I’m not sure the Mad Men marketing and advertising professionals of 50 years ago would truly recognize today’s marketing environment. Many of the fundamental principles are the same, but the way businesses communicate with the buying public has changed. Fifty years seems like a long time but, apparently, not everyone has cracked the code.
In the last century, advertising and marketing was a one-way channel from company to public. Today’s marketing is all about conversation, a two way dialogue between company and consumer. So dynamic is the technology and media, these conversations can take on amazing scope when even a one-to-one correspondence goes viral and becomes national news. Here is a little roundup of some of last year’s more notable social media blunders.
There are many lessons inherent in these social media case studies and it would be easy to spend a lot of time speaking to the power of social media to expose bad corporate decisions. It’s also easy to pick on episodes involving overly politically correct issues as they are always a big target.
But has anyone forgotten that United Breaks Guitars? I still find myself humming that tune every now and then.
The most important lesson to my mind, however, is the need to personalize your marketing. You don’t market to demographics, you market to individuals who have a set of values much like your own. Your clients have individual needs and desires. Their concerns and fears are not difficult to understand and articulate.
Canned answers and responses to situations simply won’t do.
People do business with companies that make them feel good. Deep within most people is the capacity to inherently understand when a company mirrors their own values. People look for empathy, for a travel planner than has the capacity to best understand their own situation, to honestly assist them in making a buying decision.
Great travel consultants think from a client-centric point of view. The emotion such a travel planner seeks most to elicit is trust. That’s why all of the agent’s collateral, demeanor, choices and presentations have to exude a client-centric perspective. Empathy combined with confidence, with a bit of personality thrown in, equals trust.
Your clients rationalize their buying decisions with logic, but the impulse to buy is all emotion. The same is true of their decision to continue doing business with you. The more authentically you respond to their needs, the more empathetically you treat their concerns and resolve their problems, the more often they will return to you. Your marketing whether on social media, in print or in front of an audience should reflect your core values. With a strong set of core values and a bit of thought and research, you will be less likely to run afoul of an unintended blunder.
Expose your every business decision to the light of trust and empathy. Those are the emotions your clients crave. Give them what they want and they will want to give you their business.