Marketing methods can change dramatically. The marketing principles that underlie all these methods, however, don't really change. It's just the way they are applied that gets a makeover every decade or so.
Here are four key marketing principles that are just as true now as they’ve ever been, whether you're spreading your message via print, radio, word of mouth, or social media.
Marketing Depends on Your Ability to Listen
Effective marketing (marketing that gets people to take action) is never about the product or service you want to sell. It's always about the people who might buy it.
People operate from a self-preservation instinct. Once that's satisfied, and they feel certain of survival, they seek to fulfil other needs: comfort, security, pleasure, curiosity. That's why it's so important that marketing be based upon intelligent, careful listening. Your job as a marketer is to listen to what your customers aren't saying, to pick up on the visceral needs and desires hidden in the more socially acceptable reasons they might give for making a purchase.
It's not that consumers are self-centered jerks. "What's in it for me?" is a legitimate question from a consumer about to invest limited funds, especially in a world that provides almost unlimited choices. Your job is to convince the consumer that your offer is the best choice, the choice that will meet the need, fulfil the desire. In order to convince consumers, you need to listen well enough to know what they're really seeking.
Marketing Is All About Benefits
Too many marketing messages focus on the product. Consumers aren't interested in the product; they're interested in what they'll get from the product. Take your long list of features (unlimited options, warranty, extra bells and whistles, accessory package, live customer service) and translate it into benefits. You can still show that feature comparison chart, but show it after you tell the story of benefits.
As you listen to your customers, you'll learn how to tell the benefit story. You'll pick up on what your consumers are really seeking: security, convenience, prowess, recognition, exclusivity. There are plenty of needs and desires that motivate buyers; listen well and learn what motivates your buyers, then focus on telling a story that reveals how your product gives them the benefits they seek.
Marketing Is a Message to An Individual
You may be broadcasting an advert on national television, or paying for ads to pop up on a million Internet searches. It doesn't matter; each consumer is an individual, trapped in a single body, working with an individual mind, motivated by individual needs and desires.
When you speak to a group, or address a crowd, you put the burden of individual interpretation on each potential customer. Don't do that. The more obstacles a consumer has to jump through to understand the value of your product, the more likely you are to lose the sale. Do the work for your market by sharing an individual message, because there's really no other way to communicate.
Marketing Is Nothing Without Customer Service
Marketing is all about the messages you send to your consumers. If you're doing it right, you're talking directly to individual consumers, about precisely what they care about most: their needs, their wants. If you produce marketing that draws in customers, and then follow up with sloppy service, you've betrayed your customer. You promised them that you cared about their needs; then you blatantly showed that you do not. Betrayal is unforgivable, which is why 78% of buyers have canceled a purchase
after experienced bad customer service.
Marketing has to be a company-wide endeavour, built in from the very foundations so that the message to each consumer matches their sales encounter and follow-up experience. Wh ere there is a mismatch, the consumer feels, at best, uncertain and confused. At worst, the consumer feels belittled and betrayed.
Market with a clear message that you care about what your customers, then match the values, processes, and systems of your business with that message. That's called integrity, and it's a principle that lasts through all product iterations, marketing methods, business trends and fads.