Traditional Marketing is Dead. What to Do Instead.
Have you ever been in a situation where you had to make a major buying decision for your company? It’s a multi-step journey of research, reviews, and recommendations, with lots of questions and investigation along the way to a final decision. Your decision to buy is influenced by the messaging, content, and perceptiveness of the vendor.
A solid marketing strategy recognizes how to navigate all of the touchpoints along a buyer’s journey to create trust and clarity while gaining consumer confidence and eventually sealing the deal.
According to a MECLABS Study (known worldwide for testing the market), 75% of customers do not believe companies tell the truth. Consequently, 63% of marketers feel traditional branding methods have lost their effectiveness. So how do we proceed with a solid marketing plan? What do prospects REALLY want?
When people hear the word “marketing,” it has a negative connotation for some who feel that they are not getting the whole truth. They think they are treated like a “target” and not a person. Exaggerated claims of greatness feel false, and instead of a sale, you’re likely to be relegated to the “hype” trash bin.
So how to define “traditional marketing”? Traditional marketing is based on an outbound strategy that includes but is not limited to cold calling, cold emailing, and interruptive tactics. Let’s go ahead and flip the script to “Inbound Marketing Methodology,” as illustrated in the infographic below.
Replace persuasion with clarity. Don’t sell, but SAY. Pay attention to your language and conversational style when marketing a new product or service. Using an overly formal tone will only result in someone feeling a lack of connection to what you’re trying to promote. Keep it conversational and relatable. (You’re not writing a thesis here).
Serving as Sponsorship Chair on the Microsoft Dynamics Directions Board, I have reviewed messaging that many sponsors submitted for their blind emails, kiosks, etc. Many tout the features of their product instead of the problem their product solves for the customer.
Our job is to build content that attracts, not demands, attention. We do this by building momentum in creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them.
Best Practices to Accelerate Your Marketing
How to Create a Buyer Persona:
I’ve blogged before about how vital creating buyer personas is in generating leads. To break it down a bit more, here are three areas to consider. One of these offers the most relevant insights (can you guess which one?), but all ways offer up critical intelligence for marketers.
Consult Internal Resources
These resources include the sales, product/marketing, and customer support teams. Consulting internal resources is a fast and straightforward approach to leveraging existing information. However, the information you gather is probably what you already have ascertained and may not lead to many new insights, but it is still valuable information.
Leverage Existing Knowledge
This knowledge comes from various channels, including online surveys, social media, web searches, analyst reports, web analytics, etc. It’s a low-cost way to validate existing opinions and gather more statistical data. Unfortunately, it doesn’t collect or reflect offline buying behavior; it focuses on historical online behavior and responses to internally generated questions, which misses new insights.
I’ve found that the method that provides the most relevant information is buyer interviews. How can we find people to interview? The best buyers to interview for buyer personas are those who have just chosen to buy your solution. You can also include those who decided not to buy anything or those who bought from competitors.
Because these buyers have just been through the buying process, they can be precise about how they evaluated your solution and the others available to them. They will give you rich insights into their positive and negative attitudes towards your offer and your competitors. Plus, they can detail each step in the buying process and the resources they consulted to make a purchase decision. Focus on learning what the buyers’ needs are. Knowing what matters to them and how your product or service will solve their problem is essential to maintain their respect.
A good salesperson naturally finds out this kind of information as they work a lead. Now it is marketing’s job to use this information to create the right content to attract prospects.
Buyer Persona Questions to Ask
Who do they turn to for advice or information?
What’s the value they visualize once they make a decision?
Who do they have to sell change to in order to get it?
What could cause the need for this change to lose priority?
What’s important to them, and what is driving this change?
What’s impeding or speeding their need to change?
How do they go about change?
What do they need to know to embrace change?
With these answers, you can begin to craft a buyer persona profile that lays out the buyer’s journey to allow you to create and match content through various and appropriate distribution channels. At this stage, it’s best to keep it brief and educational (vs. promotional). Once you distribute the content, data analysis kicks in, and you can analyze the results and adjust and repeat, as necessary.
For more information, refer to our blog, Buyer Personas: What They Are and Why They Matter to Your Marketing (saegermarketing.com).