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The Proliferation of Meaningless and Mindless Marketing, A Love Story, Part 3
Meaningful marketing is smart marketing. It is based on the overt benefit of your product or service and how that suits the need of prospective customers
Now that we are all savvy on what meaningless and marketing are and why they are bad, let's take a look at the solution: Meaningful Marketing.
Meaningful marketing is smart marketing. It is based on the real benefit of your product or service and how that suits the need of prospective customers. It is not based on deception, gimmicks, shock, or impulse. You cannot fool a prospect into making a meaningful decision.
Meaningful marketing is composed if a few elements:
- The benefit of your product
- Understanding your prospects
- Choosing the right message and medium
The benefit of your product
If you are selling a product or service it should be because there is a need for that product or service. Gone are the days when a producer could manufacturer a good without there first being a need. You offering needs to have some sort of feature that meets that need. When your feature meets a need it becomes a benefit to your prospects.
For example. Business and pleasure fliers had a need for affordable, no frills regional air service -- the need was filled by Southwest whose feature is cheap regional air travel. Another example -- small to medium sized businesses needed the expertise and accountability of a large company's marketing department -- the need was filled by Serfwerks (a shameless plug, I'll admit it) whose features are affordable, sophisticated, and accountable marketing services. When prospects see how those features fill needs the features become benefits.
Take a close look at your your company and its offerings. What are the features that fill needs? How can you help your prospects connect feature, need, and benefit?
Understanding your prospects, your customers, your competition, and yourself
The best way to understand your prospects and everything else mentioned above is to know enough to ask the right questions -- and you get to that point with data, not hunches. Research takes time and money, but so does executing the wrong marketing strategy.
Research can be formal or informal -- extensive or superficial. You can even buy data from other researchers or conduct it yourself. It all depends on how much you want to know. Data will show you new things about your prospects, your customers, your competition, and yourself.
For example, a recent client company had the goal of establishing a strong position within its industry. What position were we to choose? While collaborating with the client, we thought that "ease-of-use" would be a good position. This client sold a very technical product, it made sense, but we decided to do the research anyways. After surveying prospects and customers data showed that a significant number of prospects were more concerned about customer service than ease-of-use. Our client's new position was now to be a leader in customer service, a position that had not made it to the table during collaboration.
Choosing the right message
Now that you know heaps about your target market, find the right message.
The right message is simply the feature of your productthat fills a particular need. This need that should actually exist. Do not create an artificial need.
When Southwest launched their message was, "Hey, we're cheap" it was not convoluted, it didn't need to be. They believed in their product and that it would fill a need that prospects translate into feature into benefit. The "Hey, we're cheap" message guided their positioning, branding, operations, and so forth.
When our recent client decided that their message would be "Hey, our customer service is the best" it did similar things, just on a smaller scale.
Do not lie to your prospects or customers. Do not even bend the truth. Do not exaggerate your claims. Use common sense. Would you believe a salesman that tried to sell you "The greatest car ever?"
If your product or service is actually good, there is no need to lie. People lie about or exaggerate the benefit of their product when they have no confidence in it.
Keep the same message. Changing your message dilutes your position and confuses your prospects and customers. Walmart's message is "Hey, we sell lots of cheap stuff." What if they changed their message to, "Hey, we sell some cheap stuff and except in electronics?" Not the same message -- Walmart's position and message are damaged.
Once you pick a message for your company or a good or service, stick with it.
I hope you know more about meaningful marketing after reading all three parts of this article. If you would like to learn more about meaningful marketing, pick up the book Meaningful Marketing by Hall and Stamp.
Meaningful marketing is the only type of marketing for your business. If you do anything else -- you are admitting that your business and your products are not fit for existance.
Learn more about the author, Tim Newhard.
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