Marketing is a vast field of advertising, communication, sales and relationships. The variations in style and execution are endless. Marketing can not be simplified into any sort of one-size-fits-all programs or plans because every business is different and advertising and marketing techniques continually change. But, I’ll try to simplify things down for you. There really are only three main types of marketers with everyone falling somewhere in between on the overall spectrum. Knowing where you stand on this marketing spectrum can help you move forward and make a world of difference in your sales.
|Marketing styles – who’s winning and who’s losing?
If we think of the population of Marketers on a continuum, the majority are in the This-And-That Marketing category. The unspoken mantra of this type of marketer is “I’m not sure if this is working but I’ll keep trying a bit of ‘this and that’ and hope you buy from me and I can stay in business”. This style is all about not rocking the boat and marketing-by-numbers. Most Marketers do what is expected and easy, covering the bases that everyone else covers – run some ads, have a decent sign, maybe have a website, business cards, brochure, etc.
On the less ethical side of marketing, marketers become more self-centered, or Hit-And-Run. This category of marketers base their business model on the premise that “I’m never going to see these people again so I will do everything I can to extract whatever money I can, now”. The customer almost always ends up feeling ripped off as there are no pricing or ethical guidelines. But, the businesses owner knows that repeat business is highly unlikely and negative reviews or bad word-of-mouth probably are not a factor for future “extractions”. A Hit and Run marketing style may be the most profitable (though immoral) option.
On the extreme, the Hit-And-Run marketer is an outright thief or scammer. As the population increases towards common marketers, you will find high pressure sales people or businesses ignorant of creating a positive relationship and just trying to “make the sale”. Not all marketers on this side of the spectrum are necessarily unethical. They may just follow a short term and self-serving style of marketing their product or service.
Moving the other way from the mainstream marketing style is to have a more positive, relationship based approach, or Group Hug Marketing. This marketing style is all about building communities and relationships. The mantra for Group Hug Marketers is “invite people in, make them comfortable, and do everything possible to meet their needs”. It’s that easy – 1, 2, 3. Well, not exactly.
Looking at a graph of marketing relationships we can see that a transaction where both the marketer and consumer are winners is almost as infrequent as the lose-lose scenario of an imprisoned thief on the far end of the spectrum. But, on the path towards marketing and sales relationships where everybody wins are relationships when the marketer gives up or wastes resources in their quest to “invite people in, make them comfortable and do anything they can to meet their needs”. This is the main reason so many businesses and marketers are comfortable in the murky middle of This & That Marketing – fear of wasted efforts and money in their quest for more customers and better relationships.
What type of marketer are you? If you are reading this article chances are you are a This & That Marketer with a desire to move towards the more exclusive win/win Group Hug scenario. There are definitely ways to help build your customer relationships without breaking the bank. The foundation, of course, to building positive relationships is to listen, care and be genuinely interested in others needs. It doesn’t cost anything! However, without a strong interest and passion for what you do and sell, it won’t matter how much you market and advertise you won’t build win-win relationships.
Another essential factor in fearlessly moving your marketing efforts towards the Group Hug category is to experiment with your advertising, and not be afraid to fail. Stick with marketing and advertising methods for which the effectiveness can be monitored. If something doesn’t work (given a reasonable test period), stop doing it. If it’s working, do more of it and continue to test. Remember, the majority of people are stuck in the This & That approach and not tracking results.
The amount of on-line and off-line marketing options can be quite overwhelming. But, it simply makes no sense to be spending any money on something that is not working (or you’re not sure is working). So, with a new year upon us let’s commit to getting back to the core of successful businesses everywhere – building sincere relationships, cleaning out the closet of questionable advertising and marketing practices, and moving fearlessly forward testing quantifiable marketing and advertising.
By Jeff Nicholson – founder and marketing director of Freely Creative, Inc. and Websticker.com a company that specializes in promoting businesses, organizations, people and ideas with custom printed stickers, decals, labels and magnets. When you want your name to stick – think Websticker.com.