If you are just thinking about your next marketing move, throw that thought away. Gone are the days where brand-centric marketing makes great campaigns. If you want to be successful, start listening to your consumers to find the next marketing message.
Self-serving marketing messages are dead
The traditional methods taught in marketing books need to change. That playbook no longer works in today’s context. There is a power shift in how a company’s future is determined. Brands are no longer in full control of how their brand takes shape. Your customers now have the power to decide how your brand is seen. Today, in times where the future is uncertain, how can brands regain control? How can we relieve this helplessness; predict our own fate instead of leaving it in the hands of consumers? The answer is an ironic truth that we all have to accept.
There is simply too much competition online. How do you stand out?
Stop being self-serving. Do not market yourself as the “unique”, “best” or “perfect” brand. You may truly have something special that other competitors don’t. Unfortunately, the only thing that will do is send up a warning signal to consumers thinking that it’s too good to be true, or worse, completely false. Instead of believing you, they will look for flaws in your product or service. It is a natural human instinct to find the “missing” piece. This curiosity has been fundamental to our early day survival.
Marketing messages in the permission-economy
Always ask. Never assume.
According to Linda Eatherton, managing director and partner at Ketchum Global Food & Beverage Practice said in FoodNavigator-USA’s event, “In the old playbook, marketing was all about disruption. But today it is more about permission.”
And right she is because of what brands are experiencing today. Brands today need to acquire permission from prospects and consumers on sending marketing information. There are data protection policies worldwide, from the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) in
Singapore to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe. All of which, brands now need to adhere to.
This permission-economy results in brands losing more control over how they can market themselves. It seems like a respecting and humble company might be the way to go.
If brands are not to market themselves as unique, being a respectful and passive company, how are they going to brand themselves to attract audiences and be heard?
Rework marketing messages to be more human-like
Your marketing message will resonate with your audience when the message is speaking to them. For example, instead of “This is how I help you”, you say “This is how you help others and yourself”. In general, people do not like to admit that they need help. They would rather be the hero in stories. The one who is saving the day. They definitely do not want to be the sidekick. Have you ever heard of anyone saying they would rather be Robin than be Batman? Let them be the hero in your marketing message.
Also, your marketing message needs to hit an emotional chord with your audience. To make your message personable, it needs to have feelings attached to them. What problem does your product solve for your customers? Emphasis on solving their problems or helping them be worry-free will bridge the emotional gap that your marketing message needs.
Be helpful to your audiences
Another way to get regain the control you long for lies in being a helpful brand. Look for ways that you can help your customers, they can come in the form of tips and tricks or useful information that is related to your product and service.
Birchbox, an online beauty care subscription service, creates articles for their readers that are related to skincare, grooming, perfumes, etc.
Birchbox gives grooming gifting ideas on their blog “magazine”
Take control by listening to customers
Ironic as it seems, consumers now take the drivers’ seat. Look at your reviews and take the initiative to ask your customers to understand how they think about your brand. You have control. However, you need to monitor and listen constantly to pick up your next marketing message. It also shows that you care for your customers. And everyone loves a caring brand.
Less about you, more about them.
Connect with your customers through problem-solving
Here is a great local brand to showcase the power of focusing on your customers.
Source: Skin Inc
Skin Inc has over 300 retail touchpoints present in over 100 cities across Asia, Europe and the United States.
Their success is highly attributed to the brand’s consumer-centric nature.
As a beauty skincare brand, a delicate and personal touch with your customers is warranted to ensure trust and loyalty. Skin Inc’s products are entirely made with her customers in mind.
Personalisation and listening to your customers’ needs is at the heart of Skin Inc. The brand believes in consistent innovation by improving on the brand experience. One way to achieve this is by being a good listener. Through interacting with her customers, a relationship is built. This allows Skin Inc to take customer-innovation to another level through questionnaires and gathering feedback from clients.
One of the consequences of innovation through feedback is a skin-check digital tool called “Skin Identity”. The tool helps to determine a customers’ skin type allowing Skin Inc to create a bespoke product, “My Daily Dose (MDD),” that is customised for the customers’ skin. Post-launch questionnaires of the Skin Identity tool were also conducted to listen and gather feedback. As a result, a more in-depth version of “Skin Identity” will be released next month.
Connecting with your customers by listening, opens opportunities to help your brand innovate, creating products and services that your customers actually want.