Sustainably Yours, Tim King. Marketing Writer | Communications Specialist

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A Social Media S.O.S | Why Marketing Fundamentals will ALWAYS Matter

On the surface, the use of Social Media as a new way to influence buyer behavior may seem positively revolutionary. Sadly, it’s not…and the content creators that realize this will be the only ones who will succeed in making a name for themselves, and the products/services they hawk.

While it can be said that Social Media marketing is a faster, flashier and more intuitive way to communicate with customers, it’s only one part of the equation…and believe it or not, it’s not even the most important part. [Gasp!]

Yes, today’s consumers are purchasing different products, from different places, in different ways than in the past.

However, the reasons WHY they buy ‘Brand X’ or ‘Brand Y’ have remained constant for as long as people have been buying and selling things from each other.

Marketing - Same as it ever was.

Marketing – Same as it ever was.

OK. So why DO customers buy?

Anyone walking into The Apple Store (or going online) to buy the latest and greatest iPhone 6,7,8… has very likely gone through the same internal, emotional decision process that my parents did when they bought their first microwave oven.

….which is the same emotional decision process that my grandparents used to buy their first color TV.

….which is the same emotional decision process that my great-grandparents used to buy their first car.

Someday, my kids will go through the same internal process when choosing their first virtual-reality vacation package.

To be effective, all marketing – meaning everything that a customer reads, hears, experiences, shares and believes – must tap into something more than just whatever the functional purpose of the product or service is. In the past, this meant paying attention to the packaging and the promotion of a product in newspaper and magazine ads.

Today, those communication channels may have shifted from paper to pixels, but the marketing messages that successful brands are using to connect with their customers online have not.

 

Instead of newspapers and magazines, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and dozens of other online social media services are where people turn today for information and entertainment.

The good news (for marketers) is that because of social media, there are now more opportunities than ever to communicate directly with customers and prospects.

The bad news is that there are also many more ways companies can screw that up, including by not having an online presence at all.

(Coincidentally, it would appear that this dilemma is nothing new. Check out – New Ways to Reach Your Customers – Harvard Business Review, July 1981) 

Marketing Motivators: Learn them, know them, live them.

Customers make purchased based not only on what the product can do (rational) but also because of how it makes them feel (emotional).

marketing-schools.org

It’s what’s inside the customers head that really matters.

The proportion of one to the other depends on the person and the specific product.

For example the emotional appeal of one brand of cooking oil over another is probably much less than it would be for one type of car, article of clothing or brand of cell phone that one chooses over another.

Marketing pros have labeled these emotional triggers as the “5 Marketing Motivators” and they include (1) Fear, (2) Greed, (3) Guilt, (4) Exclusivity and (5) Need for Approval.

Here are few well-known examples of ad copy that set these motivators into action.

The 5 Marketing Motivators 

  • Fear – “Supplies are limited. Call now!”  “Don’t leave home without it.” “For a   limited time only.” “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”
  • Greed – “You deserve a break today.” “The best a man can get.” “Don’t just buy a car, invest in a Volvo.”
  • Guilt – “Every Kiss Begins with Kay.” “Choosy moms choose Jiff.” “It’s 8 pm, do you know where your children are?” “Juicy Juice. All natural.100% Juice.”
  • Exclusivity – “Membership has its privileges.” “Custom made.” “Limited edition.” “Hand crafted.”
  • Need for Approval – Fueled by celebrity endorsements, expert reviews/recommendations, peer pressure, word-of-mouth and the ‘wisdom of crowds’.

But…doing business is different today, isn’t it?

There’s no doubt that many aspects of running a business today are very different than they were just five or ten years ago. If you were ask anyone walking down the street today, they’ll tell you that “things change” all the time and that “the world is a different place now” – they are right.

Holding on to a customer’s loyalty today – and ideally encouraging them to bring you more customers – requires more than just providing a good quality product or service. Customers today want, and often expect, to be treated with common courtesy before the sale, respect during the sale and appreciation after the sale.

Check out the McKinsey paper on customer lifecycle management  (CLM) best practices.

Successful companies are accomplishing this by communicating with their customers on a regular basis. And social media channels are allowing them to do it more effectively than ever before.

These businesses are educating customers about the benefits of buying their products, congratulating them when they do buy, reminding them when it’s time to buy again, rewarding them for doing so and encouraging them to tell all their Friends along the way too.

Are you talking with customers or @ customers?

Thanks to the speed and power of mobile devices and the Internet, this truly is the age of “what have you done for me lately” when it comes to keeping a customer happy and coming back for more.

Remember, its called Social Media not SELLING Media. Here’s Hubspot’s take on ‘Social Selling’ during the Buyer’s Journey.

The bottom line: If all you ever say to your social media audience is BUY-BUY-BUY, be prepared for them to say the same thing to you:

Attention All Online Marketers: Act now…or it’ll be Bye Bye Bye! for you.

The sooner that companies not only accept, but also engage withByebyebye their customers’ praises and complaints, the sooner they will be able to understand what their customers really want – and what they really don’t.

If not, the competition is only a click away.

~ TK

 

 

The last word –

File this little nugget of wisdom away into the back of your mind. When you’re struggling to decide whether or not you should be engaged with customers on social media, ask yourself “Do my customers want me there?”

The Purpose of ANY Business is to create and keep a Customer. To do that, companies must do the things that make people want to do business with them. All other truths on this subject are merely derivative.

Ted Levitt, author, editor and professor at the Harvard Business School penned these words in his book, ‘The Marketing Imagination‘ way back in 1983. IMHO, truer words have yet to be published on the subject since.

Marketing imagination book cover

 

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Real Life ‘Road Runner’ Tunnel Crash : FALSE, says snopes.com

Dang it. I SOOO wanted this story to be true…as long as no one actually got hurt of course. It just goes to show that if you put your message in front of people who are already receptive to hearing what you have to say – they are more likely to go along with it, without giving its validity a second thought. As communicators, we have to understand how powerful tool that is…and remember that with great power, comes great responsibility. BEEP-BEEP!! Now where did that FREE! pile of bird seed disappear to?

~TK

 

A viral story about a car crashing into a Road Runner cartoon-style painted tunnel seemed too humorous to prompt any fact-checking.

Source: FALSE: Road Runner Tunnel Crash : snopes.com

April 1, 2016. Evergreen Home Performance launches line of insulated high-performance outdoor clothing

This is how you do it folks…

TK

Evergreen Home Performance employs the insulated, high-tech qualities and high-fashion style of weatherization materials in a new line of outdoor clothing.

Evergreen’s new mountaineering outerwear employs the high-performance qualities and high-fashion style of weatherization materials the home energy efficiency and insulation company has installed for years. The result is airtight, vapor-open, and insulated to a solid R-14 with a proprietary quilting method.

Source: Evergreen launches line of insulated high-performance outdoor clothing

Marc Ecko: Give Customers What They Don’t Know They Want | Inc.com

” You need to be able to both satisfy and surprise your buyers.”

via Marc Ecko: Give Customers What They Don’t Know They Want | Inc.com.

Ecko throws out a few pearls of wisdom here – in a very no bullsh/t way – but it’s nothing really new or revolutionary. That in itself is kind of refreshing and perhaps “revolutionary” for this day and age.

Basically, it’s about adapting your message and product delivery according to the current channels of communication...but what you say and what you do remains the same.

Do the things that make customers want to do business with you. 

He reinforces my belief that you can learn just as much (if not more) by first studying the Masters of Communication, Sales and Marketing, such as:

Theodore Levitt

Jay Levinson

~ Zig Ziglar

~ Steve Jobs

Who did I miss ? Who inspires you to cut through the clutter and focus ONLY on delivering to customers “insanely great” products, service and value ? Let me know.

~ Seth Godin

~ Mark Twain (yes, Mark Twain!)

 

"Known to Everyone - Liked by All" ~ Is there any better goal for your brand?

“Known to Everyone – Liked by All” ~ Is there any better goal for your brand?

 

 

Duvet or Not Duvet? Eh? Just say Quilt.

I’ve always said that the ability to ‘do’ marketing well is both a skill and an art. It’s a delicate balance.

To be effective, marketers must communicate features and benefits in a way that is accurate and truthful but also emotional and exciting enough to attract attention and influence behavior.

When opposing (selling vs. telling) messages are communicated in precisely the right balance.

When opposing (selling vs. telling) messages are communicated in precisely the right balance.

When it’s done correctly, this is what I call marketing nirvana – the right message gets in front of the right person in the right way at the right time. A perfect match.

More often however, these contradictory communication goals will morph into materials and messages that actually accomplish neither one. We’ve all seen ad material too boring to read, too sensational to be believed, or worse too confusing to understand.

Recently, I spent the night in a well known, middle of the road type hotel chain and noticed this curious Post-It (R) note on my bed’s headboard. At first, I was intrigued/impressed to believe that the cleaning staff had left me a personal note welcoming me to rest in their comfy clean room.

Almost immediately though, that thought disappeared after peeling off the note and confirming that in fact the message had been pre-printed on the sheet of paper…and not hand written as I was lead to believe.

"Great! Ummm...What's a duvet? "

“Great! Ummm…What’s a duvet? “

Of course, I never really expected it to be a hand written note anyway. But, taking a closer look at the piece also brought up another intriguing question, “So what the heck IS a ‘doo-vet’ cover and  why were they so proud that theirs’ were clean anyway?”

Had I been unknowingly exposed to dangerously dirty duvets in the past at other hotel rooms? I honestly had no idea how to answer my own question.

Soon after this realization, flashes of Bill Cosby’s classic “Noah” sketch came to mind.

In the sketch, the booming voice of God calls out to Noah and instructs him (in feature-rich, important sounding, glorious language) that he wants Noah to go out and collect all the wood he can find and then build an “Ark”. God rattles on and on about what the Ark is for, how big it should be and who should be brought to it, etc. leaving no detail unmentioned.

Noah, patiently listens and when God finally pauses to hear Noah’s response to the mammoth task he has just put before him, Noah disbelievingly says “Riiiiiight…What’s an Ark?”

The same thing can be said about this piece of marketing. The hotel was SO concerned about appearing to be clever, personable and reassuring that they went the extra mile to make sure my duvet cover was clean…they probably never took the time to think “Does the average person actually know what a duvet is?”

For one, I sure didn’t.

But I have absolutely no doubt that everyone in the room at the time this was created definitely knew what one was. I’m also sure that hotel industry veterans know all about duvets and have conducted all sorts of research to find out that guests overwhelmingly like their duvets to be clean.

I wonder though if they were to gather 100 random people off the street and bring them into the hotel room and ask them to “go over and stand next to the duvet” if more than a few would likely walk over to a picture on the wall, the small table in the corner of the room…or maybe even one of those funny European style toilets that the water actually shoots up? 

In other words, does the specific feature / benefit that you are spending so much time, effort and money to create really mean anything at all to your customers ?

Effective marketing communicates what matters to customers – not what matters to the people creating the marketing or what companies think customers should think matters.

The only thing that matters to customers should be the only thing that matters to you…and don’t use a 25 cent word when a nickel word will do.

So, what do you think matters to your customers? Now THAT is the question.

For those who are still curious…. via Dictionary.com

du·vet [doo-vey]
noun
Def: a usually down-filled quilt, often with a removable cover; comforter.

Chris Brogan: Owners and Marketers are Two Very Different Things

Owners and Marketers are Two Very Different Things.

Check out Chris Brogan’s take on an idea that I’ve been driving home since the days of the .com Bubble. He talks about the importance of generating revenue with your (social media) marketing efforts.

You can’t pay your rent with “clicks” or send your kid to college because you have 379 Facebook friends and a network of 682 colleagues on LinkedIn.

At the end of the day, if you haven’t directed prospects to actually do something – download, purchase, vote, recommend – then you are simply running a message board, not a business.

How do you get prospects to take the next step ? Share your ideas below.

 

Twin Rivers Paper – New Website Content Now Online

Proud to say that the content that I put together for Twin Rivers Paper is finally updated and live online today. They don’t make every paper…but they do make the paper that all of us come in contact with everyday.

Read about what they make here:

Specialty Paper Products – Packaging, Publishing, Label.

If you like what I did here, contact me about refreshing the content on your website.

 

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