The subject of marketing is ever changing, as are the technological developments that support marketers today. Since embarking on my career as a Marketing Assistant in 1998, when cleansing databases and stuffing envelopes filled the bulk of my day, I have observed major shifts and changes in approach and practice. Information is everywhere. How can your business and message stand out from the crowd? Below are my top four classic tips for remaining effective in a highly competitive and changing business world.
Put your customers at the heart of everything you do
Many people make the mistake of being too descriptive, and ultimately describing the wrong things in their marketing efforts. Your customers want to know that you understand their issues and problems, and that you have a solution to those problems. Therefore, all campaigns, web pages or collateral and wider messaging should be structured to meet their needs. Make sure that the message is consistent across all forms of communication – and where possible, develop and grow that message to encourage buy-in and response from your audience.
The best marketers tell stories
The best brands tell stories. Why? Simply because people buy feelings! A charity might sell a feeling of hope and compassion. A financial institution might sell a feeling of security and reliability. Our unconscious mind deals with feelings like motivation, trust, desire and confidence – and exerts more influence in the buying process than our conscious mind. So in developing your business or brand, think about how you want your target audience to ‘feel’. Great examples of brands that do this effectively are Mr Kipling’s Cakes with his ‘exceedingly good cakes’ stories (there is even now a Mrs Kipling), and the British Heart Foundation in its recent campaign featuring Vinnie Jones.
Move with the times
The internet has revolutionised marketing approaches. I firmly believe that a website should sit at the heart of all of your marketing efforts. Businesses need to drive traffic through that site, to enable customers to find out more and complete a call to action. Email campaigns, Twitter posts and Facebook can all drive traffic to your site. Interesting and relevant content can be posted by external sources and again drive traffic to your site, making your website more effectively optimised for Google rankings. On the subject of content, traditional PR or print media is in decline, and it’s about optimising your messaging for use on the web. By adopting the practices above online, you will be able to reach a wide and relevant audience as well as network effectively. Of course, print still has a place in marketing, but work with and reflect your budgets accordingly to reflect the need and change.
Less is more
As a marketer, you have a limited window of opportunity to catch someone’s attention. Today this is compounded by the impact of ‘information overload’, where brand and marketing messages are being delivered by more channels than ever before. How do you make your message crisp and crystal clear to your audience? There are some basic rules you can apply and I always adopt the POWER rules before drafting any communications:
POWER has helped me to develop six basic principles when working with communications:
- Think before you write – get your mind clear and organised before you start.
- Who are you writing for and what is the objective of the communication?
- What is it that you want to say?
- Get the most important information or message in first! If you’re inviting someone to an event, tell them that first.
- Less is always more. Don’t over complicate your writing with words you don’t need. Reassess along the way and cut words out if you don’t really need them. This helps your audience to pick out the core messages.
- Always have someone review and proof your work; two brains are better than one.
Joanne Pinkney is Group Marketing and Communications Director for Tribal Group and has worked in Marketing for 15 years. Joanne has a degree in Marketing and is close to completing a Post Graduate Certificate in Leadership Practice. Joanne works full time and is a mother to Joseph, who is three, and is married to Philip.
Tel: 07970 060686