Marketing is often as complicated or as simple as you make it. Things can get granular quickly, but whenever brands find themselves deep in the vortex, zoom out and remember these two things.
Why do you buy what you buy? Why do you like what you like? Anyone with a preference (Coke or Pepsi, Chevy or Ford, Cheerios or Frosted Flakes) has evaluated potentially millions of options when making a purchase, as well as the option not to buy anything at all. But why do we pick one thing in the first place, and what makes customers come back to that product again and again?
Identify A Need
What we’re really looking for as brands is the need our customers have in relation to the goods or services we provide. They can be broad and a little mundane: a customer is hungry. Excellent marketing takes that need and identifies particular characteristics of the need and the customer, too. Take a product like Pop-Tarts. It fulfills a need; it makes hungry people less hungry. But why Pop-Tarts over Corn Pops? Pop-Tarts might be filling the need for convenience, something that can be toasted in just a minute with no clean-up. It might fill the need of portable, allowing a rushed family to grab something and have breakfast or a snack on the move. It may also simply fill the need of preference; happy memories, convenience, or a preference for hot, frosted pastries over every other conceivable breakfast or snack option.
If you’ve taken a walk down the breakfast aisle recently, then you know that there are plenty of options out there, too.
Good marketing is identifying that need and effectively communicating why your product or service fulfills that need. There are times when that communication might compare your product with other options, but more often, good marketing speaks directly to the need itself. Mom, you’re always in a rush. Some mornings, save being the superhero and grab the kids Pop-Tarts. There are much better ways to couch the value proposition, but even that sentence gets at the heart of the pitch; we’ve identified a need, a customer, and empathized with her situation.
No matter what industry you’re in, boiling own your marketing to a single sentence should be the Litmus test that gets your project going: Who am I talking to and how am I fulfilling their needs?
Never Stop Learning
When it comes to business and marketing, information is power. Make it a part of every project to recap and assess what worked and what didn’t. In marketing, that means putting in more thought than just looking at a sales report or the ad results of a digital campaign. Think about what worked and make an effort to explain why. It’s equally important to evaluate why unsuccessful efforts failed. Put yourself in the shoes of a customer.
Simply pushing out promotion after promotion and offer and offer doesn’t build your brand. Trust is a valuable currency that is never earned at 20% off. Maintain the value of your product or service, tell the story, and engage with customers by inviting them to stay involved and become a part of your brand.
Being in the right place at the right time also plays an important role. By learning more about your potential customers, you’ll improve your odds of making a connection or sale. Learning about events, seasonal changes, and similar brands can greatly increase your odds of interacting with the right people when they’re ready to buy.
This goes beyond digital marketing, too. A local coffee shop in Traverse City used to always open at 8 am. By May, their workers would often complain that customers were milling around outside as early as 7:30. Finally, they just started opening at 7 am, picking up a whole new clientele that included early commuters, teachers, and nurses on their way home after working the long night shift. Between breakfast and beer for those nurses, 7am-9am went from a few hours selling drip coffee to go to the second-highest average ticket of any two-hour window!
Learn, watch, and pay attention. Marketing is about communication, and doing 80% of the listening and 20% of the talking can pay off.
Looking to learn more about the essence of effective marketing? Let’s chat.