A few years ago, I was discussing a relationship problem with a friend when she threw me a golden line — a lifeline of sorts. Her words of wisdom were: “It’s all marketing!”
Who knew a short string of words could change it all? That line has stayed with me and shined light on many of my problems (professional and personal) ever since.
I use marketing skills in every single one of my conversations. Explaining an idea, consoling a friend, persuading a client, or even discussing important topics with my family — it’s all marketing.
Life and marketing are pretty similar, if you ask me. A lot of the lessons I’ve learned at work transfer over considerably well to my everyday life, and many of the lessons I learn in life apply perfectly to my marketing stints. Some are common sense, while others are harder to live in everyday life — but all are helpful to keep both a sane mind and a healthy brand.
Whether you are an in-the-know techie (hey, you’re reading this blog!) or you do marketing for a living, there are some things we should all be clear on. I figured it was time we all go back to the basics of our marketing skills, yeah?
In any case, I hope they help.
1. Perception is everything.
We shift our stories to achieve a perception in people. If you want your audience to perceive you a certain way, you will mold your words to produce that. It may or may not work, so tread carefully when using this marketing skill.
Be conscious of the fact that the way your audience perceives you is all that matters. Whether it be your customer or your grandma, it’s about perception.
2. Frame your way out of it.
Bad things happen, and good things happen. There’s no telling what each day will bring, but there is a way to maintain a content and positive frame of mind.
If you a hit a total roadblock, that’s okay. Your car stopped in the middle of the road. Your website got hacked, and your boss cursed on live television. Your workout wasn’t as good as you wanted. Guess what? That’s all okay — if you want it to be.
You market to yourself and your customers alike. Try framing your experiences and crises within a positive light, as an opportunity for growth.
Applying your marketing skills on yourself will help you apply it on customers, too.
3. Tell a compelling story.
There are infinite ways of communicating a single idea, but choosing which path to take should take into consideration the most effective way of making an impact on the audience. It’s no coincidence that what we remember most of our days as children are stories!
Communication is highly memorable and impactful when packaged within a story. Not only will your audience be more likely to recall what you want them to, but they’ll also be more likely to do what you’re asking them — all because they’ll subconsciously be relating your message to their own lives.
4. Create more value than you capture.
Stop asking people to do stuff for you. They’re getting bored of it, and so are you — because it isn’t working!
Every marketing message should have an ask, or a call-to-action. Or should they?
Some of the most successful brands out there don’t actually ask for much outright. Instead, they create value for the customer, instead. For example, Starbucks creates value through letting users come up with their own ideas for the brand, and Doritos created value by allowing users to create their Superbowl advertisement. There are a million more examples out there, but the notion is the same — don’t just try to capture value.
Create it instead.
5. Everyone has one goal — growth.
I don’t care if you are selling luxury handbags or drum lessons, be aware that your audience’s goal (no matter what age group you’re going for) is primarily to grow as humans. Sound corny? Well, yeah, that’s because it is corny — but that isn’t a problem.
Whether they admit it outright or not, humans are looking to grow and learn with every action they take. Your coworkers are looking to grow, your customers are looking to grow, and your friends are looking to grow. If you try to market to them in such a way that helps them along that growth path, you’re gold.
6. Content is king — for creativity.
So, if you want to be creative or innovative with your marketing skills, look around at what’s going on out there in the world. Study all kinds of topics and success stories — even if it’s not directly related to your area. All creative output comes from creative input — give it a try!
7. Be gentle and constructive with your feedback.
It’s hard to be told you suck — and even worse to be told your ideas suck. Part of what kills creativity is the fear of rejection, so imagine how many great ideas are stifled before they are even communicated and shared?
I think that can be avoided, if everyone just learned to take a more gentle approach to giving feedback. Instead of saying, “No, I don’t agree,” try saying “Interesting, and what if we took that idea and …” By not rejecting an idea or project, by simply taking it in a new direction, creativity won’t be stifled and more amazing stuff can come to light.
8. If you don’t listen to me, I’m not lifting a finger.
There’s always an easy way out — and in the marketing world, that easy way out means talking about yourself, your company, your product, your whatever you are promoting. Take a hint, and start talking about the audience.
Nobody wants to hear about how great you are. They want to hear about how you can help them. Do you like it when your friends talk about themselves for the entire conversation? Do you like it when your boss talks about the company as if they know what’s actually going on? Do you like it when your significant other goes on and on about their day without stopping to ask about yours?
Hint: Listen to your audience. This will motivate them to care about you, too.
9. Help others create meaning.
Just like searching for growth, people want to create their own types of meaning. Not everyone is a writer, not everyone is an artist, not everyone is a business strategist — but everyone seeks to create their own type of meaning and expression.
How can you help your audiences (consumers, users, friends, family, clients) create some type of meaning? Everyone could use some of your help. Are you willing to help?
Bio: Marcella Chamorro released a book on authenticity in marketing, titled To Be or Like to Be. She is a blogger, speaker, and consultant based in Managua, Nicaragua, working on creating technologies to help people be more creative.