Marketing: ‘Moving the Needle’ is Not Your Job

The Role of Marketers as Scribes

As a marketer, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that you have the power to single-handedly propel a product or service to success, a.k.a “move the needle” if you’ve been talking with business executives. However, a seasoned marketer knows that this perspective can be misleading, and downright dangerous. The key to effective marketing lies in understanding that products and customers tell the story, while the most skilled marketers invest in understanding and documenting that story to engage with others.

Discovering & Crafting Narratives with Authenticity

Products and services possess individual qualities. They have their own stories and engage with customers in unique ways. Marketers must enhance their performance rather than rewrite the script, understanding the product’s essence and how it benefits its customers.

Effective marketing involves listening to what the product or service tells you. It’s about understanding strengths, aligning efforts with inherent qualities, and crafting a narrative that authentically highlights value, addressing customer needs and desires. There are no shortcuts here, and I don’t say this lightly: any product or service that doesn’t uniquely engage with customers should be either reworked or thrown out entirely.

Letting Products and Customers Tell the Story

Due to proximity and the emotional work of getting a product or service off the ground, businesses often become too close to their products, hindering their understanding of how customers perceive them.

Marketers must bridge the gap between their business’s perspective and customers’ realities. Active listening and meaningful interactions reveal valuable insights into how products genuinely impact clients’ lives.

Marketers should shift their perspective from imposing ideas onto products to understanding their true nature. Success lies in letting products and customers take the spotlight, while marketers skillfully direct the show behind the scenes.

While the idea of a generic customer survey probably doesn’t appeal much to you, consider the ways in which you can start conversations with existing customers as well as prospects. What are some patterns and trends that emerge when you hear from your target audience? And more importantly, how can you stretch to meet any unmet needs?

The Power of Customer Referrals

It can not be stressed enough that the most effective marketers for any business starting out are its very own clients. This doesn’t mean you have to get it right immediately, but don’t ignore it when you do get it right. Trust me, you’ll know. Client referrals are a potent source of new business, underscoring the importance of satisfied customers.

Should you be offering incentives for people to give your business a 5-star review? No, of course not. But there are gentle ways to remind your customers that their opinion matters to you as well as others. Mull on this for a bit. Perhaps privately soliciting opinions from customers will make them more likely to share their opinions publicly.

By encouraging satisfied clients to refer new business, marketers harness the power of word-of-mouth marketing, further amplifying the impact of understanding and delivering what clients genuinely need and desire.

What Next?

In summary, effective marketing is an interplay between product essence, customer experiences, and the marketer’s role. Recognizing and appreciating the authentic value a product brings allows for the creation of resonant marketing strategies.

I’ve been working in sales and marketing for over a decade. However, the lessons I have learned consulting over the last year far outweigh anything I was taught on the job working for larger corporations. The fact of the matter is that marketing is not a one-size-fits-all discipline, and every business has very unique needs.

Applying cookie-cutter corporate solutions to digital marketing works fine for corporations with deep pockets, but fails miserably at a smaller scale. More often, the needs of small businesses are met with simple course-corrections in their marketing approach. If you feel like you’re not getting the most out of your marketing efforts and would value the outside perspective of a professional marketing consultant, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d be more than happy to take a look at your business and offer you very personalized recommendations.

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