It looks great but can you sell with it?

A great looking brochure, app, or presentation can be impactful. But can your sales reps sell with it? That is the question. Will they be successful using your messaging and your tool?

Marketing without a well-informed strategy is scattershot. It’s like you grabbing a hand full of darts and throwing them at a board and hoping something sticks. Some might hit the corkboard. However, when you do it again, you get a different set of random hits. We define this approach as Scattershot Marketing™.

In the development of marketing plans and materials, sales reps should be included. It’s because they can offer insight that marketing may not have. In fact, marketing people without sales experience face pitfalls. Simply put, they don’t understand how sales will use it.

 

Sales Versus Marketing

Being asked to do more with less is commonplace. However, it’s essential to cut the right things. Many companies think it’s too costly to bring sales into marketing discussions when they should be out selling. Spending time in the early stages of strategic development allowing sales and marketing to share knowledge is essential for success. In the end, it will save money as well as time.

Marketing may have no firsthand knowledge of selling. They have never been on a sales call and have no idea how a salesperson uses aids during a customer presentation. And the counterpoint is the sales rep may have difficulty explaining how the piece isn’t what they need. It may take a brainstorming session to explore all the needs.

A knowledge gap can produce a divide between sales and marketing. And it’s not unusual for that gap to create tension. In this situation, marketing creates a brochure that lacks the key points sales want to highlight. For that reason, sales won’t use it, and marketing can only wonder why.

 

Repeating the Cycle

Consider the following scenario. It’s one I’ve seen play out more than once. Marketing is ready to deliver a new product. All their boxes are checked. It’s great-looking, well written and on time. At this point, a key stakeholder sees it for the first time. They have concerns after reviewing it. But marketing tells them it’s too late to make any changes.

Frustrated, the sales rep goes to a higher up. What’s more, the higher-up agrees with the salesperson’s perspective. It’s not the tool sales needs or wants. In brief, due to deadlines and budget, it is not only a problem; it’s a crisis. Soon, the finger-pointing begins, and blame is assigned. However, the cause of the issue is not a person or a department. It’s the process.

 

Solving The Problem

Overcoming communication challenges is what marketing does best. First, they start by identifying the factors that make up the issue. After that, they gather information to learn about those factors in-depth. And to support this discovery process, sales reps should be part of it. What’s more, they can educate marketing on what it means to walk in their shoes and what it’s like on the front line working to win customers.

Also, marketing needs to communicate what they can develop to that address the needs of sales. Ultimately, each side’s goal is to do what it does best—all while supporting each other.

For marketing work to stand out, the tools they develop need to be more than good looking; they need to be the tools that can build your business. In truth, great marketing doesn’t happen accidentally. It’s informed, strategic, and relevant.

The result gives both sales and marketing what they need.

Great Sales Tools Don’t Just Happen.

Call or email us to discover how C3S’s pragmatic approach to branding can help you reach your business goals.

For Free Consultation

Phone 773-588-0391

Certifications

Women Business Enterprise (WBE), State of IL and Nationally

Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB)  Federal (pending)

Keep saying it until it’s all they can remember

Marketing doesn’t always work out as we planned. It’s even harder when you’re not a big player and don’t have a lot of dollars to spend. In fact, if you lack the resources to reach your entire audience, you need to be smart in your approach. In truth, there are a lot of strategies to allocate your money for the best return.

Key Take-Away

Begin by defining your key message. Remember, it must be memorable and straightforward. Doing your groundwork is always essential, even more so when you have limited resources. What is that one distinctive quality that defines who and what you are?

If your message is about expertise, then every message marketing delivers should build your expertise story and make a case for it.  Make the message strong. Support it whenever you can. It needs to be the one thing your audience remembers about you.

 

Stay The Course

One of the pitfalls companies with limited resources fall into is trying lots of different things to see what sticks.

The problem is this scattershot approach confuses the market. A potential customer only sees some of your marketing efforts – a trade show booth, an ad, or your website. If each one of these is different or tells a different story, your audience may not connect them with your company.

Another pitfall is always starting over when you think something isn’t working. Success is rarely a straight line, and it’s essential to adjust your course based on what you learn. Tweaking your message and how you reach your audience will have a more significant opportunity for success than a shotgun approach.

Take the time to do an after-action review and learn what did and didn’t work. Use that data to build on what works. Unless there was a significant misstep that needed damage control, don’t just scrap everything and start over. That is as big of a mistake as continuing to do the same thing over and over and hoping you’ll get better results than last time.

Marketing is a lot like the story of the tortoise and the hare. It’s not a tale of being getting it done fast and hoping it’s enough. Instead, it’s about being consistent in your message, learning from your mistakes, and building your brand.

 

It’s About Consistency

Remember that one key message I referred to earlier? That is the core of marketing. That is what is consistent. That message should always be the same. You can still change your trade show booth and launch a new campaign. However, the underlining value proposition represented in your messaging should be consistent.

 

Change For The Sake Of Change

Another caution is this; sometimes, no matter how good your message is, you get bored with it. You feel as though you’ve lived with it too long, and you want a change. It is essential to learn to be disciplined and keep yourself from changing it. Because over time, it becomes an asset with equity. You will be throwing your money away. Besides, you will throw away awareness and all that you’ve built, only for the sake of change. In the end, you will be starting all over again, losing the momentum you created.

There are times and reasons to change your message. You’re growing bored with it is not one of them. Put a new coat of paint on it; create a new campaign around it. Only change it if it’s not the right message. Not because you want to see something new right now.

The one strategy to help you stand out is to be consistent. Especially if you don’t have a big budget, say it, support it and keep saying it until it’s all anyone can remember.

 

Consistency is a Powerful Tactic.

Call or email us to discover how C3S’s pragmatic approach to branding can help you reach your business goals.

For Free Consultation

Phone 773-588-0391

Certifications

Women Business Enterprise (WBE), State of IL and Nationally

Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB)  Federal (pending)

Is it Memorable?

There is increasing research showing a connection between strong emotions and the creation of vivid memories. Specifically, those memories born in the adrenaline filled moments of our lives.

When you reflect on life, you tend to remember the significant events; your first love, graduation, or a life changing moment. To be sure, these events loom large in our memories compared to the day-to-day routines that blend.

You generally remember the first time you did something interesting or exciting. For example, you are going to remember the first baseball game you went to with your father. If you regularly go, you don’t remember the 9th or 24th time. That is unless something unexpected made it memorable.

 

The Power of a Great Story

You may be thinking, “what do memorable life moments have to do with marketing?” It has everything to do with it because today’s marketing is trends to focus on a narrative and telling stories.

Great storytelling is what makes marketing exciting. It is stories that allow audiences to connect with a concept emotionally, and that is what makes it memorable.

Evidence shows that stories increase retention and engagement. Undeniably we are natural storytellers. We connect with stories on many deep levels. Indeed, history is the story of our past told generation after generation filled with heroes and villains. In fact, stories help us define who we are and what is important.

 

Evolution of Marketing

Marketing has changed. It’s focused on the personal relationship between people and companies. It’s important to remember that our audience is more than a demographic. They are real people. What’s more, most people can’t connect with facts, data, and general information without context. It takes the power of a story to bring it to life.

EQ (emotional quotient) becomes as important as IQ (intelligence quotient) in making decisions because emotion has always been part of the buying decision.

 

Breaking Through with a Good Story

There is a growing wall of information to deal with every day. At a high-level, most companies’ marketing is the same as their competitors’. And it makes total sense for that to be the case. For one thing, the audience is the same. In fact, for the most part, the products and the value proposition are nearly the same. Additionally, we have grown skeptical about the world being presented to us online and in other media. Entertainment and marketing no longer have borders.

As a result, as a consumer, I rarely have a vested interest in content directed to me. As a marketing professional, I need to create a vested interest for my consumer audience.

Not only does a story need to be good, but it must also be meaningful to your audience.

For some, this will be a difficult change from the model of trying to hammer a message home. You may have to redefine your benchmarks and your path to conversion and sales.

The Path Forward

Yes, it’s easier said than done. There will always be pressure to get things done and meet deadlines! However, if your goal is to create something meaningful for your audience, you have a greater chance of doing it. A well-made story will not only give your audience useful information, but it will also help them connect to you or your product. Besides, it offers the best chance of breaking through the wall of content.

The most important take away in my opinion, is to be aware that your marketing efforts create an experience for your audiences. Still, it may not have meaning for them. Your marketing is vital to you. But if it’s not interesting or exciting for your audience, then you need to rethink what you’re doing. Work to see things from your audience’s perspective. Ask yourself, are you excited about your marketing?

The new goal to aspire to has become to have your tweet re-tweeted, your post reposted, your story retold by others. But before that happens, you need to understand that people will only do that when they care about your story. And for that to happen, you must make it memorable.

Get the Right Message to the Right Audience.

Call or email us to discover how C3S’s pragmatic approach to branding can help you reach your business goals.

For Free Consultation

Phone 773-588-0391

Certifications

Women Business Enterprise (WBE), State of IL and Nationally

Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB)  Federal (pending)

If everyone can say; it you shouldn’t

“We love what we do” is not unique and will not set you apart from your competitors, nor does it represent value for your customers. It’s not a great place to start your marketing. To be sure, it is an essential part of your “About Us” story.

I ask clients, “What is unique about your company/product/service”?, and “What do you do that customers can’t get anywhere else?” I get answers like, “We love what we do”, and “We make the best product.” or “We’ve been doing this for X number of years, and we know the industry inside and out.”.

Those are great things to understand about yourself. However, the problem is, your competitors say the same thing.

Keeping It Real

I’ve worked in Healthcare for many years. And in Healthcare, product claims are intensely reviewed due to robust regulations. Accordingly, if you can’t prove it to the FDA or if it’s not backed up by evidence, you can’t say it. Indeed, the philosophy of building on real information rather than assertion is a smart way to approach marketing.

“We make the best product.” Is great to think, but can you objectively prove it? Has it been tested or rated head-to-head with a competitor?  If not, then your competitors will tear into statements like that, leveraging them to their advantage. They will use it to position your claims and business as untrustworthy. And by contrast, they position themselves as honest and their products and services as better because of it.  In the end, they put your brand’s integrity into question.

“We’ve been doing this X number of years, and we know the industry inside and out.”, your competitors can make a similar claim. They need only change the X. Significantly, what is missing is the result of all that industry knowledge. In truth, it’s the application of your experience that impacts your customers. Specifically, what did you do to innovate your processes, and how does it benefit them? Further, what you must highlight is how you have adapted and become more responsive.

Three Marketing Questions

There are three fundamental marketing questions. What’s more, any of them might uncover that sought-after, unique attribute.

They are

1) “Who are you?”

2) “What do you do (better than anyone else?)”

3) “Why does it matter to your customer?”

Answering all three questions can be difficult. In particular, “Why it matters” is something most companies find challenging to answer, but it can be the most important to know.

The goals of these questions and the conversation they spark are meant to reveal a company’s unique selling proposition. It can’t be stressed enough how essential it is to your marketing. It’s vital to find that one message no one else can claim and then own it.

In addition to being unique, your messaging must be defensible. Being authentic is one element that makes it defensible. Without a doubt, it must be true even if you romanticize it. Because if not, you open the door to your competitors using your words against you and, as a result, taking your customers.

It’s important to only talk about those things that matter to your customers. Specifically, if something has no impact on them, even if true, it has no marketing value. For example, you sell a premium electronic widget; however, your customer doesn’t want to hear about your warehouse space. After all, it doesn’t impact them or their experience with the product.

 

A Stake In The Ground

It takes work to find the right messaging. What’s more, it takes time to build awareness in your marketplace and with your customers. Don’t waste your efforts on things that don’t separate you from the pack.

Loving what you do and being proud of your product is excellent. That company pride belongs in your larger narrative. There is a place for it on your website and in your marketing material. But it’s not compelling enough to be your primary marketing message.

Similarly, to validate your capabilities, you will say things that your competitors say. And that only highlights that when everyone can say it, its value is secondary, after a more powerful, unique message.

Ultimately, your customer’s attention span is short. Remembered they’ll only start paying attention when something that has value to them can rise above the chatter.

If your competitors are saying it, you shouldn’t.

Ready to sharpen your message?

Call or email us to discover how C3S’s pragmatic approach to branding can help you reach your business goals.

For Free Consultation

Phone 773-588-0391

Certifications

Women Business Enterprise (WBE), State of IL and Nationally

Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB)  Federal (pending)

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