Marketing is about far more than demographic research and business metrics. At its core, what it’s really about is communication. About building relationships with clients, customers, and business partners. For that reason, the first stage in any brand’s marketing journey should be fostering good communication skills – here’s how.
Communication and marketing go hand-in-hand. The ability to effectively connect with both customers and business partners is critical at every stage of the buyer’s journey, from initial awareness through to post-purchase support. Yet somehow, many companies – particularly smaller businesses – don’t seem to understand this.
They get caught up in discussions about search engine optimization. They obsess over metrics such as likes and shares. They put out paid advertisements, tweet regularly, and do everything by-the-book, just as every business marketing guide tells them they should.
In short, they try to copy what successful brands do without fully understanding why they do it. In short, they approach marketing as a technical challenge rather than a human one. And that’s a mistake.
“If you’re starting a new enterprise with limited power for getting the word out and you blow the communication, it’s all over,” writes Dan Pallotta in a Harvard Business Review article. “Everything else [in a marketing campaign] has to be in service of [what you are trying to say]…You will never get the business results you want by putting something other than communication first.”
We aren’t just referring to external B2C communication here, either. Internal communication is every bit as important. How many successful marketing campaigns do you think there are where the copywriting team didn’t know what the graphic designers were doing, and neither group had any contact with the web design team?
Somewhere between not many and none.
The good news is that it’s not especially difficult to improve your communication skills, even in a purely business context. First, learn to listen to your customers – and I mean really listen. Spend as much time as necessary looking at how they communicate.
What language do they typically use? How do they talk with friends and family versus professional acquaintances? Look at the brands they typically associate with – what sort of relationship do they have with those organizations?
Beyond that, you’ll also want to brush up on your writing skills. Nothing kills a marketing campaign quicker than poor wording, bad spelling, or abysmal grammar. Hire a writer or a social media manager if you must, but make sure your writing is both concise and error-free.
It’s also important to think long and hard about what you want to say and how you want to say it. Drill it down to a single key point for each piece of copy or media you put out. Pay attention to the little details in your marketing as well.
Everything in your campaign should be in some way deliberate. Each image should mesh with what you’re trying to say and fit your brand’s unique identity. Everything from your typeface to your font size to your color scheme should be taken into account.
Lastly, and most importantly, you need to find your voice. Aping your competition will only take you so far. Think about what defines your brand.
What makes you unique? What are your core values? Why did you create your business in the first place?
These are all questions you need to answer. Because once you do – and once you’ve figured out your audience – all that’s really left is to start talking.
Daniel Page is the Director of Business Development for ASEOhosting, a leading provider in SEO hosting and multiple IP hosting.