"Do marketing" unto others as you would have marketing done to you.
This Golden Rule has never been more accurate with regard to the way companies should be connecting with prospects and customers today. So why aren't businesses doing it?
Innovations in marketing technology are outpacing those of us who are using it. Business owners and employees are struggling to adapt. Many are wrongly using technology to scale up the same old messaging by playing the "numbers game" instead of the "quality game."
The future of marketing has people panicking. Machine learning, automated workflows, programmatic ads, artificial intelligence, bots, bot-to-bot, what do we do? Start with a deep breath.
Then, just be human. Market to others in ways that you appreciated being marketed to by others. It's that simple. Marketing is easy when you do it like a human.
Be authentic, transparent, honest, and most of all, provide helpful content that is valuable to other humans -- especially the ones you wish to attract. Focus on the quality of your message then take advantage of the technology available to you to amplify your message.
A simple invention from 1968, adopted widely by consumers in the 1980s, would be the beginning of a major shift in the way that people would allow marketers to communicate with them.
Caller ID gave consumers the ability to ignore annoying salespeople thereby disallowing them to push their potentially unwanted message. This simple box was a game-changer!
By the end of the 1990s, master marketer and author, Seth Godin, coined the term "permission marketing." His concept was based on the notion that consumers ultimately get to choose whether or not they had to be subjected to marketing. Unless advance consent was given, a marketers message was not welcome. This is even more true today.
In the early 2000's, content marketing, in the form of blogging, became a useful tactic to try and gain the permission of consumers through articles. Many times, however, the motivation behind early blogging was to trick search engines into driving traffic back to the company website instead of providing helpful content for the reader.
Thankfully, search engines, notably Google, quickly implemented changes to force marketers to blog appropriately and play by the rules.
Thin content (lacking in substance), cloaking (bait and switch), keyword stuffing (overuse of keywords), hidden text and a number of other old school tactics are frowned upon today. Not just because Google says so, but because consumers don't appreciate it.
With these content guardrails in place, businesses are finding it harder and harder to connect with prospects the old fashioned way. The art of positioning of one's product or service onto others, by any means necessary, is losing its effectiveness.
As the Internet of Things is connecting together nearly everything we do, the amount of information coming at us is causing people to limit what they will allow to enter into their world. When it becomes overwhelming, people turn off the noise altogether.
The price of "human" attention is going up!
Small and medium businesses, in particular, need to start prioritizing high-quality content that is human in nature, solves people's problems, makes people laugh, and attracts people to their brand.
Content is the best way to build trust and put a human face on your organization. Make your website do the dirty work of qualifying prospects and leads and then train your salespeople to engage in ways that are not annoying.
I recently received two identical cold calls from a guy that went like this:
Hi Mr. White, I got your name from (blah blah blah) who said you would be very interested in hearing about this most amazing opportunity that I have to offer. If you could please call me back soon, I'm excited to tell you more about it.
Wow. Who leaves that kind of message anymore? If this opportunity was that exciting, he should have been able to get me excited too. Ironically, as bad as that call was, had he said, "You can visit my website at amazingopportunityforjeff.com," I would have instantly checked it out and decided for myself whether this opportunity was worthy of speaking with a sales rep.
Salespeople are no longer the best first line of offense, your quality human content is.
With so much noise being thrown at them, consumers have to rely on their instincts and go with a company they can trust. With buyers doing over 80% of the research on a product or service before engaging with a sales rep, it's imperative that a company's website provide the most authentic, problem-solving, content possible.
Make your website a resource for the kind of customers you wish to attract. Then use marketing technology to learn everything you can about your ideal customers and continuously improve upon the content that you provide to them.
If you consistently provide quality content that is written for humans, by humans, you are guaranteed to see a positive impact on your bottom line!