Get ready. Here comes a corny joke.
Interrupting Cow w---
And that's why people hate marketing. You've got a perfectly good thing going on and along comes an interrupting cow and messes the whole thing up.
Traditional marketers will tell you people don't mind marketing interruptions, as long as it's something they care about, as long as you've got the best interest of the customer at heart, as long as you bring value.
Respect is More Important than Value
My husband and I celebrated our anniversary this year with a kid-free ski trip. We always scope out the runs and check out the trail map while we ride the ski lift. We eagerly anticipated taking our first run at full speed.
Just as we were about to load the lift, another skier swooped in to sit with us. Normally it's no big deal to share the lift with a stranger, but she skied right in between us.
Turns out she worked at the resort and since we'd never skied there before, she was a wealth of information. She told us what runs we would like, what lift to avoid if we didn’t want to break our necks and that if we waited a few hours to ski the bowl, the snow would be perfect.
She delivered information we cared about. She obviously cared that we enjoyed our time at the resort. She brought value with the insider knowledge about the bowl. But she interrupted us! And her disrespect is the lingering impression of our encounter.
Marketing Interrupts, Branding Invites
Traditional advertising is just like that ski patrol -- interrupting our day to force their message on us. As a business owner, you can empathize – they’ve got to let people know about their message, right?
Wrong. In a world where consumers can click away, fast forward or use paid services to avoid advertising, business owners need to flip the advertising model.
Instead of building a product and then shouting about it until someone pays attention, business owners need to listen to customers and find out what they want. Only then do you go into product development. Only then do you build a business around solving the problem. After that, telling people about your solution is easy.
Marketing People Want
Step outside your business and think about things from the consumers' perspective. What problems do they have? What solutions do they need?
Email newsletters that deliver information around your product (not solely information about your product). A photographer that specializes in Etsy product photos sending emails about product package design, supporting props, etc.
Promotional brochures that look and feel like art. Wedding photographer printing on quality paper, senior photographers recreating a magazine look and feel, etc.
Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram feeds that support the lifestyle of your target audience. Sports photographer using quotes and images promoting active lifestyle and healthy living.
Website designed with the user in mind. Ask your clients why they visit your site. Take the top five reasons and make those your menu choices. A family photographer could develop menu choices with
- Photo and shoot style
- Prices & Packaging
- Photo session experience
- Client FAQ
- Client Gallery
Try it out
How can you change the way you interact with your clients? Are you viewing your communication with them through their eyes? How can you create stronger branding? How can you make your business a solution to customer's problems? How can you underscore the story they want to believe about themselves?