Customers are Everywhere
(They just have to find you)
Many times, you can gauge a company’s maturity by the messaging presented on their website. The growth curve could be divided into the following stages:
- Stage 1 – Basic info – “A stake in the ether to show we are legit.”
- Stage 2 – Tech talk – “Here are all of our great products and technology!” This will quickly morph into “Here are our great solutions.”
- Stage 3 – All Grown Up – “We’re successful enough to grow by acquisition, and we’re hyphenating names and brands so there’s a trail for loyal customers to follow.”
- Stage 4 – So Big – “We’re successful enough that our focus is attracting and retaining customers who may not recognize what we were or what we have become, but they need our solutions.”
Each stage has its challenges, and mostly it’s up to marketing to make engagement work with the right messaging. So now, take a moment and reflect on your messaging. What are you saying, and does it align with the needs of your prospective customers? Your messaging is not about you, it’s about them, and it’s not only what’s on your website. It’s every touchpoint, every campaign element using every tool in the marketing kit.
Content Has to Engage
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela
Content has to resonate with our audience. When we speak of resonance, we are talking about a stimulus causing a sympathetic reaction. Content has to resonate with your audience. It has to be relevant, engaging, and rapport-building. Your content doesn’t have to sell your product, it has to sell you!
What Defines a Customer?
How well do you know your customer? How does that align with the tribal knowledge in your company? How well does that align with the perceptions of upper management? Have you ever worked in a company where upper management believed that there were legions of untapped customers in market segments that had no knowledge of your product but could use it? Or believed that while you were targeting the right prospects, you were missing opportunities by targeting the wrong people in the company?
Common wisdom is that no single person makes a purchase decision in a company anymore and that critical decisions are made by teams. That wisdom also says that as the cost and complexity of the purchase rises, so does the pool of stakeholders. The ultimate authority ascends to the level of a decision-maker who calls the prospect into their office and says, “I only have a general understanding of what this purchase will do for the company, but I trust you and your judgement.” This scenario is one that is played out endlessly in companies across the world on a daily basis. The question is, as a marketer, who do you target to get the most favorable results for your efforts? Because in the end, you have finite resources, and many times, you cannot identify the specific decision-maker(s).
Digital marketing and sales enablement, when used effectively, can help to spread information so that influencers and decision-makers can be sure that they are making the right decision in selecting your product or service. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to target audiences that have no impact on the decision-making process. Sure, the C-Suite makes the final decision, but they are not typically going to have time to get into the gritty details of a product or service.
How Do I Align My Messaging to My Audience?
Key elements of effective communication using digital marketing must start with defining your target audience, including ranking them by the level of authority or influence they have in the purchase decision process. In parallel, you should develop a concept of what their purchase decision process looks like, which is also called the “buyer’s journey.” Depending on your level of marketing automation, you may develop avatars or personas for your target audience members.
Developing the personas can be fun and engaging for a marketing team, but understand that the more detail the team adds, the more constraints you are likely to place on your messaging. Remember that personas have to be broad enough to capture a share of the market, but specific enough to tailor the messaging so that it resonates with them. The elements of the buyer’s journey and personas can only be developed with knowledge gleaned from customers or prospective customers. Tools to use are direct conversations, surveys, interviews, research, and validation of concepts. Both the buyer’s journey and persona development will be discussed in detail in future blogs.
- Know your customer or prospective customer.
- Tailor your content.
If you need help with persona-building, customer journey mapping, or message development, contact us for a 30-minute consultation.