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What Successful Marketers Do

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing, News

The restauranteur wants people to feel at home when they dine at his cafe. He furnishes it with a communal table filled with jars of decadent preserves. Diners help themselves to as much as they want without having to ask the wait staff for more.

The technology company wants to make women feel more at ease when they’re buying big ticket electrical items. They understand smells affect consumer behaviour, so orange and vanilla scent is diffused throughout their stores.

The fitness brand knows people are more likely to exercise when it feels less like work. They create an immersive group experience that makes exercising more pleasurable and fun, so members return more often.

Successful marketers act with intention. They deliberately connect strategy and tactics to the outcomes they, and more importantly, their customers, want to achieve. They begin with the end in mind and work backwards.

We have to change how people feel before we can hope to change what they do. We often try to skip this step. It takes courage and time to deliberately connect your brand story to a well thought through strategy—but it’s worth the effort. What end do you have in mind?

Image by Enrique Céspedes

Ten Things Your Competitors Don’t Do

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing


1. Obsess about how their products and services make customers feel.
2. Help people to ‘buy in’ and belong (not just to buy).
3. Make something that’s not for everyone.
4. Question how they could do it better.
5. Listen twice as much as they talk.
6. Do what they say they will do.
7. Play the long game.
8. Deliberately delight.
9. Practice empathy
10.Care more

It takes disciplined effort to create meaningful value—but it’s worth it.

Image by Yelp Inc.

Why How We Buy Matters

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

Forty years ago when Mr Ryan the greengrocer was thinking about his marketing strategy he didn’t have as much to consider as we do today. His customers were locals. They arrived on foot, only bought what they could carry and shopped every day. It was important to have fresh produce, a ready smile and time to chat and connect. Mr Ryan knew he could often upsell a fresh cream doughnut to Mrs Howard when she came in for a loaf of bread and a quarter pound of ham. In a world before 7-Eleven convenience stores, Mr Ryan didn’t have the challenge of being found. He didn’t have to be more convenient or cheaper. He simply had to open the doors. His marketing strategy was simple. Sell what people are buying when they’re buying it.

Of course, things are very different today. Everything about the business of marketing becomes more nuanced when it’s possible to get a litre of ice cream delivered to your door at midnight, without having cash in your wallet or shoes on your feet. Your customers and clients aren’t as predictable or as transparent as Mr Ryan’s. You have to consider how they buy, not just what and when they buy. You have to go deeper.

How does your customer’s evolving world shape and alter how you do business? How will businesses like yours thrive in the future by meeting not just the wants and needs of customers, but also by understanding their lives, habits and behaviour?

Image by Taylor Herring.

The Patient Marketer

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

The couple are examining winter jackets on a rail in the department store when the sales assistant makes a beeline for them. ‘What size are we looking for?’ he says, helpfully. They explain that they’re just looking, but he continues to follow them around offering assistance. So they excuse themselves and leave.

Marketing works best when we help people to get what they want when they want it. Trust and timing are an essential part of any marketing strategy, and patience is one of the most useful qualities a marketer can cultivate.

Image by Mike Melrose.

What Are Your Customers Looking For?

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

We are sometimes in the dark about what our customers want, so we make assumptions or ask them in the hope of happening upon the truth. There is a third way to get closer to our customers—one we regularly overlook. People’s actions and reactions can reveal more about their internal dialogue than their words. When did you last spend time watching what your customers do?

As an author, I spend an unhealthy amount of time in bookstores. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen someone take a thick book from the shelf, feel the heft of it in their hand—then put it back. I can almost hear them thinking they’ll never get through it. Sometimes I get chatting to them and ask them what they’re looking for. Most of the time they don’t know.

Try this. Head down to your nearest department store, cafe, gym or wherever your customers are. Then stand back and watch what they do. Are they feeling garments before they check prices? Are they more likely to make a purchase if they’re alone or with someone? Are they looking for something specific? Do they compare prices with online retailers on their smartphone? Do they buy what they came in for? The list of questions, observations and potential insights are endless.

We tend to think of our customers as intentional, rational human beings—which is why we spend a lot of our time marketing to their heads. We make and market better products and services by working harder to get a glimpse of their hearts.

Image by mgstanton.

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