I just joined a new band this week. Right now there is a fantastically fun dynamic going on between the five of us. You see, three of the band members I have met, but the other wasn’t able to make my audition, so we’ve been getting acquainted over group emails.
It occurred to me while I crafted another terribly witty email, how we had continuously kept a conversation going, and going strong for more than a week by having one, simple common interest.
This dialog among peers and among unknowns is not much different than how we have to engage a known and unknown audience when it comes to product and service marketing. The differences though, come into play on how we give the conversation the appearance of organic growth vs. manipulated, sales/marketing growth.
Long gone are the days of marketing messages that are so strong (like a bad cologne) and overwhelming they hit a potential buyer over the head to get a response. We are part of a world of people who are savvier than ever when it comes to spotting a hard sell and they’ve learned to avoid it quicker than a bar full of Elvis impersonators. It’s time to resonate with potential clients, draw them in with information and relevance and keep the conversation going past the time the sale is completed. Be real. Be true. Be reliable and be conversant.
Strategy demands we plan out our marketing messages well in advance. This is always necessary and the right way to do business. But, where we honestly mess up is when we don’t look at our marketing messages and let them grow in an organic fashion. We not only lead the conversation, we direct it, divert it from other’s ideas and outcomes and don’t allow growth in the most basic of areas – how we communicate with our customers.
One of the absolute necessities of marketing today is that it requires flexibility and demands an organization to be truly nimble. Much how a few emails in regards to song choices twisted and turned into sassy conversations about flaming red guitars and odd music choices showed each of us some fun and unique things about each other. Seeing how others respond to planted marketing messages can grow into organic conversation can show us how to guide our messages to continually spawn conversation.
A message that has legs is a winning message worth more than a Q2 ad campaign. It is something allowing your product or service to continually carry your customer through the entire experience from sale to repeat sale to word-of-mouth. It is a marketing strategy that fully immerses an audience.
Marketers who take on this type of organic messaging develop organic ideas and send it out into the marketplace. They moderate and guide it to be fleshed out into a useful customer relations conversation. This conversation with real people is then dissected and reassembled to make it stronger and more on-point as new things about brand perception. Veritable product/service acceptance are discovered through this two-way conversation. It’s more pure than a panel study. It is more reliable than a focus group and also more welcoming into the minds of potential customers than some cutesy jingle or catchy tagline. It hits home and is friendly, engaging and endearing.
The world of social media allows us this luxury if we simply take the time to use it correctly. Posting up a marketing message or press release to these outlets doesn’t get the job done. Obviously there is a place for that, but real engagement marketing starts by talking to – not at – your audience. It requires personality, persona, a face and even a voice. The style and structure of a real person vs. a marketing machine can build trust of brand, products and services and also create relationships lasting through the lifetime of a product/business cycle. This is the ultimate goal of business. A happy customer is a returning customer and returning customers tell others about what they love.
Much like how I just spent more than 600 words telling you something I learned based on a week-long email conversation made up of common interests, engaging banter and organic conversation, it seems logical if we let our strategies grow and branch out based on marketplace demand, customer acceptance and organic participation, we could change the consumer’s perception of marketing and get a dialog going we could all learn from and have fun with (and in our case, develop a rocking song set list).