The Old Truths of Marketing

As the world adjusts to a post-pandemic normal, marketers are left wondering what to do and what not to do in the coming year to build stronger relationships and grow. Well as C.S. Lewis said, we don’t need to be taught new ideas so much as to be reminded of old truths. So let’s review some basic “old truths” of marketing that can be applied in the New Year.

  1. Marketing is about RELATIONSHIPS — Not just sales. This is SO important. It guides many other decisions. If you truly believe marketing is about relationships, you will care more about those than getting the quick sale at any cost. If you’re in the business of building relationships, having a “funnel” where the top part is just discarded like a muffin top on that famous Seinfeld episode, WON’T be acceptable to you.
  2. Marketing is about THEM — Starting your marketing with EMPATHY is just critical.  How you talk about your audiences is very telling. Are they “targets” or “conversions” to you or are they customers, members, friends or part of your community? Treasure your marketing relationships.  The “unsubscribe” command is the first link seen on most list e-mails so if they have decided to stick with you communication after communication, make sure your stuff is GREAT and truly designed to help them. This goes for your story (make it about them), the value of your content (make sure it’s high) and of course, the frequency of your comms (don’t overdo it, your audience is busy doing other things, too).  I just saw an e-mail from LinkedIn Marketing (these are the same people who profit by selling access to you to THEIR customers who will pitch you via direct message or InMail. This lovely and highly inaccurate piece says the following “Put design first. Craft your page with a design that appeals to audiences and leads them to making a purchase. Good design will do more to help conversions than even the most compelling copy.”  WRONG. Put MESSAGING FIRST. Then design. Tell a story with your words and your visuals that tells/shows how YOU solve THEIR problem.  —And a quick aside to LinkedIn Marketing — spend some time educating yourself on what marketing is BEFORE trying to educate others. Yikes.  
  3. Marketing is supposed to be FUN — In some companies’ utter desperation to sell things, I think they’ve forgotten how to have fun with marketing. It should be funny, entertaining and using sufficient energy to deepen the relationship at all times. Look at the pieces in your marketing mix and see where you might be able to have more fun WITH your audiences. That creates BETTER marketing. I know, marketing is SO worried about offending people that the safest route is blank, Melba-toast-like copy and visuals. As you know, “bore-dinary” marketing gets trashed, blocked and unsubscribed—so you might as well have some fun with it. 

In 2022, WHO can you trust? Someone asked me recently, “These days, is EVERYTHING just an ad?”  Is every product review done just because the reviewer got a free product from a manufacturer that they didn’t have to return? Is every post sponsored in some way? Is your search engine fed to you because it enriches some big tech company? Is anything real? Hmmmm….

The answer is more complicated than you can possibly imagine and affected by numerous factors, but headed into 2022, yes, there are still earned media coverage opportunities NOT based on advertising spends or free product distribution. There are posts, content and webinars that exist simply to help with no other sales objective. There is marketing that is non-invasive and designed to connect audiences with the products and services that solve their problems in true win-win fashion.

In 2022, watch for more of it as governments begin fining marketers for privacy violations and consumers begin using their power to unfollow, unsubscribe and block companies who don’t get it. When in doubt, just review some of the old truths and remember WHY marketing exists and you’ll be fine.