Everyone has become a marketer. In fact, everyone’s own brand is at stake in this new economy, where an individual’s brand is shaped by what we share. And despite your title, the choices you make as a “marketer” affect customer’s decisions. Although business is divided into 3 distinct categories of enterprise, mid-market and small business, we all face one distinct bond that ties them together: relationships. Whether it’s the relationship with people, or with a brand, we are all building them in order to succeed.
As marketers, we are trying to figure the best approach to solving problems. To help tackle the complex and disruptive issues we all face as marketers, here are 5 rules on how to better market your “something”:
Context will matter more than ever before. We’re listening better, we’re learning more, and we’re developing the technology and skills to better target, personalize, and deliver messaging at just the right time, in just the right space, to just the right person. Giving context to what you care about, are talking about, will help develop your tribe more quickly with the right people.
Real time conversations – We’re moving into the era of social context. Technology will get us there very soon to deliver personalized and individualized experiences between humans and brand marketers, delivering real time opportunities to speak human to human, as it should be. Bringing these real time conversations to the masses as they happen will be necessary to capture the moment before it passes us by.
Transparency – The stories we tell have to connect as simply as possible to the core of your audience. In order to do this, it takes real authenticity and transparency. I know these are the buzzwords of the day, but I don’t use them loosely. It’s that simple. Be real. Be open and honest. And your customers will respect you and your brand for it.
Employee Advocacy – Company leaders are asking the wrong question when it comes to word of mouth and social: “How do I get my employees to share my information?” The question they should be asking is “how can I help them share their own information?” Everyone wants to help, but will only be inspired to when they feel their company shares a vested interest in them. Your employee’s are your best advocates; they care about your brand and want to share their experiences, but need the guardrails to be sure they’re safe and not crossing the boundaries you’ve set.
Simplify How We Speak – I’m suggesting that we need to ALL simplify our approach in how we communicate to who matters most, the customer. And that all starts by speaking human. This means personifying how you communicate; show your human side by being empathetic to those who make mistakes. Use plain language to describe what you do so everyone can understand. And embrace the quirks that make you, you.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Marketing is the new black in today’s business, no matter how big or small. The rules are simple; Know who you are, what you care about, shout it from the rooftops in an authentic way, and tell the unique stories that matter most to your audience. With this advice, no matter your title in your “day job”, the marketer in you will find people that care about, and want to share, the things that you’re selling.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.