By Bryan Adams, Founder & CEO at Ph.Creative
Marketers are creatures of habit.
With their own ideas of campaign maintenance and an internal view of how the industry should work, marketers often overlook powerful ways to produce meaningful and effective content. Just ask the under fire bosses at BHS and Austin reed who are reeling from their much publicised collapse.
This situation epitomises a stark truth: failing to remain relevant to your customers can result in meltdown. Ultimately, the inquest doesn’t start and finish with the marketing department, but you’d be hard pressed to find a failing brand that genuinely resonates with its consumers. To rub further salt in the wound, this was an avoidable outcome.
Marketers have an uncanny ability of falling through the same trapdoors time and again. In this article, you’ll find six damaging habits that marketers repeat over and over. As the saying goes, “In every mistake there is the potential for growth.”
Let’s find out how you can capitalise on the errors of others and breathe new life into your marketing strategies.
ONE: Personas – Who Are You Speaking To?
Marketers frequently misunderstand their target audience.
This results in ineffective marketing and wastes valuable time. It’s crucial to ascertain what type of content works for your customer base. Ask yourself a simple question: –“In a database populated with thousands of customers, will everyone gravitate to the same message?” Of course not! Writing one message to engage the masses is asking for trouble from the start.
The only way to break ground is to segment your audience. You can do this by establishing different personas within a larger group. This allows you to create more personalised material that resonates rather than alienates. Know where your customers hang out, what content they prefer to engage with, what their likes, dislikes and motivations are…This stuff is gold.
TWO: Quality – Raise Your Standards!
Time and again, marketers create content that lacks the punch and finesse to make a permanent mark.
This is particularly worrying for a space that is becoming more content driven by the day. Consider this: upwards of 1,000 scripts are rejected by senior Hollywood executives before a single idea is earmarked for investment. Whether you have a flair for the finger/keyboard tango or find it utterly laborious, you must start to think like the best. Would your blog article receive the nod from a Hollywood pro?
Remember, quality content is essential. If your content isn’t great, then it won’t stand out in today’s ‘always-on’ age. Hone your skill, raise your standards and focus on material that matters; this could save you a massive amount of time and resource.
THREE: Engage, Listen and Respond
Most marketers are great talkers but terrible listeners.
Real customer engagement comes from listening, following, contributing and adding real value to real people. It isn’t enough to post content on a whim, it has to be considered. Creating excellent social content can be achieved through well planned scheduling.
Of course, publishing content is only part of the puzzle. Responding to questions via social channels will drive tangible engagement and endear you to today’s connected consumer. Find the sweet spot and strike.
FOUR: Understand the Emotional Context
Many marketers simply fail to understand the emotional and rational context behind consumer decisions.
Context is crucial when defining your content as well as your audience. In fact, in order to develop the right content you first need to understand what the consumer actually wants. If you’re marketing to a pregnant mother, what’s the real emotional motivation behind her purchases? Put yourself in the shoes of consumers and see the world from their point of view.
Remember, your goal should be to delight, inspire, educate, entertain and convince consumers that you have something valuable to offer. Content for the sake of content is ill-advised and a waste of talent. Gain visibility through a more measured approach.
FIVE: Create a Positive Experience
Marketers can create great, timely content all day long, but if the end-user experience isn’t smooth and seamless then don’t expect return customers.
The experience of your audience is crucial - site speed, messaging, user journeys and appropriate content types for your audience all need to be treated with huge importance. If the experience for customers is fiddly, then it makes the quality of content, products and services much less effective and quite often irrelevant.
SIX: Tell a Story
Many marketers suffer from an infliction of overtly “salesy” advertising, which can come across as sleazy and distrustful.
People feel first and think second. In fact, studies show that emotional messages trigger reactions in the brain five times faster than rational messaging.
Statistics and infographics simply don’t tell the whole story. No matter how impressive, facts and figures are not as important as a purpose told story. Remember, telling is not selling.