There are lots of new ways to market these days; inbound marketing, internet marketing, social media marketing, content marketing blah blah blah marketing.
Often, people can get somewhat seduced by others spruiking the benefits of new approaches. "We MUST be on social media!" or "Get on board with Content Marketing".
I tutor at university in marketing in my spare time (Hah! spare time?) so I'm pretty well versed in the fundamental theory of marketing and digital marketing. I also have a Master of Marketing (with Distinction). But enough about me, I'm blushing ...
The reason I tell you this is because I see a lot of people worrying about new approaches to marketing and forgetting the fundamentals. One of the first things I cover of in workshops I run on content marketing is that people can't forget the fundamentals. They have not changed. They are your foundation.
I see, however, many people not focussing on the foundations and then wondering why their marketing isn't working and their business isn't growing.
One thing I have noticed recently is that a lot of business owners and managers are talking about how they are realising the importance of the customer and getting back to what they want and making them central. WTF?! Did you even pay attention at Uni?
Here's Marketing 101 on speed.
- Your customers have a problem.
- You create a solution that solves that problem (product/service).
- You price it at a good point (value).
- You promote it and get it to them easily.
If it is a service then you also need to think about:
- the people delivering the service;
- the physical environment the service is delivered in; and
- the process you put the customer through to receive the process.
The Marketing Mix
I've just covered off the marketing mix for you. It's in the first chapter of any Intro to Marketing textbook. One thing you may have noticed is that it all started with the customer and grew out. The customer is the central focal point.
As soon as you start focussing on what you want, instead of what the customer wants, you will start to lose your way. Any new approaches to marketing still need to keep the customer central.
The marketing mix described above can be viewed as quite sales focused i.e. if we get all that right then we get a sale. We know, however, that the buyer decision process can often be a bit long. That's because people need to get to a point where they trust you and they often do this online.
That's why content marketing is so important. It allows you, mostly in an online environment, to demonstrate your expertise and build trust (without pressuring the potential customer with sales messages).
Customers buy on their time, not on your time. They buy when they want and they have the ability to keep you at arm's length these days by only interacting with your brand online to begin with.
That's why content marketing is so powerful but it still needs to provide fundamental value. Often we think of the value exchange as the customer will pay an amount that they see value in and you'll accept that amount because you'll made a profit.
You, however, need to get waaaaay upstream in the buyer decision process and think about what valuable content you can create at each point that helps your potential customers move closer to choosing you.
That's why, whenever we are about to create a piece of content, before we post it, we should be asking "Why would anyone care about this?".
Back To Basics
Don't forget the basic people. Don't go chasing the next new shiny marketing ball if you don't have solid foundations.
Put your customer back in the centre as the most important thing in your business.