The more the world of marketing has changed, the more certain fundamentals have stayed consistent.
Here market-validated marketing principles that are just as relevant today as they ever were.
1. Know your target market's hopes, fears, dreams, frustrations, and aspirations.
Before you jump into planning out your marketing tactics...
Before you create your messaging...
Before you design your marketing funnel...
Pause and get clear on exactly who you are reaching out to touch, and what they care about. I can't tell you the number of marketing messages I get each day that show that the person or company behind that message took no effort to think about what really matters to me. The voice was impersonal, self-absorbed, and narcissistic.
Your target market is made up of individuals just like me, and what they want to know is: "Do you even care about me?" "Do you really understand me and my unique situation?"
The bottom line is that the most effective marketing message is, was, and ever will be the words that your prospect speaks in his or her own heart. That requires that you get to know them - intimately.
2. The most important marketing decision you will ever make is your "list selection."
Translated into the modern world of marketing, invest the time and energy to narrow your focus down on to the right target market. Your choice of who to go after (and who to ignore) may just be the most important marketing decision you ever make.
More is not better; better is better. So narrow your focus down to the pools of prospects who are most likely to match your target market. Are you really fishing in the right fishing hole? What adjustments should you make? Pools should you test?
In the language of old time direct marketers, "Choose the right list."
3. Speak directly to your prospects as if you were talking directly to one person, not a "marketplace."
Nothing turns off a potential customer more than an email, webpage, or direct mail piece that speaks to the "marketplace." Speak to one person. Whether your brand voice is informal and casual, or formal and precise, imagine you are writing or speaking to one person.
Also recognize that your prospect doesn't care about you. They are just like you and me - wrapped up in their own lives, their own problems, their own needs.
What's the most effective language? Talking directly to your prospect about themselves.
4. Support your value.
Your prospect is jaded, skeptical, and wary. He is asking himself: "Why should I listen to you? Why should I trust what you're saying?"How do you handle that? Do what the best direct marketers have done for decades - support your value. Give concrete, believable, real messaging and visual cues that increase trust, build value, and help you gain credibility.
This includes things like:·
Case studies (E.g. "Here is how ACME Inc solved this challenge and how you can too...")·
White papers (A more formal version of a case study, often by an independent, credible third party, whom you may or may not have paid to craft the white paper.)·
Testimonials (Video is best, text with a real photo next, and so on...)·
Results statistics (E.g. "37.3 percent of our users...")·
Use of actual photo or product demonstration· Market position (E.g. "As the leading producer of..." )·
Endorsements (Implied and explicit)· Media appearances, reviews, and awards