Enough about me…tell me about you

The title of this blog is a mindset that a lot of businesses AND their Marketing people, whether internal or external, can benefit from incorporating more often. There’s a transition point where your marketing messages become more about your market than your business or your products…and this mindset is that point.

The same point also marks the move from mere Marketing concepts to a holistic Communications view. Sure, Marketing considers the target audiences, triggers to buy and how to reach them effectively. I’m gonna get slayed by my fellow marketers for saying this, but that just isn’t enough consideration to develop a valid, effective message. It might be valid in consideration of you and what your business does…but you’re not the recipient of this message, are you?

True Communications practitioners incorporate a degree of psychology that includes behaviour change, cognition, connotation, reinforcement, group think and the down-n-dirty “art” of persuasion that is lost on most pure marketers. Let’s use YOUR most recent marketing efforts as an example – what was your message? Was it about YOUR products, YOUR features and why they’re so great? Was it geared toward your target demographics and their traits?

That’s a great step in the right direction, but don’t you get the feeling that you should be able to connect better and “speak” to your target audiences directly? the way you speak to people face-to-face directly? I don’t mean to go door knocking. What I mean is…the words you choose to communicate, the way you speak them and your interaction in a face-to-face conversation are so personalised to the listener. In your Marketing practices, aren’t you just speaking? Aren’t they just listening? So what’s the difference? The difference is in the varied audience members, right?

Wrong. This is your first mistake…you’ve segmented your market based on socio-geographic factors. But is your message on “the importance of continuing education” to a 24-year-old Indonesian girl new to Australia really much different from the message for a 43-year-old mother who’s been at home raising kids for 20 years? Not really. “But that’s what marketing says to do,” you say?

True. And that makes Marketing a substantial piece of the Communications pie, but let’s go further. What if we break your market down based on their motivation to buy instead of their buying activity? What do the migrant girl and the mother have in common about THEIR NEED for continued education? Probably the same as an early school leaver – “It’s time to start from scratch. I’ve got to get a job. University costs too much time and money. What are my options?”

That’s their motive, but what about people who already went to Uni and have a job? What’s their motive look like? Maybe they want to change jobs. Maybe they need a piece of paper documenting their competency for a promotion. They might be filling in for an OH&S supervisor who’s going on maternity leave and need some training.

So, if you look at your target audiences’ motivation, and WHY they would choose to engage with you and your product(s), you might find a whole new audience to target. From there, speak to them…not about you and your stuff. Make it clear that you understand their motivation and that they (call to action ->) should get in touch by clicking, calling, emailing or walking through the door to find the right product.

You’re an expert in your field, and your marketing message doesn’t need to tell people that. Your practice should tell people that. Give them your expertise when they engage, and take it easy on telling them they should buy your stuff because of how great it is. They’re the expert of their needs after all, THEY will tell YOU how good your product is. Just pay attention 🙂

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