In marketing, there are short-term, quick-profit tricks: spam, deception, force. Dishonest marketers use these tools in their work. But the modern consumer needs something completely different. In order to build a long-term relationship with the client, the marketer needs to understand his worldview and his desires.
Effective marketing is focused on contributing to our culture, it should help people become who they want to be. Successful marketers don’t use consumers to solve the company’s problems, they use marketing to solve the customer’s problems. This approach in marketing is based on empathy and service.
Marketing professionals need to understand that the people they serve don’t want what they want, so you need to first study the worldview of your prospects, and then give them what they want, tell your story within the framework of the consumer’s desires.
Seth Godin in his book This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See describes marketing in five consecutive steps.
Marketing in 5 Steps
- Invent a worth thing with story and contribution to culture
- Design and build the thing so that it can benefit several people who should be interested in supporting your product
- Tell a story. The story must match the dreams and desires of this particular group of people. The author calls this group: the smallest viable market
- Spread the word
- Show up. You must organize a constant presence to bring about the changes you want to achieve. Consistent, continuous, and frequent publications, delivered to an engaged audience, receive feedback, attention, and trust
Seth Godin uses such a concept as The Smallest Viable Market. This means that you can not produce and promote your product for everyone because people are individual, each of them has its own worldview. Someone prefers bitter, someone sweet, someone likes red, someone white. For each individual person, there is a different concept of “the best”.
For one, brand “X” is better than brand “Y”, and for his colleague, on the contrary. If you constantly chase the crowd, you will not be able to satisfy it, such behavior can only lead to compromises and generalizations. The author advises you to start your marketing activity with the definition of the smallest viable market. You should choose the minimum number of people to focus your efforts on first. Work with the people who want what you offer. Choose the people who are most open to hearing your message.
When searching for the smallest viable market, you should keep in mind that there are two types of audience:
- The desired audience is an audience that has a worldview that integrates with your work, that is, it is an audience that accepts you
- The accidental audience is an audience that criticizes you and shares this thought with others
You need to understand that people may not choose your product, this does not mean that they are wrong, it is only their choice. So turn your attention to the people who want it. The goal of the smallest viable audience is to find people who understand you, accept your changes, and hear your promises.
The author gives a template, a three-sentence marketing promise you can run with:
- My product is for people who believe _________________.
- I will focus on people who want _________________.
- I promise that engaging with what I make will help you get _________________.
Now that you have chosen your audience, you need to understand how you will serve them by telling the right story.
Bernadette Jiwa in Story Driven: You don’t need to compete when you know who you are shares ten things that good stories do; if the story you’re telling yourself (and others) doesn’t do these things for you, you might need to dig deeper and find a better story, one that’s more true and more effective.
1. Connect us to our purpose and vision for our career or business
2. Allow us to celebrate our strengths by remembering how we got from there to here
3. Deepen our understanding of our unique value and what differentiates us in the marketplace
4. Reinforce our core values
5. Help us to act in alignment and make value-based decisions
6. Encourage us to respond to customers instead of reacting to the marketplace
7. Attract customers who want to support businesses that reflect or represent their values
8. Build brand loyalty and give customers a story to tell
9. Attract the kind of like-minded employees we want
10. Help us to stay motivated and continue to do the work we’re proud of
The author first advises referring to the assertions. Assertions about what our audience wants and needs. And then understand how these assertions will fit into your story and your promises. Do not focus on your activities, instead start with dreams and desires, with emotional states, and with the changes that your clients are striving for. People buy a feeling, not a product. You need to define this feeling before creating a product. Marketers make changes. They help people become who they wanted to be.
Marketers, according to Seth Godin, can stick to one of two patterns in their work: pattern match and pattern interrupt.
The pattern match implies that you are not trying to change a situation that already exists in the market. You fit your item into this market. This is an easy enough choice. A pattern interrupt implies some kind of push, the creation of tension. This is a rather risky step, but if successfully implemented, this model can bring excellent results.
Effective marketers have the courage to create tension. Some actively seek out this tension because it works. It pushes the consumers you serve to step up. If you want the change you want to happen, you must be prepared to create tension in the name of that change.
For successful marketing activities, you also need to understand how important the role of status is in people’s lives. Status is our position in the hierarchy. This is also our perception of this position. And the desire to change our status or protect it drives almost everything we do. When a marketer comes up with a new idea, an opportunity, a suggestion to change the situation, it is always a challenge to our status. We have a choice to accept or not accept this challenge.
In order to better understand the concept of status, Seth Godin gives six things about status:
1. Status is always relative
Unlike eyesight or strength or your bank balance, it doesn’t matter where you are on the absolute scale. Instead, it’s about the perception of status relative to others in the group. 6 is bigger than 4 but lower than 11. There is no highest number.
2. Status is in the eyes of the beholder
If you are seen as low status by outsiders but as high status in your own narrative, then both things are true, at different times, to different people.
3. Status attended to is the status that matters
Status is most relevant when we try to keep it or change it. For many people, status is utmost in our minds in every interaction. But it only matters when the person we’re engaging with cares about status.
4. Status has inertia
We’re more likely to work to maintain our status (high or low) than we are to try to change it.
5. Status is learned
Our beliefs about status start early. And yet the cohort we are with can influence our perception of our status in very little time.
6. Shame is the status killer
The reason that shame is used as a lever is simple: it works. If we accept the shame someone sends our way, it undermines our entire narrative about relative status.
The author measures the status in two different ways: affiliation and dominion.
The questions that someone who cares about affiliation asks himself and those around him: Who knows you? Who trusts you? Have you made things better? What is your circle like? Where do you stand within the tribe? Can’t we all get along?
The questions and statements that someone who cares about dominion offers to himself and those around him: This is mine, not yours. Who has more power? I did this myself. My family needs more of what we already have. My side dominating your side means I don’t have to be in charge, as long as my leader is winning.
You need to understand who your dominion or affiliation audience is, because how you see the world is not nearly as important as the worldview of those you seek to serve.
According to Seth Godin, the best business plan consists of 5 sections: Truth, Assertions, Alternatives, People, Money.
Truth describes the situation as it is
This section focuses on the market you are entering, existing needs, competitors in your field, technology standards, and how others have succeeded and failed in the past. The more specific, the better. The point of this section is to make sure that you have a clear idea of how you see the world. This section simply states how things are. The truth can take as long as you need.
In this section, you need to describe how you are going to change the situation. What kind of tension you want to create, what you want to offer, what kind of story you will tell. The main reason for your activity is to make changes, to make things better, and you need to understand what you are going to do and what impact it will have. This section may not be accurate, as not all of the assertions you make will be true in the future.
This section tells you what you will do if something goes wrong as you planned in the Assertions section. Can you adapt to the ever-changing circumstances? How agile is your product or team?
In this section, you determine who is part of your team and who is going to join it. You need to learn not just general information about a person, but to understand what he is.
The last section is dedicated to money. How much you need, how you will spend it, what the cash flow looks like, profit and loss, balance sheets, margin.
The best business plan describes the tension you seek to create, the status roles you interact with, and the story you bring that will lead to change.
Semiotics is of great importance for the marketer since people communicate using symbols. In marketing activities, one of the most important symbols is the logo and brand. It is worth remembering that not all people see symbols the same way. The marketer must be able to use the right symbol for the right audience, and also have the courage to invent new symbols.
Your goal is the change you seek to make in the world, the change you seek to make in those you serve. Your strategy is the long-term way to achieve this goal. The strategy may be to earn trust and attention. How you use stories, status, and connections to create tension and move forward is a strategy. The strategy, if successful, brings you closer to the goal. You may have to change your strategy if it fails. Tactics are the steps you will take on behalf of your strategy. If a tactic fails, you will be able to replace it with another one and support the strategy you have in mind.
Seth Godin in his book draws attention to two types of marketing: Direct marketing и Brand marketing.
Direct marketing is focused on action. This is an advertisement for a product. Direct marketing can be measured. You have launched an ad and expect a consumer reaction to this action, it can be a sale or getting permission.
Brand marketing aims to change the culture. This is a brand advertisement. Brand marketing cannot be measured. Everything you do, from how you answer the phone, how you position your company, your mission statement, your packaging design, after-sales service, and more, is all a form of Brand marketing.
In his book Permission Marketing, Seth Godin suggests a simple way to communicate with people that will bring you results: send your messages to people who actually want it. To do this, you need to get permission from them. But only the real permission. This means that if you stop sending them messages, if you disappear for a while, then people will start to worry, they will think about you.
A subscription is a type of permission. Once you get permission, you will be able to teach. You have an enrollment. You can take your time and tell the story. Don’t just talk to them; give them the information they want.
It is almost impossible to spread your word directly. The alternative is to intentionally create a product or service that people think is worth talking about.
Seth Godin calls this model the Purple Cow. You must remember that it is the consumer, not you, who will judge whether this thing is worthwhile or not. You can do your best, but the final decision is up to your user, not you.
Marketing is a powerful tool of influence. And you need to understand what to do with this impact. You must conduct your business honestly, only then will you be able to get a long-term relationship with your consumer, which will be beneficial for both of you. Eventually, you and your client will be able to get what you want.
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