There was a time when the influence of traditional advertising was great; consumers relied on Madison Avenue to educate their purchase decisions. Today, content generation and influence are in the hands of the people. The result of this democratization is significant for companies. Generating marketplace affinity for your brand requires a focus on building relationships with the people most important to your success, and these relationships are made of many interactions across mediums.
Whether you develop products or services, B2C or B2B, you are in the business of experiences. Experiences sell and, in fact, people will pay more when they feel confident of a positive encounter. When customers are faced with innumerable choices, experience wins. So much so, that the experience is the product.
Much of this experience takes place online. We’ve all heard stories of airlines rescuing the stranded customers of their competition via Twitter, or a company torpedoing its reputation with an insensitive online response to a customer complaint. Our connected culture has created these opportunities for sharing and engagement: buyers can assess a brand through its very visible online communication, influencers can guide others in making choices, detractors can air their grievances to a massive audience.
The good news is that you can be part of the conversation. You must be part of the conversation. This social dynamic; the sharing of information, the influence paradigm, the challenges for companies entering the conversation; this is the new marketing.
Creating positive experiences is about generating value for the people who mean the most to your business; not just your customers, but the people you want to be your customers, and the people that influence them. Of course, to deliver value, you have to know your audience–what they care about, what influences their decisions and how they interact online—and then provide something of interest to them.
So much marketing is done with the company or product at the center. This often results in messaging that doesn’t effectively connect what is being offered to the people that are supposed to buy it. With significant competition for attention online, companies can’t market well until they have a solid understanding of the people they are marketing to.
A key element of delivering those meaningful experiences is meeting your audience where they are. Today, that place is online, more than anywhere else. Traditional marketing channels are still relevant, but in the competition for attention, the online social environment is growing as the preferred medium for engagement. Yet many companies are challenged with developing a thoughtful strategy for leveraging social opportunities; they apply an old approach to a new opportunity and encourage you to “like” their page. Or they employ a cringe-worthy marketing voice—the one you would never use to actually speak to a real person.
Despite separation by distance and a computer screen, people want to be spoken to in a genuine and approachable way. They want communication that is authentic and relatable, even from companies. Especially from companies.
Our approach advocates putting your audience at the center: knowing them, giving them something of value, and showing up with meaning and respect.