Interesting graphic today from HubSpot on how marketing is loveable. I’m not sure when marketing became a 4 letter word, but I agree marketing spruced up its image with the rise of social media.
Of course, understand that only a small fraction of most company’s marketing spend is for social media — and much of that is done really BADLY — ie. not loveable marketing that is still disruptive and me-oriented.
Marketing should have never been a 4 letter word if marketers understood marketing (or maybe it’s more a function of CEO’s understanding marketing).
When Marketing is Loveable it SOLVES PROBLEMS
And, when marketing solves consumer problems, everyone benefits — the firm and its stakeholders benefit from increased sales, consumers benefit from having their problems solved, government benefits from increased taxes.
But, somewhere along the road to modernity, marketers forgot their primary directive was to solve problems and instead, focused on selling product — no matter WHAT it took. The relationship marketing concept supposedly embraced by firms sought to change the notion of selling to one of building relationships with consumers built on trust, product quality, and superior service.
Instead, it was easier (and cheaper) for firms to trick consumers into buying mediocre products from indifferent service providers and pay lip service to relationship building. Social media marketing quickly uncovers the fraud of this approach; finally forcing firms to CARE about consumers.
So, the question is:
How do I make sure my marketing is loveable?
1. Superior customer service
Sometimes folks forget that marketing is SO much more than advertising. And customer service is a good example of how non-advertising aspects of marketing deeply affect sales.
I mean, think about it. How often have you left a restaurant or store swearing you’d never return because the service provider was rude, slow, poorly trained …?
I walked out of Wendy’s last week after being ignored by a half-dozen employees who were too busy laughing at their own jokes and a counter clerk on a personal call to wait on the customers at the counter. I walked next door to their competition and I’ll never go back. Face it, consumers have LOTS of choices and you’re just not that special. Mess up and I’ll just give your competition my money. When you multiply this by the number of customers getting bad service and you see the monumental impact of poor service on profits.
2. Understand what customers want
How can you solve consumer problems and give them what they want if you DON’T UNDERSTAND them? Obviously, you can’t. But, when was the last time you spent significant effort trying to understand your target market? Not, tracking the effect of your advertising on customer attitudes — really getting to know your target market?
My guess is it’s been a long time (or never) since you really tried to understand your target market. People point fingers at Apple products because they’re too expensive and not as good as other brands. All true, yet Apple sales soar while Microsoft posted its first quarterly loss earlier this month. Why do people buy expensive, inferior Apple products, such as iPhone, rather than less expensive, better performing alternatives, like Android phones? Because Apple understands its target market and gives them exactly what they want.
3. Innovate, innovate, innovate
Customer problems, technology, and the environment change over time. If you’re still offering the same great products, you’re loosing ground. Intel, for instance, states that most of its income comes from products that didn’t even exist at the beginning of the year.
But, just innovating isn’t enough. You have to use your customer understanding to create innovative products to solve consumer problems. New isn’t the goal. Solving new problems or solving them better is. Look at Zuckerberg (Facebook). He wasn’t a freakin’ genius. Facebook wasn’t a NEW idea. What was new was the interface that made creating a profile and connecting with “friends” intuitive. And this is what made Facebook a huge success and squashed MySpace like a bug.
Consumers are PEOPLE, not numbers on a spreadsheet. Engage them in conversation. Ask their opinion. Have them create content for you. This is where HubSpot really got it right in their graphic.
5. Be a good corporate citizen
Gone are the days when consumers would accept corporations that polluted our environment, made their products in sweat shops (ie. Nike), and endangered consumers with bad products. Marketing is loveable when corporations act responsibly.
For example, I go to McDonald’s most of the time when I want fast food. Granted, their food is only mediocre and their service minimally acceptable, but they’re GREAT corporate citizens. Not only does McDonald’s support the Ronald McDonald House, it donates to many local and national charities through corporate donations and in-kind donations of food. Restaurant employees are encouraged to “Adopt” a road to clean trash thrown out by consumers because trash bearing your logo is bad business. McDonald’s also voluntarily reduced the calories and increased the nutrition in their Happy Meal by reducing the size of the fries and adding sliced apples.
So, now you see how marketing is loveable. I hope you try some of these tactics soon. Let me know how it goes. Loveable marketing doesn’t happen overnight, but, over time you should see sales increase.