7 ways to start marketing for (not to) people

Unilever CMO Keith Weed recently argued how the traditional marketing team structure is in need of an overhaul. “What marketers do to engage customers has changed almost beyond...

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At a recent talk Unilever CMO Keith Weed warned that the functions and skill levels of marketing teams are in need of an overhaul. “In the past decade, what marketers do to engage customers has changed almost beyond recognition,” says Weed. “Yet in most companies the organizational structure hasn’t (budged).”

Marketing for people is the new marketing mindset

As a social media agency we spend a lot of time helping our clients to recalibrate their modern marketing mindset. The act of marketing for people, instead of to, as Weed aptly describes it in his co-written article in the Harvard Business Review, can be difficult for some businesses with more traditional marketing models to grapple with. But there are steps you can take to begin the transition.

Here are 7 actionable ways marketers can begin to adopt the marketing for people ethos.

1. Offer solutions

In the mind of the modern consumer, if you want my attention, you need to be helping me to achieve my goals in some way. By offering me something of value, whether it’s answering a question, solving a problem, or just making my day a bit brighter, I might pay attention to you. If you talk to me about your products or services when that’s not what I asked for, I’ll leave the room (or click away).

2. Give me an experience

It’s not enough anymore to have a website full of information users can explore at will. Well-designed websites, apart from looking attractive, must immediately grab the user and take them on a journey. Depending on your marketing strategy, this could mean beginning with a 60-sec promotional video, explaining your product offering and how it fits their need, leading to a free trial or download, in which you capture their data for a later follow-up email or call. Designing your website with your visitor’s purpose as well as your own in mind, will help to ensure they have a positive and valuable experience, increasing the likelihood of a return visit.

3. Go beyond Facebook

The ever-evolving landscape of social media is creating opportunities for marketers that extend far beyond Facebook and Twitter. Take note of how people and other brands are using channels like Vine, Snapchat, and Instagram. As the market continues to explore these channels, your company or brand can be among the first to resonate with its users. There’s nothing cooler than a business that’s ahead of the game.

4. Embrace the new performance metrics

Engagements, impressions, reach, replies, retweets, views, follows, downloads, data capture: these are the new metrics to consider along with traditional click-through and open rates. In this new world the old rules do not necessarily apply, and what you measure and how it corresponds to your marketing and business goals is entirely up to you. If you’ve embraced the marketing for people ethos, then relevancy (which can be measured by views and shares, among others) should be as highly regarded as conversions.

5. Give me something to share

What do we mean by this? There’s no point in putting loads of effort into a piece of content that reads like an essay and looks like a contract, but time and time again we see this type of content being offered next to share buttons, which unsurprisingly show little to no result. Producing content, even B2B, should among other things: grab the reader, communicate with short and to the point phrasing, and use lots of powerful images to help illustrate the message. Shareable content types for B2B companies can include infographics, reports, best practice guides, checklists, even expert whitepapers. When presented in an interesting, shareable formula and with the right promotion, even the most ‘boring’ content can be shareable.

6. Listen to what I really want

Social media is much more than a place to push content and marketing messages. Many companies are already using it as a highly effective customer service tool, but it can also be an invaluable space to trial new messaging and report on audience behaviour. With tools like Sentiment, Talkwalker and Brandwatch, the use of social media monitoring and analytics has gone well beyond its PR origins. Learn more about choosing the right social media monitoring tool for your business or brand.

7. Talk to me

Behind every tweet, post, even ads, there sits a real person, so why do we sound so automated? Whether you’re a consumer brand or a B2B company there’s no reason for you not to appear human. One of our favourite examples of a corporate brand interacting with its audience on their level is from O2, one of the UK’s leading mobile broadband providers. Check out this hilarious tongue-in-cheek response to a customer complaint, which was retweeted thousands of times. People love to see brands taking the time to respond in unique ways, and if you can make them laugh, even better.

If you’re a business or brand that may struggle with the new marketing for mentality, you’re not alone. Please feel free to post any questions below or contact us anytime for an informal chat about how you can infuse more value-driven content into your digital marketing practices.

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