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This IS Marketing

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

As I boarded the long-haul flight, I kept my fingers crossed that I’d get some sleep before we landed. So it was a relief when my fellow passenger, Don, declared his intention to do the same. We agreed that we weren’t anti-social, just two pragmatists trying to come away from the journey in the best shape we could. But halfway through dinner, probably as we were flying over Singapore, my travelling companion seemed to change his mind. Don started opening up about the difficult meeting he was heading to as soon as we landed the next day. He and his business partners ran a successful engineering company, but they couldn’t agree on the best strategy for ensuring its sustainable growth. Don was worried about what would happen next. He sensed trouble ahead.

After he realised he’d been talking about himself for quite some time, Don apologised and asked the question we, especially us marketers, love to hate. ‘So, what do you do?’ It’s always easier to answer this question if your job title is your job, even if the title doesn’t convey your contribution to your community and the world. As marketers, many of us have the added problem of almost feeling ashamed of the answer. When I told Don I worked ‘in marketing’ his posture shifted.
‘Oh, that’s all just smoke and mirrors,’ he said.

The irony, of course, is that we’re all ‘in marketing’. Don is too. Marketing isn’t only about selling. Marketing is about helping. It’s about having the courage to show up with vulnerability. It’s about telling stories that change people. It’s about helping them to make decisions they won’t later regret. Marketing done right is an act of generosity. It’s work that matters for people who care. But that’s not the marketing most people experience and not the kind of marketing many people practice. It’s up to us to do better. To do marketing we’re proud of. Because we can.

If you’re on a quest to do work that matters for people who care and if you want to be a proud marketer, then Seth Godin’s new book This Is Marketing is for you.

It’s impossible to quantify the impact Seth’s work has had on millions of people around the world. People like you and me. I wish I’d had a copy to Seth’s new book to give to Don on that flight. I know it would have helped him and his colleagues reach the place they wanted to go. I know it will help you too.

The Right Customer

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy, Marketing

A lot has changed in the six months since I last walked through the Melbourne suburb of Albert Park. New cafes have opened. Others have closed their doors. Some established cafes have queues of people waiting for tables, while several, just a few hundred metres down the street, are empty.

There’s no doubt that the best business ideas are a combination of the right product, launched at the right time. But even if a product or service ticks those two boxes, its success and longevity are still dependent on attracting and retaining the right customers.

We spend a lot of time thinking about and working on products and services, fixtures and fittings, design and marketing. We don’t spend enough time getting clear on who our ideal customer is, what they want from us today, and what will keep them coming back tomorrow. We can only begin to tell our story effectively when we understand the story of the person we’re trying to attract and delight. Who exactly is your right customer and why will he choose you?

Image by Garry Knight

The Feeling Customer

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy, Marketing


One of the mistakes we make when we’re building a business and communicating our value is to only create for the thinking customer and his rational mind. Messages that resonate deeply connect with people’s feelings. Beloved brands and successful businesses appeal to their customers’ hearts, not just their heads. Wants and needs. Dreams and requirements. Desires and demands. Apple resonated by using design. Starbucks did it with rituals. Airbnb leveraged belonging.

We don’t just persuade people to act. We move them to act.

How are you serving wants as well as needs?

Image by Garry Knight

Seeing And Hearing Vs. Being Seen And Heard

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy, Marketing


As children, we know that understanding what motivates our audience is the shortcut to getting attention. We seem to unlearn this ability to be empathetic communicators when being seen and heard becomes our main driver.

We have a better chance of being heard when we understand what the people we’re speaking to are open to hearing. We do that by asking ourselves better questions.

Four Important Messaging Questions

1. Who is this information for?
2. What do we want them to know?
3. Why do they need to know this?
4. What do we want them to do next?

Communication isn’t only about finding the right words.
It’s about finding the right reason to say them.

Image by Garry Knight

The Stages Of Change

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing


If you’ve ever tried to quit a bad habit or establish a new one, you know that change takes time. When it comes to creating change in our own lives, we cut ourselves some slack because we know that change is a process. And yet when it comes to our customers, we impatiently hurry them through the process. We try to persuade people to act before they’re ready.
The result is a failed marketing strategy.

The alternative is to understand where your audience or prospective customer is in their change process and to meet them where they are. Here are seven stages people can progress through as they alter their opinion or behaviour.


THE STAGES OF CHANGE

1. Acknowledgement
Recognition of the problem or unmet need.
2. Awareness
Acceptance that change is desirable and possible results in the investigation of potential solutions.
3. Agency
Motivation to change or decide intensifies.
4. Adoption
Decision to commit to a particular solution is made.
5. Action
Action taken results in behaviour or perception change.
6. Adherence
Sustained behaviour change results in habit creation, compliance or loyalty.
7. Advocacy
Success results in the development of brand affinity and product evangelism.

We can’t begin to influence people unless we’re prepared to meet them where they are on their journey.

Image by Garry Knight

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