A what point did marketing stop being about what the customer wants? Many of today’s most popular marketing channels focus on automation and mass communication and forget about building relationships.
The idea that marketing could have gone wrong was highlighted at the start of the global pandemic with some consumers receiving emails from companies offering restaurant codes and holiday trips despite hospitality closures and travel bans.
Despite some of the worst examples, there has been marketers and brands demonstrating empathy in their marketing throughout the crisis. So are we just talking a big game and not delivering meaning in marketing, or is it a case of some ruining it for the many?
If you don't have time to read right now, why not listen instead...
How do you define marketing?
Marketing should be about meeting the needs of the customer. From understanding them to using the tone of voice they want to hear, marketing is an attitude based completely around who you’re targeting.
Marketing can also be defined as creating a desire for your product or service. Many consumers don’t know what products or services they want, they just know what problems and challenges they have. It’s the marketer’s job to show them how the product or service can solve their problems.
Look to solve for the customer. When we talk about marketing going wrong it’s often when brands plan their marketing activity around what they want to say instead of what the customer wants to hear. You need to ask yourself how your product or service solves the consumer’s problem.
Why is it going wrong?
Marketing hasn’t necessarily gone wrong. However, the problems have arisen as marketers have been focusing on the wrong metrics for too long. With click-through rates, open rates and new leads showing less and less return on investment, we need to reimagine the way we connect with people.
One area of focus should be conversations. Metrics are short-term, but building relationships are are long-term. Starting conversations is a great way to build relationships. Conversational marketing can also half your sales cycle, increase new leads by ⅓ and grow new business by 20%.
The moral of the story is don’t focus too much on volume, be human and develop individual connections. Chasing the numbers just isn’t a marketing strategy anymore.
How do we get right?
The dream is for a prospect to say “I have no idea what we’re going to do together, but I know I want to work with you”.
This shows you’ve built a relationship with someone and engaged with them in a way that they want. Building relationships doesn’t just help you win new business, it helps you retain existing clients. If you’ve developed a strong connection with a customer, they’re less likely to stop working with you or move to a competitor.
So how do you build an effective relationship? Here are our 3 top tips:
- The small stuff matters - be conversational, personable and human in everything you do from out of office emails to phone calls, people remember the small things you do.
- Be transparent in your communication - people want to know what you really think so don’t fall into a fluffy marketer trap.
- Build an emotional connection - show your personality and people will resonate with you.
What’s the answer?
The first point to make is there’s nothing wrong with the technology. Marketing automation, email and social media are all great ways to engage with your audience. However, marketers have a tendency to ruin them. We turn emails into spam and marketing automation into impersonal noise.
Because of the cognitive overload that we’ve created, we now need to figure out what the communication should look like, how to engage with our audience and how to make it different.
Be human, honest and transparent!
So, I’ll finish with a video that shows how brands can fall into the trap of losing the meaning behind their messages...
Focus on the things that really matter in the long term and show real value in your marketing.