When the pipeline of good leads and prospects starts to dry up, businesses reach for the megaphone.
This is a metaphorical megaphone, of course. It’s the one that blasts marketing messages through PPC, social and direct channels. More volume means more attention, right?
But what if you’re not shouting things people want to hear? What if all your competitors are shouting the same stuff? Where does that leave your would-be customers?
You could end up like the guy walking up and down the High Street ranting about the coming end of the world, as people look away and go about their business.
Stop and think
Here’s what hardly ever happens: the business stops and asks whether the messages they are broadcasting are the right ones.
- Have we got a clear proposition that represents value to our customers?
- Have we really understood why customers do business with us and what matters most to them?
- Are we focusing too much on what our business wants to sell rather than what our customers want to buy?
- Have we understood what gets prospects’ attention and what persuades them they need to act now?
Too often in B2B marketing it’s all about the ‘what and the how.’ The why never gets a look in. The details and technicalities of the offer get all the attention.
Customer experience doesn’t get talked about. And yet, more often than not, customer experience is what people are buying.
A bigger marketing megaphone won’t help if you’re shouting a message that people don’t see any value in or don’t want to hear. And, as I’m sure you’ve realized, marketing megaphones can be expensive.
There’s certainly seems to be much more shouting going on. Digital Ad spend in the the first half of 2017 was £5.6bn. This was up 13.8% year on year (source: IAB). How much of that produced a satisfactory return, I wonder?
How many businesses took the trouble to really think through the marketing messaging before splurging the cash?
The Obsession with digital
The growth of digital channels offers many opportunities and also has a lot to answer for. Somehow the focus has become all about how to master and measure these channels. It should be about how they can be integrated into a marketing strategy, which starts with understanding your customers and what they need to hear.
It was refreshing to hear the new CMO of L’Oreal Stéphane Bérubé talking about having a balanced offline and online approach based around sound marketing principles.
Digital is not a strategy, it is a category of channels. The psychology and practice of marketing still apply.
An opportunity to be better
The chances are, your competitors are doing the same. Rather than revisit their proposition and the message they are shouting louder about themselves.
One option is to spend more time, money and energy hoping to out-shout the competition. Here you have the likelihood of diminishing returns as your marketing space gets noisier and noisier (see the ad growth stats above).
Or you could take a step back and make sure your message taps into the needs, wants and challenges of your customers. Engage the members of your team who are dealing with customers every day: what do customers ask about, what concerns them, what convinces them?
Examine how your customers behave. What interests them and what inspires them? What do they value, what do they want to associate themselves with? What gives them a sense of belonging and what are they seeking?
The words they are desperate to hear may not be the ones that you are currently screaming at them. So put the megaphone down for a while, take stock, and start a conversation about them.
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