They show potential customers that they are interested in solving real problems. They don’t just act like they care. They actually care and they prove it in the way they act. They genuinely seek to help their customer to improve their lives through their content, their expertise, their passion and, if they are lucky, through the stuff they sell.
And like in real life and common human interaction, Marketing means you have to give much more than you hope to receive. Great marketers are passionate teachers, giving away their expertise with only the hope that they are helping people. The business benefit is in establishing trust, and building an audience of people who believe in you to help them in times of need.
When given a choice, we only buy from brands we know, like and trust!
Marketing Requires Empathy
But how do you do you explain the power and importance of empathy to executives who don’t have any? How do you explain empathy when businesses only want to sell, and promote, and hang their logos on stadiums and golfers hats?
You have to show them that, as a society, we tune out ads, and promotion, and ego-driven marketing tactics. Promotion and propaganda don’t work in today’s world.
But we tune into content and brands that helps us. The only way to accomplish this is for brands to create content that actually helps people. And lots of it. Because we have been burned many times. We are skeptical. We are tired. And angry with auto-play video ads on the sites we like to visit.
Is Marketing Broken?
Yeah I said it. “Marketing is broken.” In this episode of BrightTALK’s Market Movers interview series with Christine Crandell, I made the plain and simple case:
“Most of marketing is ineffective pushing, and that’s the stuff that we as consumers are tuning out.”
I’m sorry if that’s hard to hear. Hey, I’m one of you! I want to be a part of great, meaningful work that contributes to the success of a business.
But as even Christine admitted, it’s really hard to deny the point that much of marketing is broken. Look around you. Can you remember the last banner ad you saw?
I think that too much of marketing is tactical. The boss asks you to do something. The marketer goes and does it.And usually that thing is something promotional and ineffective. Partly because we don’t care if it’s effective. We only care if it gets done.
I believe we have to remind the boss what the brand stands for. Every business is started in order to solve a customer problem. The company grows and becomes successful because it created something unique and helpful. But as the business grows, too often the focus becomes the business, not the customer.
Your brand is more than what you sell!
But to be truly effective, shouldn’t marketing start with a focus on meeting customer needs? Marketing should be telling stories, not selling products. That’s why I define content marketing as the simple process of answering customer questions.
The business that wins becomes known and trusted as the brand that solves customer pain points along their buyer journey.
I believe that too many of us lose sight of that commitment, and that is why I think that in many businesses, marketing is broken.
In the video I explained this further: “Unfortunately, a lot of the content that happens inside companies is completely ineffective and all about the business.”
There’s a huge a cultural element to this. I believe the executives inside the business need to be held accountable for creating a culture of customer-focused content. But it’s also up to us in marketing to push back.
I know it takes courage. I know it’s hard. But that’s the difference between the marketing that’s broken and the marketing that works.
In the video I talk about how brands need to go back to their roots and create content marketing experiences that customers want to read and share. I also show how that helps you reach, engage, convert and retain buyers you would have never seen before.
Check out the video below: