Success in today’s highly changing and unpredictable markets requires your marketing strategy to be more powerful; marketers to step up and leave their traditional tools behind in favor of new approaches made necessary by heightened competition and changing customer demands.
If your marketing strategy is to become truly powerful and successful, certain practices need to stop; others need to start.
Stop the obsession with mass markets.
Mass markets don’t exist because the underlying assumption is that people in the crowd all look the same.
There is no such thing as an average customer that looks the same as every other person in the crowd; there may be a ‘lowest common denominator’ but that’s about as far as it goes.
Every person is different in some way. The challenge for the marketer is to discover their differences and market to each one of them individually with unique solutions that meet their needs specifically.
Stop using price as the main tactic to sell products and services.
It won’t; it’s lazy marketing and it’s not a viable long-term strategy. Price moves can and will be easily copied by the competition. Furthermore, price competition squeezes profit margins for every player and contributes nothing to building customer loyalty.
If you want to compete on price, you’d better have economies of scale and scope in your business where being the low cost supplier is critical.
Copying what the best in class marketing organization does is a catch-up tactic and does nothing to gain strategic advantage.
Again, it’s lazy marketing that sometimes gets referred to as innovation. It’s not. Being like someone else is merely an effective way to lose your identity.
Try coming up with an original (imperfect is ok) thought; you will be handsomely rewarded.
Stop trying to be better; this incremental approach is neither effective nor appropriate.
You can’t incrementalize your business to success. You need to make a move to stand out from everyone else — to be distinctive and unique from the competition.
Make competitive moves that create the ‘wow power’ to catapult the organization out of the herd.
Stop trying to make small incremental changes to products to make them appeal to a broader market.
So, the classic approach is to introduce a product intended to satisfy a specific need, and then to modify the product to try and give it a broader appeal.
The problem is that this ‘round-the-corners’ marketing dilutes the crisp value proposition that made it attractive in the first place and produces a boring solution that satisfies no one.
Keep products edgy and vibrant.
Start looking for ‘stepping out’ opportunities that make the organization the ONLY one that does what it does in the markets it serves.
Rather than continually striving to improve your product and service portfolio exclusively, start spending time on answering the question, “Why should I do business with you and not your competitors?” as the way of creating a unique place in the marketplace.
My ONLY Statement has proven to be an extremely successful strategic tool for marketers to express an organization’s uniqueness: “We are the ONLY ones that…” is the elevator sound bite that cuts through the clutter and expresses how your organization stands apart from all others.
Start asking the customer service team more for input on how offers are being accepted by customers, what the ‘pain points’ in operations are, and what the competition is doing.
Use customer service as a primary customer learning and market research source.
Start focusing on creating experiences for your customers as opposed to flogging products and services at them.
Deliver happiness rather than push product features down their throat.
A product delivers happiness for a limited time only — a new SUV soon becomes a used car — a memorable experience stays with us forever.
Emotion marketing represents a huge opportunity so start delivering solutions that have emotional layers that surround your core offering. Make it more than just a product.
Start discovering the ‘secrets’ and innermost desires of your target customers to unlock their marketing potential.
Needs-based marketing is passe because most everyone already has their needs satisfied.
Marketing to what people need (herd behaviour) is no longer sufficient to be noticed in the market and stand out from the aggressive competition.
Start establishing customer learning as a core competency in your organization.
Be ‘always on’ to learn what customers desire every time they touch the organization, whether it’s a personal contact or a visit to a website.
AI isn’t the complete answer. Humans need to lead the way with customer engagement that probes what people covet.
Relying on technology to understand what customers want is an incomplete algorithm at best.
Start developing packages — not bundles — for high-value customers rather than offer them individual products and services.
Learn their broad holistic desires; seamlessly integrate multiple products to yield a broad value proposition that is difficult for competitors to match.
Start cutting the crap, the non-strategic and no-longer-relevant marketing programs that marketers are working on, in order to make room for new projects and programs aimed at creating long term value. Purge the old practices that have outlived their purpose.
Falling in the crap category could be: price promotions (produce no long-term competitive advantage), new customer acquisition programs (encourage churn and anger existing customers who are denied the same offers) and customer appreciation events (mostly satisfy looky loo’s who want deals rather than rewarding existing customers).
A powerful and successful marketing strategy is all about continually providing relevant and compelling value to people, and in order to do that, it must refresh itself, take on a new purpose and let go of traditional methods.