Lots of people identify themselves as marketers, but sadly many of them just shuffle paper and spread useless and ineffective social media. They spend other people's money creating worthless brochures and websites that have no impact on customer relationships and ROI. And then there are the search engine optimization companies. Many of these companies are modern day snake oil salesmen promising to put you at the top of the charts for a measly few thousand dollars a month.
At times, it's embarrassing for me to be associated with a trade that has no set standards for what consistently constitutes success and quality. But happily, there are some amazingly brilliant professionals who strive to push the limits in a profession that is starved for innovation.
Here are the five core elements these people truly worthy of the term marketer have mastered:
1. Focus on intent.
Want to separate true marketers from hacks? Take a look at their materials and ask them why they made every choice. So often the answer will be: I don't really know. Or: That's the way we have always done it. Or here's my favorite: It's standard for our industry. The idea of marketing starts with the prospect or customer. A great marketer decides what he or she wants to accomplish with the target and creates a campaign in which every detail has purpose and intent to compel the target to that specific action. Everything else is a crapshoot or waste of resources. From now on, every time you make a marketing decision to take action, ask yourself why you are doing so. If you don't have a good answer, don't do it.
2. Craft the message.
Does your catchphrase or blog sound trite and redundant with what everyone else in your industry is saying? Marketing is not about putting words together to fill the required space and attract keywords. Great marketers break through by crafting a compelling value proposition that resonates with the need of the potential customers. Identify the pain you can solve for your customers and let them know you are there to resolve their issues with your product or service. They won't care about you until you demonstrate you care about them.
3. Coordinate actions.
So many people in marketing think that each marketing tool creates return on its own. They must, because so much of what I see is wholly uncoordinated. The website is unrelated to the ad or, worse, what the sales team is saying. Successful marketing is a coordinated series of events that build upon one another to help drive a potential customer to action. Make sure your messaging is aligned with your value proposition. Every piece of marketing should have a distinctly related feel to everything else you do. Chart out the path of the customer, and use each tool to enhance the experience along the way. Make sure your sales team uses the tools and the language or they will derail the entire process.
4. Engage creativity.
When I am having trouble sleeping, I go and surf websites from a single industry. I get so bored from seeing the same tired pictures and phrasing, I can barely keep my eyes open. Today's marketers have such wonderful and creative tools at their disposal, and yet they use a fraction of the resources available. Most business videos are sure to get you snoring after 20 seconds. Breakthrough marketers understand that they are entertainers first. They use the entire palette of color to delight the potential customer. Most people want to have fun whenever they can, so give them the chance, and they are sure to come back to you more often.
5. Practice measurement.
Many in the marketing profession think the creation and distribution of a marketing piece is the endgame. They are proud of the website they built, or brochure they created and distributed to the masses. Breakthrough marketers understand that the only endgame is return on investment. Those who are serious about marketing are data hogs watching the responses on every level so they can tweak and adjust to get to the optimum return. Find a way to measure return on every marketing dollar you spend. If you can't measure it, reapportion the resource to a campaign that is quantifiable. Ultimately, every company hires a marketer for one reason, to make money.
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