Have you ever tried to have a phone conversation with someone who is speeding down the highway with the windows down? You pretty much feel like you’re listening to Charlie Brown’s teacher—“Wa Wat Wa Want Wa Wa…,” and no matter how loud you talk or they respond, you just can’t make heads or tails of what they are saying. Too many times, we think that yelling a little louder at our clients will grab their attention and magically pull them to our doors, or digital storefronts. Today in the world of “tweet” this, “like” that, and “+1” please, our clients just want some quiet intimacy. Everyone is vying for their attention, yet they have so little to give.
I was recently fortunate enough to attend Content Marketing World 2012-a conference where today’s marketing giants, like Kraft and GM, share insights on the advertising world today. A resounding theme throughout the two and a half day gathering was on RELEVANCE—the RIGHT MESSAGE, to the RIGHT PERSON, at the RIGHT TIME. “Well, thank you Marketing Guru! You just read page one of my Marketing 101 text book!” is probably what’s going through your head right now. I know, I know, that phrase has been over-used in the marketing and advertising arena. Interestingly enough I found a new perspective on this concept. In Marketing, it’s about KNOWING your audience to deliver relevant content to them in an intimate and direct way; NOT guessing what your clients want or trying to create an unnecessary need for your client. It’s about centering yourself, as a company, and truly understanding the WHAT, HOW, AND WHY of what you do, and then understanding those same concepts about your client.
Ahh, that’ s right—You can’t just assume that your client is going to listen to your endless stream of junk marketing pieces bullet pointing the services that you offer and inviting them to come sit at your table so you can tell them how badly their organization needs you. TAKE THE CAR OFF CRUISE CONTROL, ROLL UP THE WINDOWS, AND TAKE A HOLD OF THE STEERING WHEEL. Listen to what your clients are asking and saying and stop playing the age-old game of twisting what they are saying to make it fit into a cookie cutter mold that you’ve created.
Here are some ideas to get you re-engaged with your customer:
-Read Trend Reports on your client’s industry, and see what current challenges they may be facing
-Create a focus group of customer’s within the same vertical market and find out what they need most from you
-Data: If you aren’t collecting data from your clients, website traffic, and marketing results—SHAME ON YOU (the same goes if you are collecting it and not using it). See when clients are buying and find out what spurs the trends…then set a game plan to work those ebbs and flows of business to better market at the right time to your customers.
-Be the “Go-To Person” for your industry. Collect FAQ’s and list them on your website as a reference and don’t be afraid to mention your competition and show the comparisons. If you’re doing it right someone Google searching for your competition may actually end up on your website.
-Don’t give up. Marketing is one step and one mistake at a time…before you know it you’ll create best practices for your company which are tried and true.
A big thank you to Heather Leifheit, our very well informed Account Manager for the content of this blog!