A match in stories

I’m sure, if given the chance, marketers would jump at the opportunity to implant an idea into people’s subconscious, just as in the movie Inception. I believe they kind of already are. Nowadays neuroscience is providing insights into how to connect with an audience on a deeper level than ever before, the type of connection that breeds utmost loyalty, evangelism.

When what a brand chooses to stand for, its peculiar worldview, connects with an audience that already shares the same beliefs, bringing about the change you seek to make, becomes so much easier. The audience members attach the stories they are already telling themselves to your brand story, if you earn their attention and trust.

This is why understanding not just demographics but psychographics is so important. You need to apply empathy and imagine who the people are you created the brand for. What are their desires and their needs? How do you introduce your brand to them and what does it do for them? How does it help them on their journey, not just your own?

The right type of customers

Years ago I had a conversation with an entrepreneur who managed a product design and product development studio. After I asked her how business was she started to complain how her customers didn’t understand product design, that are not clear about its value and on and on. It seemed to me that she was directing her marketing efforts towards people who didn’t believe what she believed. In her case it meant she first needed to sell the idea that design mattered to her prospect, before she could actually hope to make a sale.

I wonder what she’d achieve if she had focused her efforts more towards the kind of people who already understand the value of product design. I wonder what might have happened if she made correct assumptions about her customers and provided them with a brand story that satisfied a true need or desire. The sales cycle would be so much shorter and she’d have much more fun working with these kind of customers.

The key to marketing success

If I had to name one aspect that impacts marketing success the most, I’d choose empathy.

You’ll never be able to be in your audience’s shoes, feel exactly what they feel, think exactly what they think, mimic exactly their worldview. But you can use your imagination to fill the gap, in order to create the kind of marketing that will serve your audience.

A good exercise is to imagine imaging why people who do not buy from you choose to do so and why for them this might be the right choice. It’s easy to say “they just don’t get it”, much harder to empathise with the reasons for their choices. 

3 types of value to wow your B2B clients

Today I’ve reflected upon what is important, as an Account or Sales Manager, for helping premium drinks clients that are sourcing branded merchandise.

Here are 3 things that have proven valuable to me: 

1. Understanding value
It’s important to understand the broader market your customer is part of and how they ideally want the product they are sourcing to tie into their marketing strategy, along with all the other tactics they are applying. Unless you are in a commodity type of market, which is something only few people would want to be part of, what is the value your product adds when it comes to your client achieving their goals? What’s your value proposition that makes your product appealing to your customer?   

2. Communicating value
Being transparent and clear about what your product solution and accompanying services, e.g. graphics design, entails. What are its limitations, what its strength? How do you communicate this?

3. Building value
Even when you are in a B2B type of setting, it’s always humans that are buying from humans. Sure, the psychology between a B2B and a B2C purchase is different, but it always comes down to human interaction. Beyond your product and services, you can build value by developing quality relationships with your customers. This means showing up not only when you believe they are ready to buy but on a more regular basis. It’s always a chance for both giving valuable input and learning from your client’s input. Beyond this just being friendly and truly wanting to help, which manifests by going beyond the mere minimum that is expected, go a long way.