Marketers Are Focused On the Wrong Things
Jun 21, 2016
Marketers are focus on the wrong things.
There, I said it. And to those of you that are reacting with a “Hell no!”, prove me wrong.
On a regular basis, content is pushed on us that is focused on how to better use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Vine, Periscope, Snapchat, email subject line…
And I get it – to a point. We use these ‘tools’ to reach our audience and engage with them. To listen to them, understand them, develop more relevant, unique, valuable solutions for their unmet, under-served wants and needs.
Oh, no…we don’t.
Who is your customer? Your audience?
Most organizations can’t tell you. Or their leadership team members can’t keep the story straight. Or the leadership team is going on their gut rather than any data or research or investigation…or rational thought.
“Our audience,” one young CEO told me recently, “is everyone that uses the Internet.”
Ahh, no. It’s not. And with that level of “targeting”, knowing the ‘6 Killer Tips to Promote His Instagram Page’ wasn’t going to make a difference for his business.
A member of the senior leadership team at a 4-year, private, non-profit college told me that “…any adult that wants a quality education…” is their target.
Unfortunately the college didn’t offer online degree programs…which a substantial number of prospective students wanted.
The college didn’t offer a really good selection of courses at night or on the weekends so a great many prospective students didn’t enroll because they couldn’t take courses Monday through Friday between 8 am and 5 pm.
The college also didn’t have convenient locations with ample parking which caused a large number of prospective students to enroll elsewhere.
And no one in marketing or enrollment was all that sure if the college offered an interest free monthly payment plan – which their competitors did – so they never addressed the prospective student’s need to manage the expense as part of their monthly budget.
But the college did invest 5-figures annually in marketing technology and had a wonderful Instagram presence.
They also consistently fell short of their enrollment targets.
So What Should Marketers Be Focused On?
The audience. What do they need? What do they want?
They don’t need you to be the “Wizard of Facebook” or the “Master of Snapchat” unless you are using Facebook and Snapchat to give them something unique, valuable, relevant.
It’s about the quality of the communication. The relevance. The message and offer that answers “What’s in it for me” and motivates the audience to respond in an appropriate manner ASAP.
As marketers, we need to remember that all this technology is part of it all – but it’s not all of it. What is truly important is our ability to understand them so well that we can develop unique, valuable solutions. If we do that, our audience will talk about us…the need for promotion might still be there, but word-of-mouth and referrals will jump. Then they will be posting their own stories to Snapchat and Instagram and Facebook…lessening the load from your own shoulders.
Thoughts? Questions? Please share…
And remember – you can always Ask a Consultant. It’s free.
Patrick McGraw is VP of Higher Educaton Marketing Services and has more than 25 years experience in market research, competitive intelligence, business intelligence including database marketing and CRM, strategic planning, brand development and management as well as operations/campaign management. His work has consistently helped his clients and employers develop and implement more efficient ways to attract and retain profitable customers, enter new markets and launch new products. His areas of focus include the education, hospitality, travel and tourism, hi-tech, telecommunications, financial services, and retail industries on both the agency and customer sides.