Day in and day out I meet with brands that are in somewhat of a battle. They’re feeling the pinch of increased competition and the methods they used in the past to attract new customers are not performing as well as they used to. I’ve seen this across multiple industries. I’ve seen Real Estate Brokerages, online retailers, business coaches, financial advisors and even service companies like solar installers and contractors all come to me with a version of a problem that relates to this same issue.
No matter what industry you are in, if your brand is experiencing a pinch when it comes to the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, quality of leads and number of sales you are getting, there is one universal truth. The Internet, digital marketing and social media have changed the way brands need to be marketing themselves.
The Way It Used To Be
Before we talk about where we are, let’s examine where we were. Back when television, radio, and newspapers ruled the marketing landscape, brands had a lot of control. They basically could control the narrative and force-feed consumers whatever message they wanted to give them. There were only so many marketing channels out there that consumers could use to consume media, so brands had the great advantage of being able to dictate the consumer’s buying journey.
Marketing was easier. It was so easy, in fact, that many brands got lazy. Marketers chose to simply take sales materials, camouflage it as marketing and fire it out there. Simply being “good enough” was okay, because there was the widely held thought of, “Hey, where else are they going to get information from?”
The Internet, Digital Marketing & Social Media Have Deomcratized Marketing
When the Internet widely launched back in the late 1990s, everything changed. Information was more available to interested consumers than ever before. Even more, as social media became the single biggest thing on the Internet, marketing became much fairer. Even a little brand could compete on an even level with a major brand.
This is both fantastic news and terrible news for brands that want to compete and grow in today’s business landscape. On the one side, it’s fantastic because there has never been a better time to build a brand than today. Think about it. The phone in your pocket has more power and capabilities to help give your brand an online presence and get you known to the masses than anything you would have had at your fingertips if you were starting your business in the ‘80s or early ’90s. The number of tools you have and the ways you can compete with “the big guys” has never been greater.
The bad news in this is because the marketing landscape is flat now and anyone can build a brand and compete with the big guys, there has never been more competition and more noise online. While this may make some throw their hands up and give up, you cannot. You cannot give up, if for the only reason that most of your competition is going about things all wrong.
You have to remember that the Internet is a completely different marketing vehicle than traditional forms of media like television, radio, and newspapers. Even more, within the Internet, each social media and marketing platform has a different contextual framework they have built. None of the old media marketing tactics fit into these frameworks. So the spoils, in this case, go to the brands that are contextually aware and willing to take the steps to compete in today’s marketplace using up to date marketing strategies and tactics.
Successful Brands Of Today Are Not In The Business Of Selling Their Products Or Services. They Are In The Business Of Brokering Attention
Simply put, consumers have more choices than ever before. Seriously. Test me. Do a Google search on LITERALLY anything, take a look at the number of results and you’ll see exactly what I mean. So if we can all agree that this is true and that the Internet, digital marketing and social media have changed how brands need to market themselves, what is it that successful brands should be focusing on? The key to successfully building a well-regarded brand that is going to grow and survive the long term is to keep from focusing on whatever product or service you sell and instead focus on getting attention online.
When it comes to getting attention online, one of the easiest, most authentic ways to do so is establishing emotional connections with your ideal potential customers. CustomerThermometer.com did a survey of 1,000 people and in their findings, they determined that 65% of people surveyed told them they felt an emotional connection with a brand or business. This is described as a “fully connected customer”.
Fully connected customers are over 50% more valuable on average than a highly satisfied customer. These customers are a company’s dream. These customers are:
- Individuals who purchase more of your goods and services
- Less price-sensitive
- Focused on your external messaging
- Likely to give you positive reviews online and more importantly refer you to their family and friends
Imagine being able to develop these types of connections with more of your customers?
Feelings are important. The article has a great infographic that illustrates the importance of brand emotions and the reasons that people gave for their emotional brand connections.
Looking at the top 5 reasons, you’ll quickly see there is a common theme here. People don’t want to be sold something. They are paying attention to the brands that make them feel like they are part of something. They want to work with brands that they feel understand and care about their needs. They want to work with brands that make them feel special.
Build Connections, Garner Attention, Grow Your Brand
The truth is there are many ways to build meaningful connections with your ideal potential customers, get more attention online and build your brand. The most important thing to remember though is that no matter what you do, you cannot approach your campaigns in this exciting, amazing time in a way you would have with traditional media channels.
If you take care to speak to your ideal customer’s goals and challenges and make sure your marketing messages are of service and offer them benefit, you will garner attention and brand loyalty that will help you grow your brand more easily than you ever imagined possible.