What was the last great ad you saw or heard? Do you remember what made it special or unique?
At our July 24 Lunch and Learn, ATP member and Cornerstone Media Group Founder and CEO Mark Treager taught a room full of two dozen attendees how to answer the question “Do you speak prospect?”
Speaking prospect means speaking the language of your prospective buyers and consumers. These days we are in an “attention economy,” which means companies are after your attention just as much as they are after your money.
The first step to succeeding in the “attention economy” is understanding the reach that marketers have today. Prior to the digital age, advertisements could only go as far print or broadcast mediums would let them. These days, however, most marketers are within arm’s reach from prospective buyers as a result of mobile devices.
Another fundamental principle of marketing is understanding the value of “brand,” which is the experience a customer has with you and your product. A simple test to measure your brand’s effectiveness is trying to summarize its mission in 12 words or less. Furthermore, your company’s slogan should be universal amongst all employees.
There’s more to brand than having a catchy or memorable one-liner however. Your brand should tell a story and be intentional about delivering results. It should spark curiosity and the images associated with it should portray results.
Good branding makes you unique and instills confidence in a prospect (“how did they know I need this?!”). Lastly, successful companies with good branding change the way people do things while making the product easily adoptable.
Take Facebook, for example. It’s a relatively simple premise that has changed the entire world at no cost to the user.
Now that you understand two key components to marketing—attention reach and branding—let’s focus on the opposite end of the spectrum, which is what consumers are looking for.
Consumers will withhold information from you, seek similar alternatives (to your product or service), solicit feedback from other consumers, and ultimately buy what they understand the fastest.
The “caveman test” is a good way to gauge whether or not your product or marketing is effective. Essentially, once you pitch your product, the prospect should be able to regurgitate an accurate summary of what you said in less than five seconds. (Alternatively, if they respond with either how your product will make their life better or why they should buy your product, then you have succeeded as well.)
Now comes the execution part of marketing: what methods are most effective?
Right now the answer is actually pretty simple: product video is the most effective marketing tool.
These advertisements work because they eliminate the technical jargon associated with product development. They are also bold. It’s important to note, too, that emails with links to videos have a significantly higher success rate than emails without them.
Another effective marketing tactic is lead-generation or exchanging a resource (such as a pdf, free e-book, etc.) in exchange for a prospect’s personal info. The most effective way to do this is by sharing your resource with someone in exchange for his or her verified e-mail address. Otherwise, you will give up valuable information for no real leads.
Customer testimonials are effective, but anything more than five is overselling.
Social media is the most universal of all marketing tools, but marketers should identify their audience’s top platform and master that medium first before repurposing that content for other ones.
For those in an operations field, talking triggers are enormously valuable. Essentially that means identifying the first thing people talk about when your company is mentioned. In the case of Doubletree Hotels, for example, their chocolate-chip cookies are a common talking point among vacationers. It doesn’t matter what Doubletree you’ve been to because you have had the cookie that is universal among the company’s entire chain of hotels.
Lastly, measure the success of your campaign with data.
Google Analytics is a free tool that will more tell you more about how your marketing is performing than customers likely ever will. That doesn’t mean customer satisfaction isn’t important, however. Conducting surveys among users of your product is essential, but it’s important to gather information from them that data won’t be able to and vice-versa. So instead of asking “did you watch the video?” in a customer satisfaction survey, you can ask “what did you like the most about the video?” (The data will tell you whether or not they actually watched.)
Have marketing goals in mind before you start any campaign (always run campaigns instead of individual ads, Treager says.) then have monthly reporting and quarterly reviews to make sure you are staying on target.
In summary, your messaging is extremely key to everything you do as a company or brand. The most effective messages are also the easiest to understand. Be prepared to answer the question about what resources you have to ensure your customers’ success, and make sure your website is always updated. It is a 24/7 salesman on your behalf.