How to find the marketing gold in your business
In today’s fast-paced multichannel world, it’s harder than ever to stand out and be heard. We’ve learnt to tune out the noise – after all, we’re limited in what we can process, let alone respond to.
So how do you get noticed for the right reasons without jeopardising the integrity of your brand and business? The answer is to have a point of view on what counts for your customers – something so simple but often the hardest thing to deliver as it requires clarity and bravery in equal measures.
As put so succinctly by author Pete Drucker: "The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service sells itself."
And this is where the modern-day marketer comes into his/her own. Forget channel tactics, budget efficiency, and sales integration – all important but easily sorted – it’s your customer knowledge and ability to offer an opinion that only you can create and own that will add real value to them and ultimately your business.
It’s all in the point of view
But what do you need to do to build an effective marketing campaign that has a definable and ownable business point of view at its heart? This is tricky but exciting, and is the part that makes your business what it is.
(Un)fortunately, many businesses don’t have the confidence to say something different, to stick their head above the parapet and offer an opinion on what’s important. ‘Leave it to the competitors’ and ‘Let’s see what the others say before we rush in’ are both common responses. In this situation, the ability to make confusing issues coherent for customers is undervalued in its power to capture attention.
Don’t be concerned if you struggle to decide what your opinion should be or lack a compelling argument – this isn’t the marketer’s job. Yes, you need someone who can write to formulate your point of view but it’s the business itself – research, experience, analysis, interpretation and logic – that holds the trump card. You don’t want something that reads well but has the depth of a proverbial puddle.
Business brains and creative muscle
We believe that all content, especially that which offers a point of view, should be based on a combination of business brains and creative muscle. This means using intelligence and insight within and outside of your business alongside the imagination and creativity proffered by your marketing team or agency.
The biggest challenge in this process is mining and understanding the data and insight within your business – the marketing gold – to inform and support your position in the marketplace. Every business has a wealth of knowledge and great minds, and when content mining is done well it builds trust and leads to information flow in all directions.
The aim of this invested time is ultimately to bring your services or products to life not by selling or pushing messages, but by creating high-quality, channel-relevant and engaging content that gets noticed, remembered and passed on.
As the king of content Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, said: “The easiest way to turn off your community is to broadcast the same message across multiple channels. Instead, determine the kind of content that interests the members of your community in a way that is useful to them.”
Building a bridge between your content and business plan
This leads me to another important factor to consider: What do you want people to do? Ultimately, content strategies with a point of view at their heart must reflect your business plan.
No business would launch a product or new service without a business plan and your content strategy should be aligned to this – are you looking to drive sales, build brand awareness or target a new market? If everyone in your business has access to this information, they’ll understand your business point of view when it emerges and will support and drive the conversation for you.
Look up and around
So now you have the data and insight from the thinkers within your business you need to ensure your content is relevant and usable for the channels that are pertinent to your customers (as well as aligned to their various challenges). This takes thought and understanding of broader business and sector issues to ensure the content you produce is relevant and impactful, with a point of view that resonates externally.
Make sure someone in your business has an eye on the external world – broader news, trade media, think tanks, government policy and analyst thinking – as this context is invaluable in ensuring your opinion is not only pertinent but informed.
By joining business brains with creative muscle you can create a content strategy with a distinct point of view at its heart that really engages an end audience and supports your business plan for growth. And if you get it right I promise it’ll be marketing gold.