The marketing mix is changing. Customers hold, at a minimum, high standards across three areas: choice, convenience, and customization. It means products and platforms that were once an easy sell are now experiencing higher consumer expectations. This is because new competitors with a fresh understanding of the market are making their way in and building with the “3 C’s” in mind.
Brands must focus on the fundamentals in addition to an exceptional product and overall experience. Once these boxes are checked, only then will companies have a solid value proposition.
The key to a successful marketing strategy lies in a marketer’s ability to combine their value proposition with a real-world experience that generates a return on investment.
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While the market’s repository of tactics and tools is large, here are three practices that can be considered for your next campaign or project:
1. Stories as differentiators
Marketing is psychological. Humanizing marketing through storytelling and narratives allows businesses to communicate their brand’s purpose. It’s what gives businesses the opportunity to truly connect with its customers. This applies no matter if a business is selling a product, a service, or hosting an event.
The marketplace is filled with numerous brands that sell the exact same product and that use a meek outer shell – custom branding and packaging – to differentiate. This means the novel and hype of being the first to create anything new in today’s climate has a short-lived shelf-life. Products can be copied and everything can be commoditized.
Products survive because their brand resonates with a segment of the market, a unique audience, and what makes a customer resonate with one brand in comparison to another is that brand’s unique story.
The future of marketing will continue to depend on differentiation in the brand story. Stories bring people together. If you and your audience share a similar belief system, this immediately gives your company an upper hand because there is built-in connection and trust.
Shared beliefs are what signal to a customer why they should buy your product. Therefore, as a marketer, and if all things are considered equal, your superpower is understanding why you do what you do and why your company operates the way it does.
It’s getting back to human behavioral science and psychology and being able to explain – visually, digitally, in print, and on-camera – why, as a brand, you’re here. If you can turn this understanding into a story and tactfully market it across the consumer journey, then your brand’s products and services will speak for itself but – you can’t storytell if you don’t know the story.
2. From CX to the product, offer customized experiences for your customers
Customers now require that your product can be customized to their needs. Offering options, whether online or in real life can be a make or break. The evolution of customization means taking time to understand what your customer wants, needs, and pain points include.
The best way to understand your audience is by getting to know them and championing their needs. The easiest way to do this is by talking to five to ten customers every single week. Learn and understand their pain points, wants, desires, and how your company can play a role in addressing them.
Better yet, look at how data and analytics can aid in customizing for individual customer types. Nobody wants to attend an event that’s not tailored to their needs or interests. Customization means the ability for discovery, engagement, and growth through more human connections.
PRO TIP, use events as part of the customer experience cycle.
In-person, hybrid, and virtual events offer businesses an easy way to build and maintain relationships. Different types of events, like an annual summit, product launch events, product training workshops, or a customer roundtable – can be used to help discover, engage and grow your customers.
3. Understand your sales team as a strategic partner focused on a combined human and revenue mindset
Being customer-centric is important but combining this effort with a focus on the bottom line means an integrated strategy headed toward success. The best internal resource to help determine the profitability of a marketing idea is your sales team. Loop them, share ideas and together, identify how to bring them to life.
Having a revenue-centric mindset will demonstrate you know what your role is as a marketer which is to connect customer needs with solutions that can then be monetized. At the end of the day, customer engagement and loyalty are the hallmark indicators of good business and as a marketer, what you should strive for. Revenue is simply the by-product.
The marketing toolkit is big. There are a copious amount of marketing tactics to deploy, but not all of them will serve your customer or your company. Voicing ideas with an understanding of how they will affect the bottom line will showcase your ability to effectively market and help your customers grow.
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