The world of marketing is changing at an exponential speed and has created an unprecedented age of the customer. The rise of smart phones has completely revolutionized how businesses reach their customer. It shapes marketing, selling, message and content. In this new age, a customer-obsessed message and brand is necessary to grow your business. This requires the discipline of a consistent message to succeed. Bad content is expensive, so create a well-structured message to prevent it. Although technology gives new and more ways to reach customers, technology also puts up more barriers than ever. In fact, buyers are 60% through the buying process before they ever speak to a salesperson. This is why content and message become important to break through the customer barrier. What makes for content that sells? Envestnet | Yodlee Incubator brought in Forrester Research to speak with our recent class of companies. We learned how to get customers to notice you with these five elements of a customer-obsessed brand.
Effective marketing content conveys who you are as a company and how you see the market. What is your focus and purpose? In your content, this translates into vision and mission. A vision paints the picture of a future state. It shows what the world looks like in 5, 10 or even 20 years. The company mission, then, describes your role in that future world. It explains why you do what you do now and how that fits into the future. It is your purpose and focus, your lodestar Xerox is a perfect example of purpose and focus. The developer of Xerox technology, Chester Carlson, stated that he wanted to “simplify how business operates.” This succinct mission has translated into multiple successful marketing campaigns throughout the years. They position their brand as the business of the future and help their customers reach this better future. Your company identity also connects to what you do in your company. A strong company identity conveys how you see the market, and proves you are successful in it. This then attracts others who see it the same way you do.
A common trap that many companies fall into is trying to market to everyone. Although you want to sell to anyone, marketing is only effective if you can be specific in who you target. Identifying your ideal customers shows them you understand them, their business and their problems. In B2B, a target audience can be put into two categories: the general segmentation and more specific key decision makers. A segmentation is a strategy for dividing a broad market into groups that have common needs, interests and priorities. This way you can design and implement marketing strategies to target them. The more specific you are, the clearer your message will be. Is it clear which companies your message is directed towards? Your segmentation could be directed towards a company size, a certain industry, role, or product line, for example. It is possible to have several different segmentations, such as company sizes. Approaching them separately, though, allows you to market to their specific needs. Once you have a general segmentation, you can then tailor your marketing to the key decision makers in your industry. This shifts the focus from a general group to specific people. Creating a persona can help you identify your ideal customer and their needs. A persona is a model of key behaviors, attributes, motivations and goals of your target customers. By researching your real customers, you can make the general customer less abstract and more human. One of the main goals of creating a persona is to understand their motivations for making a change. A common problem trying to sell a product is getting a customer to change and make a decision at all. By creating a persona, you can understand how to motivate them to purchase your product.
Your product will only be successful if it is resolving a problem that a business has. By bringing the business problem/opportunity to life, you show that you know what they care about. About 74% of purchasers will choose the vendor who was FIRST to turn a vision into a clear path. Naming a problem and solution early on is thus key. Talk about the problem from the customer’s perspective. Address their issues; don’t use the opportunity to brag about yourself. The goal is for the customer to see themselves in the issue, so they understand how the product can help them.
Business buyers do not buy your product; they buy your approach to solving their problem. This emotional appeal is key to successful marketing. Many technology companies make the mistake in getting caught up in the technical aspects of their business. Effective marketing, though, is more concerned with the customer and what your product can do for them. They are not concerned with how advanced your technology is. They only want your product if it makes their life faster, easier, or more efficient in some way. This all starts with the “why” of your company. Simon Sinek popularized this idea in his TED talk by stating, “WHY is a purpose, cause or belief. It is the very reason your organization exists.” Why should the business pick you? Why should they choose anyone at all? Many businesses decide to do nothing at all, so convince them to change the status quo. Your message must destabilize their preference for where they are, what they are doing and why they like it. Contrast today with a more desirable future. Show how the pain of change is better than the pain of staying the same. It is also essential to create urgency in your message. Why should they choose you now? Introduce an unconsidered need or expose flaws in the current approach. This shows them why they should not hesitate in purchasing your product. An impactful message blends understanding their outcomes and creating urgency. Many businesses forget to add urgency to their message and are put off as a result. Many B2B companies are also hesitant to discuss the competition while marketing. However, it is essential to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Showing how you differ from the competition influences how buyers evaluate alternatives. Contrast gets attention. If you want businesses to notice you, contrast your services from others.
Clear and Effective Communication
In order to be understood, communication needs to be clear and consistent. If your customer does not understand what you are trying to say, your marketing is wasted. Likewise, if it is stated in a way that fails to capture their attention, you are likely not going to get their business. A clear and logically structured message is key to marketing. The message also needs to be simple. Sentences over 10 words, jargon, complicated techno-speak and acronyms all lose your customer. Visual elements also need to be clear and understandable. Infographics can be an extremely useful marketing tool. In fact, infographics reach 54% more readers than blogs and have a 73% completion rate. Clear visuals are a powerful marketing tool in capturing a potential client’s attention. Effective communication also draws contrast and makes sharp distinctions between what your company does and other alternatives. Clear contrast makes your company stand out. An explicit call to action is an essential element to any marketing strategy. As stated before, your customer will opt to do nothing if not given ample reason and opportunity to do otherwise. A call to action, whether calling a salesperson or purchasing the product, is necessary to convert marketing to sales.
A customer-centric message is critical to growing your business. By implementing an effective and clear marketing strategy, you will reach more customers more efficiently. Use rapidly changing technology to launch your business and create more opportunities than ever before! Our entrepreneurs learned so much about how to make their marketing more effective from our session with Forrester. If you would like to learn more about the Envestnet | Yodlee Incubator, visit our website here. If you’re an entrepreneur with an idea to leverage financial transaction data, applications for our next cohort will be opening soon. Sign-up to get notified when applications open here.