Here’s What’s Wrong With Your Marketing
Once, I gave each of my two nephews (sweet little things) a toy train that lit up when you pulled a squeaky lever at the base. They couldn’t get enough of the thrill the tiny contraptions gave them. They were so fond of the toys that their mom always had to hide them so my nephews would go to bed. But the clever little devils soon caught on and began to conceal the trains before their mom got to them. She would sometimes find the boys up at night making train sounds (tikitiki chu! Chu!!) as they pretended to travel the world. Eventually, all the poor woman could do was hope that the kids would either lose interest in playing with the toys or damage them so she could have her life back. Her prayer was answered — at least a part of it — when I visited one summer evening.
I was chatting with her in the living room and the boys weren’t far away, busy fondling their (you guessed right) toy trains. Suddenly, she nudged me and pointed at the boys. Kelvin the younger one was intently scrutinizing his train. He would pull the lever, shake the toy and cast a glance at his brother. I immediately realized the problem. Kelvin’s train wouldn’t light up again and so he was trying to see what was wrong while glancing at his brother to glean what he was doing correctly that made his train light up.
Perhaps like Kelvin, you’re also stealing looks at your competitors, checking to see why they have many customers knocking on their doors and you do not. You’re in a way trying to see why their marketing trains light up while yours does not. Well, there are many reasons why this could be happening, but in my experience, I have found one to be common.
A lot of businesses do not get the point of marketing. They believe the sole essence of putting out ads and running social media campaigns is to make more sales. And this mentality reflects in their messages and their demeanor. For such businesses, the sale is all that matters; “I get my money and you get your product or service and everyone’s happy.” Approaching marketing this way is what leads retailers to harass social media users with unsolicited broadcast. It is what leads the salesman to keep calling the hot prospect until the chap’s cell dies. It is what turns entrepreneurs into nuisances who ultimately get their numbers blacklisted by even their friends.
When all you want to do is make the sale, you turn people off and I’ll tell you why. Everyone loves to feel like they matter and no one would prefer to be seen as a tool or to feel used. When you badger people incessantly, when you craft messages that focus on your product alone, people feel like you’re simply out to satisfy yourself. To them, you want to dump your product in their lap and grow rich at their expense. And even though they need your product, they find this situation revolting (humans are weird, I know). In essence, these people do not perceive that you hold them in high regard, that they matter to you and so they return the favor and move on to more respectful businesses. You got what you gave.
I intentionally used the word “respectful” in the preceding paragraph to draw your attention to the seriousness of the matter. By saying your target audience move on to more respectful businesses, I mean they choose ventures that make them feel like they matter, businesses that respect them and their needs.
How then do you respect your customers and make them feel like you care? Trust me, it’s not by curtsying or groveling (although the former could help your cause if done genuinely). Begin by not making everything you do about closing the sale, rather, make your purpose of being in business about solving people’s problems.
Your strategy should be to make your customers feel like you’re in this for them and not for you. And this should reflect in all your operations. It should be glaring from the marketing messages you put out there, to the friendliness of your website and your obsession with providing superb customer service.
By taking on the consciousness that you want your customers to feel like the heroes of the show, marketing goes from being something you only inculcate in ads and sales copies to something that is built into your entire business. Every move you make sends a subtle but very discernible message to your audience that you care about them. Do this and they will reward you with their money, loyalty and endorsements. You will again be getting in return what you gave, only this time, you’d love what you would be receiving.