In a world of seemingly infinite choices and digitally empowered consumers, quick wins no longer build sustainable businesses, nor do they create brands people care about. Today, businesses and brands that succeed are the ones that reinforce, enhance, and shape the beliefs, aspirations and behaviors of their audience.
Brands that find a way to truly recognize and become part of the subtle shifts in values of their audience thrive. Some examples of big and small brands that have accomplished this are Whole Foods, Hem Jeans, Starbucks, Diamond Candles, Apple, Basecamp, Chemical Guys and Google.
Creating a big marketing funnel is an easier way to market. Buy a big list or purchase some great keywords and attract the most potential customers you can to your site and then do your best to convert some of those leads by bombarding them with messages that are generally annoying and unwanted. The hope is that a few of these people will care about your services or products. Today this approach is unsustainable.
Do the opposite
What works better today is to do the opposite. Figure out what people want and then find ways to delight them, one person at a time. That one person who is thrilled will talk about you to his or her friends, essentially turning the funnel on its head.
Change how I feel
A good example of a company delighting their audience and recognizing what is important to potential customers is the Chemical Guys. They provide professional auto detailing supplies, which is a hobby I took up several years ago. My previous supplier of products focused mainly on selling me more products. I was referred to The Chemical Guys a few years ago and signed up for their newsletter. I recently referred back to a few articles that caught my attention and clicked a link to their website. Over the years they have consistently delivered good content which I have looked forward to receiving. Their content marketing has showed me the benefits of specific products they make and how to use it. They also have provided good and bad feedback from other customers that have purchased their products which makes me “feel” that they care about their products and their service. They even invite you to come to their headquarters and learn a few tricks about detailing. Better yet they share stories and photos of actual customer projects that I look forward to seeing every week. What they have done is made me “feel” emotion about the relationship. Now I care.
Marketing is an art
Marketing is an art and has always been. It’s also hard work. Sure we’ve tried to turn it into pure science and determine success based on open rates, click rates, A/B testing and other analytics, all of which is useful information. But it’s not enough.
What you need is a compelling story to tell. Before you can even begin to create a difference for your audience you need a product or service your audience can actually care about and love talking about.
In our digital world, customers exchange things that can be far more valuable than cash, things like time, loyalty, content, ideas and endorsements. It’s time we help our audience not just buy from us but actually care about us and believe in what we do.
Following are the key challenges we’ve identified:
- “Creating difference is not about finding a new, improved way of beating your competition. It’s about reimagining what it means to be the competition.” — Bernadette Jiwa
- Creating difference is about seeing things in a new light. It’s about re-imagining what the problem or need might be, and then deciding that you will solve this problem.
- This is an invitation to matter to your customers, readers and clients.
- The consumer is in control of the conversation. Create a brand that they care about and they are more likely to engage with you.
- Ignore the market of everyone. “You need to create ideas and experiences that give people reasons to care and to belong. not just reasons to choose.” — Bernadette Jiwa
- People for the most part don’t want to be sold on the reasons you think your brand is better. What they want is for you to make a difference and show them how you can affect their life.
- When your strategy is around creating a difference, not just to be different, the result is difficult to replicate.
- People buy the fortune, not the cookie. Therefore we should work harder to provide content that creates a difference for our customers and take them on a journey. Creating a difference is not just noticed; it’s experienced and felt.
- Should you be paying for story and context if those are the things people care about?
Let’s discuss some ideas for defining and telling your story?
Resources and References
Gary Vaynerchuk, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How To Tell Your Story – Harper Business, 2013
Seth Godin, Permission Marketing – Simon & Schuster, 1999