Marketing's Real Job
(Trust me your's isn't doing it)
MYM Tip #1
What is the purpose of marketing anyway? I mean, what is marketing really supposed to do? I guarantee if I asked one hundred business people this simple question, I'd probably get about how many different answers? That's right. About a hundred! Some people would say marketing's job is to get your name out in the marketplace. Others would say to position your company in the marketplace, or to build your brand name. Some would say to generate sales. Some would disagree and say that marketing's job is not to lead directly to sales necessarily, but to generate leads that are then handed over to the sales department.
Still others would say "awareness, or in other words, to get people to remember our name when they go to buy" Then there's always the group that just says marketing's job is to "make money."
And you know what, even though all of these answers are different, they're all partially right.
I wouldn't say that any of them are wrong. But here's what I would say: All of the answers I just mentioned are actually results of what happens when you run marketing and advertising that does what it's REALLY supposed to do.
So, because the answer to this simple question is so vital to the rest of what we teach, and so vital to your RESULTS, I want to take just a few moments to solve this mystery and demystify this whole process a little bit. Here's what marketing is supposed to do: Its purpose is actually three-fold: Its first job is to
capture the attention of your target market, and second, to give them the hope that reading or listening to your marketing piece will give them enough information to--here's the key word--facilitate...
facilitate their making the best decision possible when buying whatever you sell. Or in other words, train and teach them how to make the best available decision. Marketing's third job then is to
lower the risk of taking the next step in the buying process so you can further educate the prospect.
The result of effective marketing that accomplishes these three objectives is that it should cause your prospects and customers to draw the conclusion, "I would have to be an absolute fool to do business with anyone else but you... regardless of price." Let's take a closer look at these three things:
First, capturing your target market's attention.
This seems pretty obvious and pretty straight forward. But I can tell you this: there are right ways and wrong ways to do this, and I've got a specific formula that I'm going to give you later on that will ensure that you always do it the right way. It's done the wrong way 99% of the time. We'll get to that, but first let's talk about marketing's second objective, which is what we call "facilitating the prospect's decision making process." Do you understand that you've got prospects out there that need to buy what you sell, who are just starving and craving information? Because they're not experts at what you do, they don't know the parameters or the relevant issues surrounding the decision. They don't know how to make the best decision, which leaves an opportunity for you to guide them through this process. Your job is "facilitator of information" to help them make the best decision possible. Now if the best decision possible happens to be buying from you--and it should be--then that's all the better. You should think of yourself as the "fountain from whence all knowledge flows...." Or at least all of the knowledge germane to what you're selling. I'll show you how to accomplish that later on too, in this program. But here are the key principles right now:
See, regardless of what industry you're in, all businesses, on a base level, want the exact same things... they want more new customers, and less competition. They want to keep their margins, have their marketing and advertising work better, attract and retain more loyal customers, increase the conversion ratios for their sales people...and ultimately, they all want to make more money. True enough for you too, isn’t it?
Also realize that all prospects and customers all want the same things. They want to feel confident that their money has been well spent and their decision has been made to the best of their ability. They want the get the best deal, in terms of price and value. You never hear anybody say, "I shopped around to 8 car dealerships and negotiated the best deals possible in terms of how much car I got for my money, and finally decided to buy where I got the third best deal." No! People intuitively want to make the best decision possible, and not feel like they've got to second guess themselves all the time.
So we have two sets of values: The business wants more customers and loyal customers and higher margins... and the customer wants to feel confident that he's gotten the best possible deal, in terms of overall value. The process and principles that govern the matching of those two sets of values are exactly the same for every business. See, this is why we can work with thousands of companies a year in every imaginable industry, big or small. It's real simple: all you have to do as the marketer is figure out what's important to your prospects, educate them as to what constitutes the best deal in your industry, and then show him quantifiable proof that you actually provide that best deal, in terms of price and value, and communicate all of that to him in a way that he'll pay attention to, believe, and take action on.
See, then the prospect gets what he wants from you: not just the best deal--in terms of price and value, but also the unshakable confidence that he's actually made the best decision possible. The problem is, believe it or not, that most businesses come nowhere near delivering on that. They never even come close to holding up their end of the bargain. Instead of using marketing to educate and facilitate the decision making process and build a case, most companies fill their marketing with self-serving hyperbole, fluff, and platitudes that are only a thinly veiled way to say "buy it from me because I want you to give me your money, instead of somebody else." That's why people become jaded and tend to resist marketing. They tend to either dismiss it or worse, become skeptical of it. But you don't want to breed skepticism! You want your prospects to say that they'd have to be absolute fools to do business with anyone else but you, regardless of price!
So, after you've 1) gotten the target market's attention, and 2) given them decision-facilitating information, then marketing's third job is to give them a specific, low-risk, easy-to-take action that further facilitates their ability to make a good decision. What I'm saying here is you can't cram everything that a person needs to know--you can't completely facilitate that decision necessarily within the confines of an advertisement. There needs to be more information given--and we accomplish this via what we call marketing tools... which means putting things together for your prospects like reports, websites, audio CDs, cd ROMs, and so forth. I'll talk at length in an upcoming article, but for now, let me give you an example to crystallize all this.
Have you bought a new home before? I mean a brand new home, from a builder? They have lots of different ways to advertise and promote, but one of the major places that builders advertise is in the Sunday Paper in the New Homes section. But if you look in that section of the newspaper, you'll see that none of the ads there actually accomplishes what marketing is really supposed to do in the first place.
By way of review, marketing is supposed to 1]capture the attention of the target market, next, 2] facilitate their decision making process by educating them about what they need to know, and finally, 3] give them a low-risk way to become more educated and 4]take the next step to further the buying process. But the ads you'll find right now don't do this. Instead, they feature beautiful happy smiling people, pictures of houses and floor plans, price ranges of homes, and maps to various neighborhoods.
Open the home section of the newspaper and take a look at the ads. None of them do what marketing is really supposed to do. None of them capture prospective buyer's attention at all. At a glance, the ads all look virtually identical, contain the same kind of pictures and words, and from the prospect's standpoint ARE the same. There's nothing to get their attention, no acknowledgement of what the customer’s needs or problems might be. Then there's nothing in any of the ads to educate the prospect. There's nothing to facilitate their decision making processes. There's nothing to show them what they need to know... or tell them what the relevant and important issues to consider are.
How many things do you need to know when buying a new home? Are you an expert on lumber, plumbing, masonry, electrical, insulation, flooring, framing, roofing, finish out, and the 613 other relevant, pertinent issues involved with building a home? Of course not. And you won't be after reading all those ads, either. You won't even know the relevant issues at stake. I'm not saying every buyer wants to know all that stuff; what I am saying is that all buyers would like to at least be aware of the relevant issues that determine the value of the purchase.
With these ads, all you know is that smiling people supposedly live there and they all have floor plans and maps to neighborhoods. All of these ads dropped the ball big time, and let me tell you why: Because prospective buyers want and need to be educated--so they can feel confident when making their decision--and nobody's providing it. The first one who does, wins.
In these ads there's no low-risk way for the prospect to take the next step in the buying process. The only option these ads give is to come into the model home. You say, that's low enough risk. The heck it is! You tell me, if you're just thinking about buying a new home, and the only offer is to come to a model home that's 45 minutes from your current house, and you know good and well that it is going to be fully stocked with starving sales people who are going to do everything in their power to force you to buy that home on the spot, is that low risk?
You say I exaggerate. You ever met the sales person who has to sit at those models all weekend long? 10% of them are wonderful, and 90% of them are starving and took the job because it's the only thing they could find that had a $2,000 a month draw and they look at you like a big thick juicy steak to be devoured, not a prospect who wants to make the best home buying decision possible. I mean come on, who else is going to take a job that requires you work every single Saturday and Sunday? Even car salespeople get one weekend day off. All of the ads fail miserably on this level; as a result, they all get lost in the shuffle of all the other ads. I'm here to tell you that there's a better way to handle this situation.
Why do you think that businesses always feel forced into a price competitive situation? If you feel like that's the case in your business, like you're always competing on price, it's your own fault, period. Your lack of marketing ability has led to a situation where there are no distinctions, there have been no other parameters or relevant issues introduced that you've educated your prospects on, no offers to lower the risk of taking the next step. If you feel like you're always competing on price it's because price is the ONLY relevant variable you've given your prospects to consider, and from the prospect's perspective, all things ARE equal, so they'd be a fool NOT to demand a lower price.