Marketing is an art form, there are no two ways about it. In fact, marketing can be considered one of the single most important aspects of business in the modern age because, more often than not, businesses face struggles regarding outreach and consumer base as opposed to internal operations and nurturing product life cycles.
This is an important distinction. Often times, the product that most people simply recognize and identify with can be an inferior product and still dominate the marketplace due to brand recognition.
This is the power that marketing has to turn the tides of consumer preferences.
Obviously I am not saying that you should sacrifice the quality of your product or service. However, I am saying that by focusing on the following marketing tips and tactics, you can develop marketing plans that are consumer-focused, trendy, and attention-grabbing.
The following tips have been proven throughout the years (and to myself) to benefit the nature of an organization’s marketing strategies. With these basic principles, you can gain the perspective that benefits the greatest marketing minds of all time. We will discuss some of them as well.
Keep in mind that these tips are designed and optimized to function based on modern technology. Although they are principles that are rooted in the science behind human behavior, they rely upon modern-day resources in order to fully benefit your marketing strategies.
Let’s dive in and discover some of these important marketing tips and tricks as they relate to human behavior and your businesses best practices!
Keep in mind as well, these tips are in no certain order of importance.
Tip 1: Sell Benefits, NOT Features
The first tip on this list has to do with the nature of human understanding and desire. In terms of the ADKAR model of change management (Jeffrey Hiatt), which can also be related to consumer behavior, Desire is the second necessary step that must occur before change (conversion) happens.
Allow me to explain in further detail. ADKAR is the science of organizational change, however, it can also be used to describe the change within individuals from one point to another. I simply want to use it to describe the necessary process of converting a potential prospect into a loyal consumer.
Before any change happens, the ADKAR model must be utilized to some degree. ADKAR stands for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement.
For example, no consumer will ever consider your product without being AWARE that it exists in the first place. This is just the necessary order of things.
Selling benefits and NOT features has to do with building the awareness AND the desire to purchase at the same time. Ultimately, every product or service is meant to do one thing and one thing only: improve the lives of the consumer in some way.
Think about it, there is nothing that exists as a commodity that isn’t bought and sold without the intention of improving one’s quality of life. Therefore, designating HOW your product or service improves a person’s quality of life is the trick.
This is why benefits are far and away more important than features.
Features present the “HOW” this product can produce benefits. Benefits feature the “WHY” consumers would purchase in the first place. Du to the power of “Why” (Simon Sinek, Start With Why) benefits produce more results.
Let’s take my own marketing practices into account. For some time, I’ve been targeting millennials with the goal of helping them develop financial habits to become successful in life. I teach them things such as passive income, compound interest, and more.
When I advertise, as opposed to telling them what I do to help (features), I tell them how much better their life is AFTER I help (benefits).
It is the consumer’s vision and desire for a better existence AFTER they obtain the product or service that triggers the consumer-conversion cycle and gets them to make the “buy” decision.
Tip 2: Focus on NEW Demographics
New demographics. Old demographics. What does it all mean? Put simply, new demographics are the superior form of niche-identifying practices that have shifted away from old demographics due to the nature of changing information and technology.
Let me explain in further detail. Nowadays, due to the overwhelming quantity of consumer information, shifting market preferences, and individual communication abilities (smartphones), targeting a market based on old demographics is obsolete.
Old Demographics can be defined as niche-identifiers that relate to consumer characteristics such as age, race, gender, income, sex, etc. These old demographics were useful in identifying consumer markets back when consumer technology was not nearly as advanced as it is today.
New Demographics, on the other hand, have come about due to the nature of technology and, more specifically, the connection between people. These new demographics contain niche-identifiers such as hobbies, passions, interests, etc.
Here is why technology has influenced this: Before the era of cell phones and internet-based communications, the only group that you had to identify with were those directly around you, despite whether or not they truly shared your passions or interests.
We, as humans, tend to group with those that are similar to us (herd mentality), therefore, in the old days, identifying a niche or target market based on race, age, and the like was a great way to target group preferences.
However, nowadays, due to the information diversity, and the freedom of people to connect and identify with others over the internet based on interests and hobbies, marketers are finding that they can successfully target a market based on different niche criteria.
This is why new demographics are extremely useful in reaching more niche, and less general, markets.
After all, any true marketer knows that niching down their service is more beneficial to their marketing efforts and conversion rates than a general or broad target is. This is because consumers undoubtedly want the best and most identifiable product or service for them.
Here is a simple example, but one that I’ve benefitted from before. If you were an executive who was searching for a change-management consultant, would you choose…
a. The management consultant who does change management, marketing, operations, supply-chain, etc.
b. The management consultant who specializes in change management, has written books, been featured in blogs, and overall relates his work to human behavior and change?
It’s obvious that you would choose the specialist because they have the criteria that are specific to you and your needs. Consumers feel the same way about your services or products, be a specialist.
Tip 3: Optimize the Customer Experience
Remember in Tip #1 when I said that every service or commodity that is bought and sold is done so because they are intended to improve a person’s quality of life in some way? This is where we talk about the operational aspect of providing value.
Think about it, there is only 2 criteria that is needed to be a successful business owner.
1. You need a way to provide value,
2. Enough people who are willing to pay for it.
It’s almost always the second issue that most businesses trip over. However, on occasion, a business that fails to consider the way they provide value is making a disastrous mistake on both the operations-front and the marketing-front.
Optimizing the consumer experience is similar to the “Ability, Reinforcement” area of the ADKAR model. Ultimately, ability is the nature of your product or service to make good on its promise, and reinforcement is the role of your organization to provide support to the consumer.
Both of these things are necessary for beneficial marketing efforts, that is because they both affect an organization’s reputation n the marketplace. Reputation, for certain industries, will make or break a business.
Therefore, the power of optimizing the consumer experience is similar to streamlining the operations of an organization as well as benefitting that organization’s marketing abilities at the same time.
Ask yourself this, “How does the consumer interact with your product or service? and how can you make it better?”
Putting the customer experience first is the best way to ensure loyal customers, after all, it is far less costly to keep an existing customer than it is to try and replace one.
Your customers are your brand ambassadors, be sure to treat them as such. Never take your customers for granted, and never underestimate the power of a good consumer experience.
To some industries (in my experience, consulting) your reputation and your referrals are what really separate you from the rest.
Tip 4: Perfect Your “1-Sentence Pitch”
A 1-sentence pitch is especially useful to those in service-based industries, but can also be a useful way for self-identifying your brand or product around some key considerations. Let’s take a look at those considerations now!
A 1-sentence pitch is not exactly an elevator pitch like most people think it is. This is because an elevator pitch is meant to personally introduce you as an individual as opposed to identify and centralize the topic of your brand.
Put simply, an elevator pitch starts with “Hi, I’m Austin and I work for blah blah blah and I do this, this, and this.”
A 1-sentence pitch, however, is a powerful marketing strategy that clarifies and directs your consumer’s attention to the issue that you and your product/service resolves.
“I help executives plan/implement organizational change strategies that improve performance.”
Now, everybody who reads/hears that pitch will know my specialty, my market, and what I do to benefit them. All in one sentence.
Let’s say that you are an executive who wants to implement organizational change strategies to improve your organization’s performance. Why on earth would you pass up this pitch? It perfectly outlines who I help, how I help, and the benefit you receive as a result.
This is why the 1-sentence pitch is so powerful, it targets exactly the niche with exactly the problem you solve.
Oftentimes, a brand will create a one-sentence pitch in order to clarify and communicate the marketing tactics and purpose of a product to those within the brand team. That way, anybody who is confused as to the market, the problem, or the solution can identify exactly what their product or service does.
To create the perfect 1-sentence pitch for your product or service, just fill in the blanks.
I help ___(target market/niche)____ to do ____(service actions/specialty)____ that result in _____(benefits for your consumer)_____.
Here’s mine again…
“I help (executives) (plan/implement organizational change strategies) that (improve performance).”
Tip 5: Use Pull Marketing For the Modern Age
Pull and push is to marketing as the soft-sell and hard-sell is to sales. To articulate, pull and push marketing have to do with the way a brand identifies itself and creates prospects in the marketplace based on similar criteria to the way a salesperson may approach a prospect.
In sales, a hard-sell is similar to an immediate buy decision. That is, oftentimes the prospect will a) become aware of the product and b) become desirable enough to purchase the product all at once. Think in terms of cold-calling, door-to-door, and whatnot.
In these cases, a salesperson will “hard-sell” by introducing and attempting to illicit a sale all at a single time. Nowadays, this is ineffective because of market saturation and the immediate vicinity of competitors.
It’s easy to send a salesperson away when you think to yourself “if I really need what they are offering, I’ll just drive to the store or order online.” It’s a matter of scarcity and demand.
A soft-sell, on the other hand, has to do with making yourself known in the marketplace as a credible and reputable product or service that people flock to in order to resolve an issue they have. Soft-sells often rely on give and take and awareness.
Ask yourself, “should a person have the issue that your product solves, will they know that your brand can solve it? A soft-sell will attempt to communicate your ability to resolve specific issues.
So, what does this have to do with push and pull marketing? Everything. The concept is quite literally the same on the marketing front of business.
Push marketing is becoming irrelevant like the hard-sell is. Push marketing is similar to focusing on outreach in the hopes of gaining as many customers by “pushing” the product onto a specific market that you, the marketer, believe is relevant.
In fact, the very nature of push marketing is called “intrusive” tactics because it is meant to disrupt the, otherwise standard, lives of the target marketplace. Pull marketing, on the other hand, implies that an organization will take measures to be “findable” by its consumers.
Pull marketing is called non-intrusive. This is because, in order for pull marketing to be effective, a problem or issue needs to be willfully resolved by the marketplace.
Push marketing: Advertisements, awareness campaigns, and otherwise methods that present your brand to target consumers.
Pull Marketing: SEO, blogging, credibility-tracking, etc. These methods ensure that, when your market has an issue they wish to resolve, they find YOUR business as opposed to competitors. This is why it is called pull-marketing.
The name explains it all, push marketers PUSH their products/service. Pull marketers PULL in their consumers.
For most businesses, a certain mix and match of both methods is beneficial, however, given the nature of market saturation due to the internet, pull-marketing is becoming far and away more critical for long-term success. This is because push-marketing often limits the scope of profitability based on the advertisement campaigns of the organization.
Yet, pull marketing represents less of an initial investment and HIGHER rates of return based on how you have become the reputable leader of an industry. This way, you will rarely have to pay for advertisements because your reputation as a credible and “findable” source is solidified.
Hopefully, I was able to help you gain some perspective about marketing in the modern age! Let’s wrap up these five points to ensure they remain memorable and useful to you!
Key Marketing Tactics:
1. Sell Benefits, NOT Features: How will the consumer’s lives become better after using your product/service?
2. Focus on New Demographics: LESS age, race, religion, etc. and MORE interests, hobbies, and passions.
3. Optimize the Consumer Experience: Translate your operations results into marketing benefits.
4. Perfect Your “1-Sentence Pitch”: Clarify your market, problem, and solution in one easy-to-remember package.
5. Use Pull-Marketing for the Modern Age: Instead of finding your consumer, make sure they find YOU!
Thanks for reading!
Work With Austin
-Austin Denison is a management consultant and coach from Southern California and founder/CEO of Denison Success Systems LLC. He is the author of The Essential Change Management Guidebook: Master The Art of Organizational Change as well as The Potential Dichotomy: The Philosophy of a Fulfilling Life.