We’ve been blogging for almost 10 years now. During that time we’ve covered a wide range of marketing, communications, media outreach, content development, public relations and general business topics. Along the way, we hope that readers have found our tips, suggestions and ideas practical and informational. And we hope you can use them in your business and personal lives.
To get a different perspective, we’ve asked some of our clients to share the best marketing advice they’ve received through the years. Here’s what we heard.
Marketing Advice From the Trenches
- Develop the art and skill of listening. People who practice active listening are seen as more likeable, more professional and more caring. Neil Goldman, Ph.D and CEO of Goldman Consulting & Strategy says, “People buy from you not because they understand your product or service, but rather because they think you understand them and their need.” This all begins with listening.
- Make your content memorable. You’ve heard it before. “Sell the sizzle, not the steak.” Consumers want to connect with those with whom they do business. Whether it’s through storytelling, humor, or well-crafted messaging, remember to create word pictures that reflect customers’ interests. Impressive content reinforces the company’s brand, answers the question, “What will it do for me?” and makes people want to take the next step. John Bloomstrom, marketing director at BHDP Architecture says, “Before you approve a marketing campaign, check it carefully to make sure the content inspires, informs, persuades and motivates. If it doesn’t do all four, it won’t be effective.”
- Ask customers for their input related to desired outcomes. There’s an old adage, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” This certainly applies to marketing. Many businesses assume they know what their customers like and don’t like, want and don’t want. Yet, if they would spend more time to research the issue, they might discover very different realities. Dina Wolfman Baker, director of marketing and communications at Cambridge Systematics, says the best marketing advice she ever received came from a marketing leadership seminar put on by the Kellogg School of Management. That advice was to ask yourself, “Do you know what your customer would say about this?” Whether the issue relates to a new product, feature, pricing or packaging, hearing directly from the customer is vital. Even better…let the customer know that you implemented his/her suggestion.
- Measure your marketing tactics by how they are contributing to the buyer’s journey. Michael Adebisi, director of NewTime Consulting, says “Marketing is the truth well-told.” When asked about this, he said, “If you look at your marketing from the customer’s perspective, it should remove any fears, uncertainties or doubts about your company and your company’s products or services.” In other words, marketing should streamline the sales process and make it easier for the customer to say, “Yes.”
Using Marketing Advice to Stay Ahead of the Competition
The central theme here is that marketing isn’t about the product. And it’s more than making customers like you. Marketing success requires two steps. First, companies develop deep and perceptive customer insights. Then, companies align communications and operation to exceed customers’ needs and expectations. With more and more companies vying for your customers’ attention, take heed of this marketing advice and remember to put your audiences’ goals first to stay ahead of the competition.