How to Quickly Tell if You’re Good or Bad at Marketing
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How to Quickly Tell if You’re Good or Bad at Marketing


Who’s the person you think about the most? Chances are it’s yourself. I don’t blame you, we’re all biologically predisposed to put our personal well being first; it’s linked to our survival instinct. Unfortunately, sometimes this natural animal trait interferes with our ability to develop successful relationships and be effective at marketing. To be really good at marketing you have to stop thinking about yourself and start putting your customer first.

You see, “marketing” is defined as a set of activities for the purpose of identifying the customer, satisfying the customer, and keeping the customer to meet the objectives of an organization. The fact “customer” is mentioned three times and “organization” only once is by design. My customer’s don’t really care about “me” or my “organization”, they care about themselves and it’s our job as marketers to make sure we’re thinking about their needs more than ours.

Many companies and marketers fall into the trap of only thinking about themselves. This is evident in the promotions people clog up social media channels with, newsletters that only talk about what’s new at the respective company, and blog posts that are nothing more than long sales letters disguised as “information”. Yes, I know that self-promotion is a part of marketing, but there’s many ways of doing it besides always coming across as “Me first and the gimme gimmes”.

As an exercise, the next time you’re preparing a marketing or social media communication consciously try to not talk about yourself. Focus on messages that might be informative or entertaining to your audience. For instance, instead of sending out a newsletter with your latest promotions or company news try providing a link to a useful article that will enrich your audience’s lives (tips, stats, expert advice, reviews, etc). And when making a social media update try share a link to an interesting article or make a witty observation on society. Perhaps your next social media communication could even be a reply to somebody else’s message.

The focus should be on what’s important to your audience and meeting their needs. Resist the urge to brag, self promote, or give updates on mundane aspects of your life/business. Practice this for a bit you’ll be over yourself in no time and ready for a new relationship with your customers. If you take care of your customers, they’ll take care of you.

By no means am I perfect marketer and I still have a lot of learning to do. What are your thoughts? Do you have feedback or a personal example you can share? Please comment below.

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Comments (7)

  1. Galen Sonntag, January 26, 2012
    An excellent marketing use of social media is to build your brand (personal or corporate brand) through establishing yourself as an expert. If you offer comments, help, tips, and information that is worthy of your audience's time, they begin to know, like, and trust you. In the future (not now) when they have a need for your product or service you will be a brand they consider, maybe even prefer. Reply
    • Dan Maynard, January 26, 2012
      Good article Harley and I agree with Galen. I am a big proponent of personal branding. For instance I believe most people/companies About Us page is all wrong. Your About Us page really should be sure about the company because people want to know who is the personality behind the faceless corporate site, but at the same time try to inject something that tells the reader WIIFM, translation, What's In It For Me. So whatever you do in your about us make sure it has something to offer the reader that resonates with them. For example rather than saying, ""We've been in business since 1999" change that to "We've been help customers streamlining their business processes since 1999". Cheers, Dan Maynard Reply
  2. Harley Rivet, January 26, 2012
    Galen and Dan, thank you both for relaying your thoughts. Long term effective marketing is definitely a slow drip process so it pays to have an approach the causes a wave as opposed to only a splash. I like the tip regarding how to make an "About Us" page more customer centric. Reply
  3. thomas hale, January 27, 2012
    Harley, great post. I am in a similar struggle to make the audience the focus for the film industry--which too often is about the filmmakers. Canada, due mostly to systemic factors, has a long way to go to having an "audience driven" film industry (which is the point after all). Reply
  4. Lisa, May 29, 2013
    Excellent advice. There's so much noise and competition for people's attention, it's important to motivate people to care by giving them something valuable they want or need. Too often, clients assume they know what their audience wants without ever asking them. Reply

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