Last week I went on a hunt for the perfect little black dress. It had to be something timeless and classic. A garment that would look great no matter how many trends it went through. To me, fashion fads should be reserved for the accessories. Like the little black dress, there are certain marketing fundamentals that should stand the test of time. Today, we are experiencing a monumental shift in the marketing world. Consumers are taking control with the use of new technologies and companies are learning to change to the new environment. But this changes the accessories - not the dress.
In my opinion, marketing is and always will be:
- A process - Marketing is the process of converting leads (people who have no idea who you are) into prospects (people who are aware of your product or service and may consider purchasing from you when the time is right). Effective marketing campaigns view their process as a series of activities executed consistently over time. A steady flow of information from many angles helps ensure brand awareness and top-of-mind customer thinking.
- Getting the right product or service to the right people - Remember the saying "If you try to be all things to everyone, you'll be nothing to nobody?" How true. Not everyone will love your product or service and that's ok - different strokes for different folks. Your goal is to make your product or service the best it can be for your audience.
- Great communication - OK, here's where I get a chance to toot my own horn for a bit. You can have the best product or service in the world, but if you can't explain WHY it's the best, you may be in for a sales slump. What's that? You'd like a few tips? Here you go - avoid jargon, keep your words at a 4th grade level or less, less is more, inject personality, alliteration is an awesome alternative, step into your customer's shoes, speak in benefits instead of features, read lots of stuff that is in the style you're trying to write.....the list goes on.
- An exercise in empathy - 99% of effective marketing is understanding what your customer really wants. What motivates them? How to they speak? What keeps them up at night? The more deeply you understand your clients, the higher your chances are your prospects will connect with your brand.
- A balance of price and quality - Some people shop at Wal-Mart, others at Tiffany's - and it's for very different reasons. Do you compete on price - offering a comparable product or service at less than your competition? Or are you a quality provider where customers are willing to pay more because of the enhanced product or experience?
Once you have the dress, then you can snazz it up with the spiffy accessories Web 2.0 has to offer. Although you may get tired of the bracelet - the dress (and your marketing fundamentals) are timeless.