After the last two years of uncertainty – on/off, open/closed, shall we/shan’t we, I believe audience behaviour has changed and is important to understand how entrenched some of these changes are right now, how long term and how they can be potentially addressed.
I’ve worked in all aspects of the “marketing mix”. But I’ve never worked in advertising funnily enough. The two are often confused as being one and the same discipline. I like to think I would have been great in advertising but my partiality for consuming 6 martinis at lunchtime and 40 Marlboro would have made it a bus-man’s holiday (to reference Madmen!).
Marketing essentially was about 4 pillars – the ‘4ps’ as it is known.
Today, that core is probably more blurred, marketing is much more than just these and increasingly it is either seen as a dirty word or expected to deliver everything.
I think what many people forget is that at the core of marketing is the need for deep psychological understanding of your audience/consumer and what they need.
Some amazing leaders have made this look like child’s play – Steve Jobs had this gift in abundance. Thomas Edison, Henry Ford also come to mind and didn’t do too badly in terms of history. Some of these (now everyday) world changing innovations in the history of world evolution combined an uncanny understanding of human needs and desires and the innovative vision to actually deliver it.
Marketing starts by asking consumers who they are?, what do they want?, and what do they care about? Marketing starts with a question. Marketing is not “I am a great lover.” (that’s advertising!) Effective marketing simply asks “How are you?”
Can we just talk….
I am often surprised by people’s reaction when I say that marketing is a conversation.
I like to think of marketing as the conversation that starts between two people at a gig, they don’t know each other well but there must be something in common as they are at the same gig – but is that the venue, the genre, the band or the beer? Great conversations lead to understanding needs. Understanding the needs can lead to great insights. These type of insights are like golden nuggets and the process is often referred to as “mining for insights”.
When I meet someone I don’t know, I ask them questions. I try to get to know them. I try to understand their dreams and problems and needs. I do NOT talk about myself too much unless there is a genuine interest from the other person to learn about me as well. But this only comes from true and authentic empathy. I have to actually care about this other person to earn their trust.
Insights based strategies lead to the development and creation of amazing products and services that truly resonate with audiences. I referred to Steve Jobs earlier – who would have thought we needed a mobile telephone that took pictures too? Millions and millions of us apparently! This conversation continues as we get to know each other better. And like human relationships, the brands who continue into deeper connections are the ones who seem to care more about the other person than they do about themselves. Like every good marriage, yes? They don’t just act like they care. They actually do care and they prove it in the way they act. They genuinely seek to help their user to improve their lives through their content, their expertise, their passion and, if they are lucky, through the service or stuff they sell.
This misunderstanding of the importance of marketing most likely stems from the confusion around “marketing” as a term in the first place. If you’re asking yourself “what is marketing anyway?” or thinking it’s the same thing as advertising, it’s understandable that you may be reluctant to devote budget and resources towards a marketing strategy.
We are just coming out of the pandemic and into an unprecedented cost of living crisis, which will further affect many in a visceral way in terms of how we spend our money day to day, but it will also begin to affect those with modest disposable incomes, mortgages and travel costs for instance. That theatre ticket or gig ticket suddenly becomes under greater scrutiny as part of someone’s discretionary spend.
Listening has never been so important. And neither has relevant insight-based marketing.
Not sure where to start? Get in touch and let’s start that all important conversation.