The chorus of marketing voices has become cacophonous to the point where advertisers and their customers have tuned it out as so much white noise or have become hardened against it. We think the following makes sense and will help to separate you from the countless “dog and pony” shows.
1. Conduct a thorough competitive analysis.
• Marketers are becoming smarter, so competitive advantage is harder. Everything is online. It’s never been so easy to see what your competition is doing from a presentation perspective.
• Assess your current competitive situation
• Who are your competitors?
• What are your core strengths/weaknesses?
• What current and emerging opportunities and threats are imposed by the competitive environment?
• Use this information to critically evaluate your value proposition.
2. Explore and test new media.
• When we polled our staff, asking, “What are the most significant changes in marketing technology or tactics from a year ago?” new and emerging media were high on their radars.
• Social networks. Even if you’re not ready for a presence there, go there; find your customers and observe them. Listen to what they’re saying.
• According to a 2007 Deloitte survey of 2,200 U.S. consumers between the ages of 13 and 75, 85% of Gen Xers said they are influenced by someone’s recommendation.
• Mobile Landing Pages and Mobile ad placement. Optimization for mobile will be different than for PCs. Begin to monitor and test now.
3. If you haven’t started a blog, post one. If you haven’t produced a video, try it.
• ”Old” marketing media such as email will still be vital and a huge opportunity in 2008, though issues with deliverability will continue to be a challenge.
• Revolutionize the way you communicate.
• Put yourself in the shoes of the person who is being barraged every day, every hour, everywhere, with marketing messages. Whom should customers listen to? Whom should they trust? Customers want and need to base their decisions on honest claims, and it is our job to get both honesty and integrity right.
4. Your prospect’s protest –
• I am not a target; I am a person: Don’t market to me, communicate with me.
• Don’t wear out my name, and don’t call me “friend,” until we know each other.
• When you say “sell,” I hear “hype.” Clarity trumps persuasion. Don’t sell; say.
• I don’t buy from companies; I buy from people. And here’s a clue: I dislike companies for the same reason I dislike people.
• And why is your marketing “voice” different from your real “voice”? The people, I trust don’t patronize me.
• In all cases, where the quality of the information is debatable, I will always resort to the quality of the source. My trust is not for sale. You need to earn it.
• Dazzle me gradually.
• In case you still don’t “get it,” I don’t trust you.
5. Your response –
• ARTICLE ONE: We believe that people buy from people; that people don’t buy from companies, from stores, or from Websites; people buy from people. Marketing is not about programs; it is about relationships.
• ARTICLE TWO: We believe that brand is reputation; marketing is conversation, and buying is an act of trust. Trust is earned with two elements: 1) integrity and 2) effectiveness. Both demand that we put the interest of the customer first.
• ARTICLE THREE: We believe that testing trumps speculation and that clarity trumps persuasion. We need to base their decisions on honest data, and our customers need to base their decisions on honest claims.