A 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