Marketing is one of the most misunderstood jobs. I know I’m biased because I work in the industry, but I’m not saying that to evoke sympathy. I believe most people can easily understand certain roles: Accountants keep track of numbers/money; IT makes sure computers or anything technology related works. Marketing though? Most folks see it as the department that makes things look good. Whether it’s Photoshopping images, creating a slick presentation or print piece or pulling together a beautiful event, marketers are most often asked to “make it pretty.”
Publicists, ad gurus, marketers, we’ve done our industry a disservice. Like the cosmetologist who can create the most gorgeous styles yet walks around with a nest of matted tresses, we haven’t marketed ourselves, our role properly.
I’ve often heard people, particularly small business owners, lament that marketing doesn’t work. No, it doesn’t if you’re just making things pretty. Let’s be honest, no one cares how pretty your brochures are if your bottom line is an ugly, hot mess! Here are three things you can ask of your agency/publicist/marketer that will make your marketing work:
1. Make it…make sense. Clients and teams understand “increasing awareness” as a goal. “Increase understanding” is trickier but in my opinion way more important. Your audience may know your name and recognize your logo, but if they’re confused about how you fit into their lives, you’re just noise. Investing more $$ to get more eyes isn’t the most strategic route to take. Brand awareness has a tipping point. It doesn’t matter how many people know your name if they don’t know what you do, care about what you do or take any action to do what you want them to do.
2. Make it sell. When your customer sees your pretty marketing materials do they know what they’re supposed to think or do? What is the call to action in your collateral? Is it clear how you/your organization/your product is relevant to them? Do they get why they need you/your product and what makes you so unique that they must have you over all the other competitors out there?
Having the right message (aka really great research-based writing) and communicating it clearly and concisely is the core of great marketing. There are trigger words that resonate with audiences that you should know. Your customer also appreciates a certain tone that stirs them emotionally and compels them to ACT. Don’t just list the product benefits, use that space to tell them how what you have specifically solves their problem. And say it again and again and again and again — bring to life that SAME message in advertisements, media relations, social media, customer service and curb appeal. Keep it consistent to break through the clutter.
3. Make it measurable. Are you doing tactics just because? Spending time and energy in everything because it’s available is wasteful. Encourage your marketer to do what works and pinpoint the activities that attract and influence your specific audience…and track it! Are your media placements negative/positive in tone and inclusive of your key messages? Does your social content create more engagement? When people saw your ad in the magazine, did you find that the phone rang a few more times?
And please note, your target audience is not everybody. I know, I know. Everybody should love you/your product. If you could sell to everyone, you would, but not prioritizing and truly understanding your customer (through research) is a surefire way to burn through a lot of marketing money.
Making things look pretty isn’t sustainable over time and doesn’t yield the results most people really want. You want more customers/clients/revenue.
A pretty brochure just ain’t gonna cut it.