Is Status Quo Killing Your Marketing?Rebel Brown
April 3, 2012 — 1,833 views
Gravity is the number one enemy of growth.
What’s gravity? Gravity is the status quo thinking and doing that limits business growth. Gravity keeps us listening to the wrong customers, discounting to sell products, chasing those big deals and eventually - wondering what happened to the days when we were growing, profitably.
Gravity lives everywhere in our businesses. It’s especially dangerous in marketing. The digital age changes everything, from how our buyers make decisions to how we communicate with them. Most importantly, vendors no longer control the information our buyers use to make decisions. Today’s buyers can find everything they need to know on the internet, from product facts to exchanging information, experiences and perspectives with fellow buyers.
If you think you control your brand or your perceived value - think again. Value is in the eyes of the beholder – and our buyers are in control – now and forever.
Marketing, the way we’ve always done it, doesn’t work anymore.
Our marketing beliefs and processes were created back when we were the keepers of the information. We could get by with pushing Me, Me, Me chest-thumping claims at our audiences. They needed our information.
Using those old approaches today will send your buyers running. You have less than five seconds to capture your buyer’s attention. If you’re talking about yourself, promoting your products to your audiences - your buyers are gone.
The good news is that the digital world offers more marketing opportunities than ever before. You have more ways to attract prospects and customers to your door and keep them coming back. You can build strong customer relationships, if you remember one thing.
It’s ALL about Your Buyers
Today’s buyers don’t care what you say. Buyers want credible evidence from their peers. Buyers go straight to the market—your customers, prospects, partners and their friends—to gather information. So forget the propaganda and focus on engaging your buyers.
Word of mouth, customer relationships and audience engagement have replaced the gravity-based marketing that focused on Me, Me, Me chest thumping claims and 1 way communication. Ask yourself:
- Do you really believe that new logo or branding color makes a difference to your buyers? What if you focused on sharing your expertise with your audience instead of your art?
- When was the last time a buyer showed up at your door because of some full page ad that was all about your great product? How often do your buyers appear because of a customer reference or other referral?
- Are you shouting about your value all over social media? Is anyone actually responding? What if you took the time to converse with your audiences, used social media to gather critical market feedback instead of a bullhorn for your propaganda?
If we want to be successful going forward, marketers must focus on creating relationships and engagement with customers. We must focus on what’s important to them – not our own needs. Get to know your audiences. Learn what they need, what they care about, what they think about their business, markets and challenges.
Shifting from Gravity to Growth
The shift isn’t that difficult – we just need to think differently. Forget about promoting your company and products and focus on helping your audience solve problems. Share information with your audiences about how you’ve helped others just like them, show them you understand their needs, you care, you’ve been here before. Treat them as individual unique relationships, not like a mass market.
Instead of shouting your own claims to the world – here are some zero gravity approaches that will create kickbutt audience engagement that fuels revenue.
- Your marketing is ALL about them. Chest-thumping claims and self-promoting statements do not create trust in your audience. They do put buyers off and make them wonder about your truthfulness or motivation. When creating your positioning stories, focus on what’s important to your audience and leave the chest thumping for the gym.
- Tell a compelling story. Encapsulate your messages in stories that demonstrate your customer’s experience and bring them to life. Let your successes talk for you –you’re your propaganda.
- Marketing is about relationships, not megaphone blasts. That email, social media and blog campaign blast will not speed your success in today’s world. The Delete key is too powerful. Social media is a marketing gift that enables you to build relationships with your audience. Be interactive, listen a lot and only share information that is topical with your audience. How can a campaign planned 4 months ago be relevant to your conversation today? Think about it.
- Let others speak for you. Forget making claims about yourself—where’s the credibility in that? The best evidence comes from independent sources, not you. Customer success, independent evidence, partner anecdotes and other 3rd party stories communicate your value in the most effective manner.
- Create trust. The reality is this. Customers buy for emotional reasons and from vendors they can trust. The want to do business with a vendor that cares more about their customers’ needs than their own bottom line. Otherwise the best products would always win. And we know that’s definitely not the case. When you listen to your audiences first and then communicate interactively with a focus on their needs and solving their issues, you create trust. Audiences need to see that you’re in it for them and their success, not just for yourself.
We all have Gravity.
It's human nature. We are humans in business, and humans are natural born gravity machines. Experience fuels learning, lessons become beliefs, beliefs become knowns and habits. We like to stick to the way we've always done it. Especially when things are changing around us; we reach for stability.
Sound familiar? We all do it - in our businesses, our professional selves and our personal lives. Yet we all have a choice – to stay stuck in gravity or shift into growth.Market leaders soar because they continuously and consciously adapt. Are you ready to step up and shift?
Check out Rebel's new book "Defy Gravity" today!
I started my consulting business in 1989, after selling large systems to financial services and aerospace markets. Since then I've worked with hundreds of technology vendors to introduce, reenergize and relaunch products and companies.