The Marketing Bureau

Specialist Marketing & Communications Resourecs



Marketers - Stop Obsessing About Technology

By Brian H Meredith 

Adopting a “digital mindset” is not going to deliver sudden miracles. The only sure way to succeed in the long-term is to understand what people really want – get to know their attitudes, behaviours and motivations; their hopes, dreams and fears – and then learn how to deliver value in the context of those peoples’ daily lives.

And that has been what constitutes “marketing” for decades. So old fashioned, eh?

No. Definitely not.

The digital world, including social media, sits under the heading of “how”. Not “what”. It is a series of channels. An environment in which relationships can be built. A mechanism for effectively communicating with customers and potential customers (communicating back & forth, not just talking at).

As has been the case with all media, all channels and all environments for decades, simply yelling a message that says, “Pick me. I’m Bigger. Better. Cheaper” does not work, never has done and never will do.

When did you last set out to answer the following four questions:

Q1          What business am I in?

Q2          What am I selling?

Q3          Who am I selling it to?

Q4          Why should they want to buy it anyway?

Q1          What Business Am I In?

Inputs or outcomes? Drills or holes? Food or nutrition? Drinks or refreshments? Customers are far more interested in the “what” than the “how”. And it is the “what” that defines your business. Not the “how”.

Q2          What Am I Selling?

It’s important to sell so much more than price. Value, yes. Price, no. Value is a package. Price just cuts Value out. Quality, innovation, reliability, usability and a bunch of other factors need to come into the mix with price often included but never being the primary or only factor.

Q3          Who Am I Selling It To?

How much do you know about your customer base? About your potential customer base? Do you understand who they are? Where they are? What matters to them? What their attitudes & behaviours are? What their needs & wants are? What their problems and opportunities are?

Q4          Why Should They Want To Buy It Anyway?

Because it fulfils a need or resolves a problem. Know what they are amongst your customers and potential customers? If you fully understand a need and then go to market with a genuine solution to that need, you have nailed it. Ask them to pick you because you’re cheaper will never do it.

Sorted all the above?

Then move onto the next big step – develop a single minded proposition and make it come alive in a compelling way.

And do this BEFORE you start to develop a channel strategy. Why? Because delivering your single minded proposition has a gazillion different options in terms of channels, articulation, tone of voice, promises & commitments etc.

And this is now even tougher in the digital world – ads still work but connections, relationships and investment in your customers and potential customers now needs a great deal of thought and planning.

It’s not OK just to be in the space. You need to listen a lot more than you talk. That way you reduce the risk of irritating customers and you learn a great deal more about them.

And then engage with them. Offer benefits, facts, interesting and compelling perspectives, engaging stories, demonstrate your understanding of their relevant problems and opportunities. And then, in an appropriate manner and appropriate environment, deliver your proposition – make it simple, compelling and single minded. And track market responses to that proposition.

As I have said often before, the concept and practice of marketing has not changed and will not change. It is only the channels, methods and nature of content that has changed. A lot. Time to fully understand it and learn how to respond to those changes.

And then you will win.



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