freelance journalists' blogs, they'd find an open door to some excellent coverage for their clients.

  4. All the comments here feedback what a great post this is so I won't repeat that (even though it is awesome).

    I don't have time to comment because I'm off to comment, and link, to the article in our own blog.

    I'm also going to put a notice on the wall in our office listing your 7 signs to help keep me focused as well.

    Steve

  5. Great post John. It amazes me that some companies have yet to realize these points. Point 7 is especially true. In today’s market, simply meeting the expectations of customers doesn’t cut it; no one will talk about you if that is all you do. If you want referrals, or want the benefits of WOM marketing, go above and beyond the expectations of your clients add that extra value–they will definitely spread the word.

  6. Excellent breakdown. I was just brainstorming a new post along the same lines of this … but seeing how this covers the subject I think I'll skip it and point my readers to the article!

  7. I agree with Zach – #6 is a great point. Journalists depend on their source list to generate new story ideas and get the inside scoop. Become someone a journalist can trust by building a relationship based on good, honest conversation and information sharing. You'll both benefit.

    Kristen
    @dukky

    1. So true – you have to realize that journalists need good sources as much as you may need coverage you can give. The best ones work just as hard at developing those mutual relationships.

  8. Great points John. While all are correct, #3 is definitely one we find in our industry. In this economy, price seems to be sometimes the only deciding factor. Nothing else seems to matter besides $. In the photography industry, there is a lot of distinction in quality, customer service, professionalism, products offered, album designs, etc. Each of these items carry a value to not only your business but to the customer. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Nice post but you really, no make that REALLY!!! need a new logo for Duct Tape Marketing. This one is exceptionally horrible and amateurish. Really diminishes the impact and authority of your site. Maybe your #8 should be: Make sure your branding images are professional.

  10. This information is very good. I wrote a book called A2Z Inspirational Marketing that is currently being published that talks about how companies can and should market. I also wrote two articles for ezine that talks about how important it is to use the internet for our new age marketing strategy. They are both good reads.

    1-“Branding Yourself and Your Name Using the Internet”
    2-“The Internet -The Most Lucrative Marketing Tool”

    Go to http://ezinearticles.com

    Thanks for the insightful information.

    Synovia Dover-Harris.,MBA

  11. I like your post… To succeed today you need to evolve I agree, go beyond the textbook strategy.
    I will come back for more reading…
    Regards
    Isabel

  12. Interesting!

    I feel like there is a scarcity of good marketing today. Good marketing means which can convert the leads into sales. The only marketing that has moved me in the last couple of years is Social Media Optimization.

  13. Great article, John. It is very helpful as I feel the marketing has evolved so much over the last few years and we small business owners have to evolve our tactics with it, espeically with social media and online.

    I recently signed up for an online lead generation solution called tradeseam (http://www.tradeseam.com/). Have you used them for lead generation?

  14. Great article, John. It is very helpful as I feel the marketing has evolved so much over the last few years and we small business owners have to evolve our tactics with it, espeically with social media and online.

    I recently signed up for an online lead generation solution called tradeseam (http://www.tradeseam.com/). Have you used them for lead generation?

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