How companies miss the marketing basics

If I asked you to name a company that didn’t want more customers, more sales and more revenue, I’m betting it would be a tough challenge. And if I asked you to a name a company that wanted to make it harder to push prospects all the way through the consideration funnel, I suspect that would be a tough one, too.

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Yet many companies do not follow the marketing basics that transform a prospective lead into paying client, relying instead on the old adage, “Everyone knows marketing.” As both an entrepreneur and someone whose business is to help clients gain market visibility, time and time again I see companies that fail to follow a few basic principles in their approach to marketing.

Market-sizing, analysis and segmentation are crucial to almost any company today, and understanding different target customers is key. However, it is all too easy to lose sight of the broader picture and become mired in the details. In an attempt to understand their target market, companies can sometimes forget they are talking to actual people, making actual decisions and looking to solve actual problems.

All customers are consumers, whether you are selling B2B products or B2C products. And those consumers – now bombarded with endless content – are looking for more personal connections in all areas of their lives, including their work. That is why the art of smart storytelling matters so much in all areas of communication, and especially marketing. Consumers respond to an emotional, authentic connection, and they are drawn to information that is conveyed in a relatable way regardless of the marketing platform.

Avoid assumptions

Marketing in the technology sector is often riddled with jargon in an effort to convey the depth and sophistication of a product or service. The more technical the better – right? Wrong.

In today’s purchasing cycle, the ultimate decision-makers are often not subject matter experts on the solution at hand. Even if they are, there are often others inside the company experiencing related pain points that your product or service can help solve. Don’t assume your audience is looking for, or understands, a wealth of technical detail.

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Understanding, listening and really hearing a potential customer’s problems – and explaining in clear language why your product or service can help – is the place to start, not with the acronyms, wild claims and impenetrable jargon we so often see in marketing content today (and that’s especially true if you’re in technology).

Know your space

Potential customers today are exposed to more information on a daily basis than they can possibly evaluate and consume. Not only are they more knowledgeable than ever, they are more overwhelmed than ever.

Therein lies an opportunity. Help your potential customers navigate their way through the information overload. Know your competitors, the key influencers for marketing and for social and traditional media in your space, and know the thought-leaders setting the agenda. Be smart and knowledgeable, helping would-be customers cut through the hype and get to the heart of their challenges.

At the end of the day the key to good marketing is the art of storytelling: Be informed, be authentic and make no assumptions. And while marketing tools will always evolve, these basics will stand the test of time.