Author: Jim Laero
These five basics should be in every piece of media you use to communicate in today’s market.
1. Your Identity (Brand)
Business-to-business and consumer customers are creatures of habit. Customers buy-in when they are assured, or comforted, by what, or who, is marketed to them. Human comfort levels are reached when we “identify” with a product. Your image, “identity or brand,” is critical to gaining that customer comfort level. Every business has a brand. Even if they don’t believe they do. Many small businesses don’t think much about branding, but that doesn’t mean they are not branding themselves to their markets. From mom & pop’s corner store to the fortune 500 corporations on Wall Street, every company presents an image just by being in the market. Branding is either something that occurs naturally or by design. When branding occurs naturally it is still branding but usually bad branding. Your identity should be built into your media both visually and in the text copy of each piece. Your colors should be consistent. The fonts you use should be consistent. Your message should be consistent. For more on this read the article, Use Your Image to Build Customer Comfort.
2. One Core Message
Consistency builds credibility. Consumers and B2B customers do not like to gamble with their money when it comes to their purchases. They want you to assure them of your trustworthiness. They want to know that you will be there for them after the purchase. They want to know why they should buy from you. Your core message should communicate exactly that. a. What makes your product or service special to your customers? b. Why is it better for your customers to buy from you than from your competitors? How does your company guarantee customer satisfaction? Your core message needs to be consistent across all of your marketing resources. Use it in all of your communication processes from your brochures to the way your employees answer the phone. And use it when you make business decisions to ensure that there is substance behind the claims of your core message. This consistent exposure of your message, and adherence to its claims, will build credibility in the hearts and minds of your clients. And credibility builds their comfort level regarding doing business with you. Learn more about using your core message from the article, Use One Core Message to Build Credibility.
3. Three-second Motivation
In most marketing opportunities you will have about three seconds to captivate your audience. Most people reading direct mail never get past the envelope. Internet users will depart from a poorly done website in three seconds, and never return. Your marketing and advertising resources must do their job quickly. Each piece must first grab the attention of the viewer and then strategically move them from one point to the next. Good media can lead buyers to action. People make decisions with their emotions and intellect. This applies to general consumers and B2B consumers. Good media moves the heart and convinces the head. Good media leads readers to take immediate action by integrating effective design and compelling copy to move buyers to make productive choices.
4. Street Level Focus
General consumer customers live in houses connected to streets located in neighborhoods. Most business-to-business customers work in offices located in buildings along streets in cities or neighborhoods. People don’t live or work in the clouds. They make purchasing choices based on how the purchase will make their own life better, easier, more productive, more rewarding, more profitable, healthier, happier etc. They don’t like to gamble when they make a purchase. Even the most liberal purchaser will bottom-line their decision to where they live and where they are in life. All customers buy at street level, where they live and where they work. Few buy because of product performance alone. Even fewer buy because of price alone. There is a tendency in business to lose sight of the simplicity of marketing, to start thinking with your head in the clouds, to lose sight of your customers. Take time this week to review your marketing and sales materials and ask yourself this simple question, “Is this message going to make my customers feel like their lives will get better if they respond to it?” If the answer is no, toss it. If you can’t answer yes, then who would? Read more about street-level focus in the article, Keep It On The Streets.
5. Social Communication
In the old days nearly all business marketing was accomplished using face-to-face social interaction. Even when using such advertising techniques as TV ads and direct mailers, most final sales and customer services were done in person or via the phone. Customers were gained and retained through person-to-person social interactions. With the introduction of the Internet this process has indeed been dramatically affected, but the underlying principles have not. Today, all marketing and advertising media should tie directly into a website and social media. If you are going to hold your customer base, your business needs to evolve socially to keep pace with today's consumer and B2B markets. Read more about social communication in the article, The New-Old Standard: Communicate Socially.