A New Definition of Marketing
Are you ready to commit to making 2013 your best year yet? Or are you planning on doing the same things you did year after year leading up to where you are now? If you're not continuously working on your professionalism, on your personal growth, on your value proposition, on differentiating yourself from others and on finding new relevance to your customers, you will soon find yourself moving in the wrong direction.
No one buys promotional products. Oh, yes, there are some people who buy stuff. But only a fool pays a premium to buy stuff. You'll find the market for fools is shrinking. You'll find selling at cost or little margin is not going to sustain you either.
No one buys promotional products. They buy increased market share, increased productivity, reactivation of dormant accounts, employee retention, consumer motivation, brand-building, trade show traffic, training, talent recruitment, behavior change, safer workplaces, a better image to Wall Street, event and experience marketing, measureable advertising, trade partner relationships and customer loyalty. And they'll pay a premium for these problem solvers.
Here's the thing. Problem solvers ALWAYS make money. They command a premium price too. Your job is to get so good, to care so much, to think so hard that you find the pain and bring the relief. How do you get customers to allow you to solve their problems? You become a marketer. To be a successful marketer, you need to be a successful self-marketer. My new definition of marketing has three parts:
- Turn Strangers Into Friends.
You invite strangers to befriend you by being authentic. By knowing what you stand for and by standing for it. You need to be approachable. You need to present yourself in an attractive manner. This first step is Presence. What does your website say about you? What does your email address say about you? What does your business card communicate? How does WHO you associate with communicate your brand? Do you ooze empathy? Do you show a concern for solving problems. Do you talk about stuff or about solutions? How are you positioning yourself as an expert?
- Turn Friends Into Customers.
Your presence establishes your image and your positioning. Strangers have found that you are approachable and are interested in them and in providing them with value. They have learned that you really want to help and that you take pride in your creativity, your innovation and your ability to solve problems. They have learned that you want to make them look good and help them succeed. This leads them to the second step: TRUST. This is the greatest gift that anyone can give you. Treasure it. Earn it. Work for it every day. Make them feel good about themselves for taking the risk of trusting you. You have a great responsibility to your customers. They have entrusted you with a project that could have a positive or negative influence on their job. They have entrusted you with their brand. Think of every characteristic of a best friend and then make sure you deliver every moment.
- Turn Customers into Raving Fans.
Don't just deliver. Astound. Think of every customer interaction as your opportunity to be AWESOME! What other terms can you think of—blow them away, knock their socks off, impress, delight, surprise—this is your job. Do it. Deliver awesomeness to every customer, every day. Make a conscious decision to do something memorable with every order you deliver, with every client interaction. The third step is EXPERIENCE. You make yourself memorable by delivering remarkable experiences. Customers won't talk about you if you don't give them something to talk about. Add on great surprises, a little something extra, a little something unexpected.
You want your customers to be proud of themselves for choosing to work with you. You need to make them feel justified in paying more for the experience you deliver. When you can deliver something to your customers that they just can't get anywhere else, you can charge them what ever you deserve. Because they can't get that anywhere else. What is that? It's inside you. Dig it out. Work at it every day.