Getting marketing right will often mean the difference between succeeding in business or not. Marketing requires that businesses fully understand their customers. It means understanding what customers do, and why, and how they are motivated to make a purchase (or not). It means understanding all of the characteristics of the target market, and why those particular characteristics combined create a specific type of customer for a product or service. Marketers need to understand everything about their target market, and these insights are what allow marketers to be able to succeed.
Yet Greg Satell (2014) of Digital Tonto argues that all is not well in the world of marketing. There are myths that need to be busted, argues Satell, since people have an uninformed idea of what marketing is and should be. He opines that such myths can break a business. The “myths” of which he talks are controversial, as they challenge highly coveted marketing values. What are those myths, and what is it that should be done to break them ?
Myth 1: Engagement doesn’t work
Focus on value exchange
The first is “there’s no such thing as engagement”. This will make many marketers wring their hands in horror and disbelief. Especially as the whole world has been banging on about how customers need to be engaged and how important it is. Despite marketers best efforts with social media, true engagement is extremely rare. It doesn’t matter what tweets or posts are made, as the reality is that few customers ever really engage. Instead, value exchange should be the focus. Product value exchange is one type of this, while content value exchange and social value exchange are also important areas of focus.
Myth 2: Forget about content
Focus on the original mission of your business and think about publishing
The second challenge which will make marketers despair is that “content is crap” as various marketers are stating lately. Yet all the time we hear about how marketers are working to create and post the best content in order to engage customers and create a connection with them. The problem is, as “Social Media Today” puts it: everyone else is doing it too. Could there be a way out of this? It is Satell’s belief however that the content is not the important part, but the publishing is.
“What brands really need to do is learn how to publish. This means identifying a mission – the value you have to offer the world – and structuring an experience around it.”
The difference between publishing and content in Satell’s view is that publishing is mission focused while marketing is consumer focused. This means that marketers need to find a good story and “tell it well” to be able to achieve results. That story needs to be alined with the company’s purpose. If you are running a social business this shouldn’t be difficult, as social businesses tend to be defined by having a clear mission.5 Myths Marketers Should Know About Intelligenthq
Myth 3: Forget about connectors or influentials
Another recent myth that has grown in precedence is the idea that influentials are important to spread your content. Another way to call influentials could be by using Malcom Gladwel’s definition of “connectors”. Connectors are people who link the world together. They have large social networks across several social circles, as they make a strong effort in taking time to feed and increase their network. Some advice out there mentions that trying to attract the attention of an influential can boost your traffic, which will benefit your business. But whether or not influentials are important is controversial. Satell explains that influence is “highly contextual”. As Satell puts it:
“If you expect to find people with magical powers of influence, you’re wasting your time.”
More than looking for an influential, is important to work wisely, to become one.
Myth 4: Forget about loyalty
Focus on availability, quality and service
A fourth concept that Satell (2014) challenges is that of loyalty, which he argues is a “red herring”. The concept behind this is that it is more expensive to gain a new customer than retain a current customer. However, Satell’s position on this is that this does not make loyalty a hard and fast strategy that should be taken. Satell argues instead that what is important is availability, quality and service. If organisations get these factors right then people will keep buying from them. These are the drivers of repeat purchases, not loyalty per se.
Myth 5: Forget about grabbing attention
Holding attention is more important
The final myth laid to bed by Greg Satell is the idea that “grabbing attention isn’t as important as holding attention”. The idea behind this is that holding attention will lead to the potential market increasing, leading to an increase in sales. However, these days building a brand requires also building awareness. This leaves behind it what Satell refers to as a “digital trail”. But it is not enough just to leave that digital trail, once it is built, for others to find. Instead marketers should develop a strategy that better suits the digital age, opines Satell. This requires embracing the concept that our customers are partners rather than prospects. Ultimately, unless your business creates real value exchange people won’t buy. And that is that.
Paula Newton is a business writer, editor and management consultant with extensive experience writing and consulting for both start-ups and long established companies. She has ten years management and leadership experience gained at BSkyB in London and Viva Travel Guides in Quito, Ecuador, giving her a depth of insight into innovation in international business. With an MBA from the University of Hull and many years of experience running her own business consultancy, Paula’s background allows her to connect with a diverse range of clients, including cutting edge technology and web-based start-ups but also multinationals in need of assistance. Paula has played a defining role in shaping organizational strategy for a wide range of different organizations, including for-profit, NGOs and charities. Paula has also served on the Board of Directors for the South American Explorers Club in Quito, Ecuador.