By Patrick McFadden
Over the past few years I’ve had the good fortune to speak and consult with start-ups and established organisations. Through my experience I have come up with the seven new rules of marketing that I think every start-up and small to midsize for profit or not for profit organisation should know. Some are new, some are old but explained in a new way, and some debunk popular myths.
#1. Branding is a Trust Mark
Against popular belief, branding is not about names, logos, or advertising. It’s about an experience. An experience that leaves a trust mark on a prospect or client. Many say the Internet (with it’s unlimited shelf-space for products and services) killed branding, that social media leveled the playing field. That’s a myth. More information and increased competition makes the customer experience even more important.
#2. Differentiate or Die
I always say that, “Pricing only matters when customers and prospects can’t tell the difference between your products and services and a competitor’s.” What if you don’t have any differences? Find some, create some, or develop some. You can choose to differentiate through products, services, processes, packaging, service delivery, methodology, approach, tools etc.
#3. Right Direction Is More Important
Strategy is everything. Make sure you have a strategy for the areas of your business where you want to see excellence. Wikipedia defines “strategy” as a long term plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal. How you strategically position your business and products is everything. And yes, you have to execute.
#4. Change Feelings
The ultimate goal of customer service is to change feelings, not the facts. Don’t build your business around stall, deny, begrudge and finally, to the few who persist on asking for refunds. The new marketing rules measures customer service on the basis of after the interaction, would the customer recommend you to a friend.
#5. Communication Is The Economy
Communication is a powerful tool for any business that can make or break a product launch or an entire company. Communication is the key factor in determining:
- whether a customer is retained,
- whether the customer spends more time with you, and
- whether you outsell the competition.
Communication (which in the end is what this digital era and media is all about) is not just a sector of the economy. Communication is the economy.
#6. Tap Your Weak Ties
Your best new ideas, and most breakthrough innovations, will come when you tap your weak ties by interacting with the disciplines you know less about, or the experts you rarely consult, or the people you associate with less frequently. By contrast, the surest way NOT to have a creative breakthrough is to rely on all the experts you already know, and all the disciplines you’re already familiar with.
#7. Innovation is Not Invention
Innovation isn’t necessarily coming up with a novel idea, but coming up with a product or service people can use. My rule of thumb is that you only have to do something 10% better or provide added value to be successful.
Bottom line, marketing is key to a sustainable organisation. Business is all about marketing.
Patrick is a Cause & Effective Associate who specialises in a strategy-first and business approach to marketing. He helps organisations get real results from implementing and executing today’s marketing methods, tactics, strategies and action plans. To learn more from Patrick download his free eBook: 7 Components of a Successful Marketing Plan