We can all agree that the digital age has drastically changed how businesses market their products and services. We are now experiencing a revolution in media as it moves from traditional to social, and consumer power increases as a result. So how should businesses adjust their marketing efforts?
Well, firstly, there hasn’t been a better time in history for small businesses! The playing field has been leveled. Small businesses are now able to reach customers in a way that was never possible before unless you were a company with large marketing budgets.
In the next couple of blog posts you’ll learn some principles of marketing that you can apply to your business in this digital age to give your brand a competitive edge.
Principle 1: Be consistent with your brand’s purpose
Why does your business exist? (And no, it’s not to make you money!) With so many options available at their fingertips, consumers have become very skeptical. They want to know why they should choose you, instead of one of the ten other businesses like you. Yes, you could argue that your products are of superior quality and market them from that angle, but what’s even more powerful is giving your customers something to believe in. Gaining a customer’s loyalty by appealing to their fundamental beliefs is way more effective than trying to manipulate them with exaggerated facts and figures. Also, this way, you’ll know that the customers that you do gain will be loyal ones.
Marketing your products today is all about sharing your ‘why’, which many persons mistake with their ‘what’. Your ‘why’ is your story; your business’ core belief. Your what is how you act on or fulfill this core belief (your product or service).
In his book Start With Why, Simon Sinek spoke about how leaders inspire persons (customers) to take action by sharing their stories. He referenced Apple a lot to explain this, so let’s use the same here to drive home the point:
Apple’s products are arguably inferior to that of its competitors Samsung and Microsoft. Apple recently hit US $1 trillion dollars in value, which is something that big market players Amazon and Microsoft have yet to do.
So how does Apple manage to lead the market with ‘inferior’ products?
They have always started with why.
Take a look at how Apple has consistently communicated with their customers over the years:
“With everything we do, we aim to challenge the status quo. We aim to think differently. Our products are user-friendly, beautifully designed, and easy to use. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?"
Whereas the non-Apples of the world communicate a little more like this:
"We make great computers. They're user friendly, beautifully designed, and easy to use. Want to buy one?"
Yeah, these are cool facts but you’d definitely support the first company over the second. It’s simple: As humans we want to feel like we’re apart of something meaningful. It’s why you’ll never see an Apple user cover the company’s logo on any of its devices. And it’s also why millions of people are willing to pay US $1000 for an iPhone that they know was made in China for a fraction of the cost. Apple has perfected the concept of marketing with ‘why’ and built a loyal following as a result.
Let’s look at another-less controversial- example using a MoDA Maker:
“Rae Marie is a family owned company born out of a need to live a more authentic life. We are committed to creating products that clean effectively while maintaining a balanced ecosystem and supporting your overall health. Our products are free from harmful dyes, toxins or perfumes.”
If this message was your first encounter with the Rae Marie brand, and natural and organic products are important to you then you would be inclined to support their business and you don’t even know exactly what they sell as yet!
So your challenge is to define your business’ why, if you haven’t as yet. Then practice incorporating it consistently into your marketing efforts. It’s also important to note that you shouldn’t forget your ‘what’ in your marketing efforts as well. Your customers need to know about your products and its features but starting with why is a great way to separate your products from those of your competitors, attract new customers and convert them to loyal ones :)