Thursday, April 28, 2011

Connecting With Customers - What Marketing is Really About

For many marketing still has the slimy connotation of trickery, of being talked into something. In a way I get this especially given that many see advertising as synonymous with marketing. You might have seen the recent YouTube video where the ball girl makes an amazing catch and the later disclosure that it was produced by an advertising agency for Gatorade. Stunts like that definitely leave us a little jaded.

While the obvious argument is that not all advertising needs to be such a set-up, I would also argue that marketing is very different than advertising on many levels. I define advertising as talking at your customers and marketing as talking with your customers or connecting with them.

There's nothing underhanded in marketing. You're defining a customer base, identifying their needs and communicating how you can satisfy them. You are letting them know that you have something they already wanted and were looking for.

To do this successfully you need to know who your customer base is, where they're searching and you need to communicate the value that you offer. Marketing is explaining why they would want to choose your product over a competitor's. I see the ruffled feathers again, you're thinking sales, talking them into buying your product. Stop!

If you can clearly state the benefits of your product or service and how it's different, not necessarily better, than the competition, not only does the decision become clear, you leave it completely in the hands of the customer. If you've communicated well and they don't choose you, it only means they weren't the right customer in the first place.

Marketing is telling the best possible story to the most interested person. To market well you need to find your unique story, your target market and then connect with them by sharing that story.

I encourage comments directly to this post, but also feel free to email me directly with questions, reactions, struggles, etc.
If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Jen from Mama's Magic Studio about joining SFEtsy!


Jen (Mama's Magic Studio) said...

this is really great -- i've been hearing a lot lately about the importance of "telling your story" and it makes a lot of sense to me. Marketing as narrative. I like it!

Anonymous said...

Yes, the narrative is a very powerful tool. I feel like marketing is something that you always have to be working on in this business. It is not stagnant.

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