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The Hallmarks Of Good Marketing

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy, Marketing

A real estate agent can generate more interest in a property by listing it well below the expected selling price. Underquoting is sometimes used as a marketing tactic to create a heightened sense of urgency in prospective buyers who don’t want to miss out. When the property sells for 30% above the quoted price range, the agent can fool himself (and his vendors) into thinking that this was simply the result of a good marketing campaign. Disappointed buyers don’t see it that way.

Good marketing attempts to inform, not deceive. A good marketer sets out to help buyers, not to confuse them. Good marketers add value. They don’t just close the sale. Good marketing is not a short-term sales tactic, it’s part of a long-term business building strategy.

Our job is to leave people feeling better for having worked with us. Good marketing starts with the intention to do just that.

Image by Robert Bell

Marketing Forwards

filed in Brand Story, Marketing

Lachie was a half-decent painter and decorator, but what he really had going for him was his youth and enthusiasm. He’d been in business long enough to reap some reward for his efforts, but not so long that he’d experienced the bust that inevitably followed the boom in Western Australia. Lachie had an easygoing nature. When other tradies ominously shook their heads and pursed their lips, Lachie just smiled and said nothing was a problem. It was no wonder that he’d talked himself into building a thriving business.

It wasn’t until Lachie started work painting our kitchen that I realised just how much he loved to talk. I quickly learned working from my home office was a bad idea if we wanted the job finished on time. Before the smartphone, Lachie had talkback radio for company while he worked, but the iPhone opened up a whole new world. Now he could simultaneously paint a ceiling and chat with a friend on his phone. I will never forget the morning when he spent an entire hour telling a friend about the new accounting software he was using. He waxed lyrical about how much time it saved him on invoicing. But not only that, he’d increased his customer conversion rate by using this new software for quoting. He was getting better at following up on overdue accounts, and his cashflow had improved as a result. Lachie had become a walking, talking advert for Xero overnight. He even made sure his friend noted the correct spelling. ‘Zero with an ‘x’, not a ‘z’.

As marketers, we spend a lot of time on the story we tell. We obsess about what we can say to convince more people to buy our products and services, often forgetting that the best marketing is about giving the customer a story to tell. Your marketing doesn’t happen once the product is ready to stack on the shelf. It can start by being clear about the story you want a prospective customer to tell and then working backwards to create that result.

What will your future customer tell his friend about how your product or service changed his life or worldview tomorrow? Design for that today.

Image by David Meurin


The Difference Between A Weak Brand And A Strong Brand

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy, Marketing

The biggest mistake a brand can make is to try being all things to everyone. Weak brands settle for doing what’s easy or obvious. They appeal to the market of everyone, avoid the edges and thus become interchangeable with their competitors.

Strong brands know they are this and not that. They intentionally aspire to be something to someone and so become irreplaceable to their customers.

Who’s your someone? What do you want to be to them?

Image by Nathan Makan

Squaring The Marketing Circle

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

The ‘60% OFF’ signs had attracted shoppers to the empty stall. Sales assistants tried to turn browsers into buyers by offering to help. One prospective customer asked if they had any circular rugs in the sale. The assistant showed her a square rug instead. “These are only $100,” she said.

In the past, we’ve relied on the notion that marketing and sales are about making people want something. In a digital world of infinite choices, we’re coming to realise that it’s easier to make something people want.

A sale happens in two stages. Stage one is a deep understanding of the customer we want to serve. Stage two is the act of engaging with that customer.

Successful marketers do both.

Image by eatswords

What The Best Marketers Do

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

I’m not sure when our attitude to marketing shifted. But it’s likely that it coincided with our ability to buy attention. The price of reaching more eyes and ears on flyers and billboards, radio and TV, seemed cheap compared to the effort of earning customer loyalty day after day.

The great marketers of two generations ago knew a reputation could not be easily bought—but it could be quickly destroyed. They didn’t try to be seen. They devoted the majority of their time helping their customers to feel seen.

That’s what the best marketers still do. They don’t shout, ‘look at me’. They whisper, ‘I see you’.

Image by Jeff Stvan

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