The marketing landscape is changing rapidly.
In recent years the marketing landscape has changed dramatically. From Facebook deleting over 5 billion fake accounts, to Instagram removing likes from posts, which rolled out Q4 of 2019. The digital marketing space has seen its share of ups and downs during this year. Even major shifts like Nike pulling their products from Amazon, it certainly feels like significant change is coming for advertisers. What does this all mean for businesses? It means that getting back to the basics of marketing will be more important than ever.
We need to get back to the basics.
Okay, so I’m not saying that everyone should cancel their social media ad accounts, and take out phone new book advertisements. However, rather than just trying to jump to the latest digital platform to get results, smart businesses are realizing that focusing on customer experience and relational business in the traditional sense, is paying off. I recently read a great book entitled, “Building A Story Brand”. Author Donald Miller explains that “In every line of copy we write, we’re either serving the customer’s story or descending into confusion; we’re either making music or making noise.”
Not so long ago, most business was gained by referral or a heavy focus on the customer’s story behind a product. Products and services simply solved problems. That’s still true today, but digital marketing has become more about interrupting the customer, rather than helping them solve their problem or tell their story.
Tell the customer’s story, before your own.
It’s so tempting as advertisers to build our brand without considering the impact on the customer. Branding a company is all about how effective we can tell the customer story or solve their pain points. What we receive are brand ambassadors who tell our story for us. Think of it this way, if our first motive is to help the customer or make them the hero, we are intentionally saying, “it’s not about our talent, its about your story” Making the customer the hero is always a best practice. Asking qualifying questions, like “what does my perfect customer need, want or desire?” begin to shape how we advertise.
CARE about your customer’s success.
One of the things we are focusing on in 2020 at Your Official Gear is answering the question, “how do we show care to our customers?” While we practically provide custom sports apparel and screen printing in Boise, we have to be more than just our products and services.
Caring about our customer’s experience, goals and dreams is about the best marketing strategy around. There is not a more attractive attribute than a business or team member who genuinely cares whether or not a customer succeeds. This philosophy literally turns prospects into brand ambassadors.
A Loving Salesman and The Great Depression
The Great Depression was the worst economic downturn in US history. It began in 1929 and did not abate until the end of the 1930’s. The stock market crash of October 1929 signaled the beginning of the Great Depression. By 1933, unemployment was at 25 percent and more than 5,000 banks had gone out of business. However, some companies survived this by understanding that people are motivated more by relationship than simply money. Below is a paraphrased story from speaker Tim Sanders, outlining this principal.
During the Great Depression an insurance agent named Elmer Letterman understood that being others focused and meeting their needs was the best way to live and build his career. His approach was simple. Don’t talk about insurance, instead meet the needs of others by connecting people who could mutually benefit from each other.
If he met someone that needed a construction job and knew the foreman, he would introduce the two men. They would ask “What do you do Elmer?” He would respond, “I sell insurance, but I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here to make sure the two of you get to know one another.” Elmer took the approach of meeting the needs of others first and solving their problems into every aspect of his life.
As a result, he helped thousands of people get together and have their needs met. Always putting himself last. Over time when anyone needed insurance, people would say, “Oh, you need to speak to Elmer. He’s the person who you get insurance from, he really helped me with (fill in the blank)”
As a result, Elmer ended up becoming the top salesman in his company selling millions in insurance during a time when most companies and banks were closing. His famous quote “Personality may open doors, but it is character that keeps them open” still resonates today and is severely lacking from marketing and sales.
A win for us is helping our clients win, whether we profit or not.
Whether it’s custom apparel and promotional products, real estate or tax preparation, the goal is meeting others needs. Ultimately a win for the client is a win for you.
As those of us in business behave like advisers and consultants who give their knowledge and time to see others succeed and have their needs met, amazing things happen for everyone. What a refreshing concept for this day and age when the typical mindset is “what’s in it for me?”
Ask the right questions.
Too often advertisers are asking the wrong questions or the messaging doesn’t ask questions at all. Here is a list of questions that you should be asking your customers.
-What do you need to succeed?
-How can we understand your business better?
-What is the main problem you are facing in your company?
-What is the one aspect you are always thinking about in your business?
These types of questions begin to frame the relationship around your customer and the answers will give you incredible insight about what you can offer your client to meet their needs. Becoming your potential customers advocate is incredibly attractive in a world of “look at me” and “buy my product” marketing that seems to plague the marketing landscape of today.