To explain the purpose of marketing content, first I need to explain something about buyer behaviour and why businesses didn't need marketing content years ago when they do now.
Over the 16 years I've worked in marketing, I've noticed a significant change in buyer behaviour. And with everything that's happened in 2020, this has only accelerated.
So how do we buy now compared to 16 years ago
I disagree with a lot of marketers on this question. I don't believe a business necessarily needs to spend weeks (or even months) creating a strategy.
Don't get me wrong, if you're running a huge corporation with a marketing budget of millions then it'll take time. You'll definitely need to spend a while getting your strategy right before you start implementing it.
But I work with small businesses who want to see results as quickly as possible. Do they need to take weeks out of their business before they can start taking action?
I say 'no'.
We can probably all agree that the last month has changed the world forever. So if the world has changed then chances are your market's needs have changed.
The essence of business boils down to solving problems in exchange for money. Whether you're a restaurant or a personal trainer or a software developer or a manufacturer, you all solve problems for your customers.
Over the last month, many new problems have been created and many problems we used to have are no longer important or relevant.
This is another question I've been asked recently because of the pandemic and I can understand why. Everyone, it seems, from Joe Wicks to David Walliams is giving away free stuff.
So if everyone else is doing it, does that mean you should?
Here are the things to consider.
I've have a few conversations with people this past week about discounting. I've also seen a lot of businesses discounting their products and services. So if a lot of people are doing it, does that mean it's a good idea?
Well, it might be a good idea for your business, but it might not. Here are the things to consider.
A value proposition is your answer to the question, “what value do you deliver to your customers?”
A strong value proposition is not necessarily the messaging you’ll use in your marketing. Rather it’s a tool for you to use internally to create powerful messaging that will resonate with your buyers.
A lot of people know exactly what they do, but they don’t articulate the real value to their buyer. If your buyer has to work out the value for themselves then that makes it harder for them to buy from you.
My definition of marketing is simply making it as easy as possible for people to buy from you. So if your customers have to work out for themselves what value they’re going to get from buying your product or service then you’re not making it easy for them.
It’s important to tell your customers not just WHAT you deliver but also HOW you deliver it and WHY it is important.
So how do you create a value proposition?
In my last two blogs I’ve been taking you through the buyer’s journey, looking at how excellent marketing needs to support our buyers at every step.
If you missed part 1 and part 2, read them here:
Encouraging the first purchase
To reduce the perceived risk at this point in the buyer journey, your customer needs to feel what it’s like to be a customer before they buy.
A product ladder is a series of offers and products that lead from one to the next so people can build a relationship with you and get a sense for what it’d be like to be a customer before they commit to something big. It’s all about reducing perceived risk.
In my previous blog I explained how we all go through a number of stages when we make a buying decision.
Excellent marketing supports our buyers at every stage of their decision-making process so they can move forward.
To do this, you need to have mapped out your customer’s buying journey because it’ll be different for different markets and products. Once you’ve mapped out your customer’s buying journey, you can then look at how you can reduce the perceived risk at every stage and build trust throughout the journey. By reducing risk and building trust at every stage, it becomes easy for customers to decide to choose you. And if it’s easy for people to buy from you then sales will inevitably increase.
If you haven’t read part 1 yet, where we covered the first stages of the buying journey, click here: Part 1
Building buyer’s interest
Once your buyer is aware of you, you need to let them get to know you in their own time. Build trust by providing regular, quality, short-form content such as;
The aim of marketing and sales is to take people on a journey from never having heard of you to being raving fans who buy loyally and tell all their friends. So if you want to understand what marketing excellence looks like then you need to understand how your customers make that journey. And the journey will be different depending on your business, your product and your market.
Some buying journeys are quite short and buyers make their decision quite quickly. Others are longer, involve more stages, and require more support from marketing and sales.
Marketing excellence supports buyers at every stage of their buying decision, all the while building trust and reducing the perceived risk of moving forward.
Most people jump to this stage of the process first. This is the equivalent of placing a first order of 100,000 widgets based on a design on the back of a napkin. Yes, there's a chance they might do the job but you're risking losing a lot of money in the process. (Read 'Turning your marketing upside down' for a more detailed explanation)
First, you need a robust marketing function in your business that leads your customers comfortably through their buying process. You need to make sure you've designed your marketing to be effective and you've tested it out and are confident that it is converting customers with a good return on investment.
The process of doing this will almost always result in an upturn in sales, but if your sights are set higher and you want to grow your business more, you have two choices:
The order of these is important: it is far easier and more efficient to increase sales from existing, proven marketing activities. People often shy away from doing this because they're not confident their activities are delivering ROI. If that's the case, go back and put measures in place so you know whether they're working or not.
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