What is Marketing?
According to HubSpot, “Marketing is the process of getting people interested in your company’s products or services. This happens through market research, analysis, and understanding your ideal customer’s interests. Marketing pertains to all aspects of a business, including product development, distribution methods, sales, and advertising.” Although I agree with this definition, it’s not a definition that excites and inspires me. To be focused, creative, and motivated I want and need to believe my work means more than just sales, advertising, and analysis. To achieve this, I define marketing as the organized and regular act of telling my existing and potential customers how much I love them. Essentially marketing is writing love letters through a variety of mediums and channels.
The Customer Journey is a Relationship
We have mapped, quantified, and defined the customer journey over the last few decades in a variety of ways. At its core, the customer journey is simply the process of building a relationship between a brand and the right people. According to McKinsey & Company, the customer journey consists of five main stages:
- Initial Consideration
- Active Evaluation
- Moment of Purchase
- Postpurchase Experience
- Loyalty Loop
The journey is circular because it can lead to repeat engagement and buying. If we reframe this in relationship terms you could say the five stages are:
Essentially as you attract and engage people with your products and services you will find that if you want your customer relationships to last you must always intentionally deepen, strengthen, and grow your connection and commitment. So the question is, how can brands accomplish this? The first step is to think of your marketing, communications, and promotions as your opportunity to woo people who already love and are just now being introduced to what you do.
Love Letters Come in All Forms
Declaring your love to your audiences can be done with any medium on any channel. Whether it is the content of your website, email newsletter, social media channels, podcast, videos, or webinar brands can express their passion, values, appreciation, and more for the people who make their success possible. When you think of all your marketing as a series of love letters it changes the approach and tone of your messaging. To get started, begin with these 3 exercises:
#1 Write a Letter to Your Perfect Customer
This first exercise can be done by start-ups and existing companies alike. Think of the best customer you have ever had or imagine your perfect customer. Write a personal love letter to them. Explain why you believe the relationship is important, what you like most about the person, how you are supporting each other, and how you hope and intend for connection will evolve in the future. What are you and your audiences committing to? Once finished put the letter away. The next time you are working on text or visuals for your marketing reread the letter and explore how you can use that language to create more authentic conversations.
#2 Read Your Online Reviews and Highlight All of the Descriptive Words
Do you have reviews on Facebook, Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, or on your own website? Copy and paste the reviews into a document. Remember there may be some negative reviews and that’s okay. You can’t please everyone. Take the opportunity to learn from honest feedback. Highlight all positive reviews or reduce the review down to its most descriptive words and phrases. This is a listening exercise that will allow you to see your brand from your customers’ point of view. Pay attention to the language happy customers use when they speak about you. How can you use this information to connect more deeply with potential customers? Make note of any descriptions that surprise you and that you haven’t used before.
#3 Create a Simple Graphic Declaration of Love
After you complete one or both exercises above make one single graphic that feels like a “love letter.” Keep the text to one or two sentences at most. Use the long-form love letter you wrote in exercise 1 or the adjectives you discovered in exercise 2 to make a bold statement full of feeling. Use a simple graphic editor like Canva or PicMonkey to create a visual to go with the words. Use this graphic in your email marketing, on your website, or on social media. You could also use it in print, radio, or TV advertising.
Successful Brands Grow through Love
In business, we typically shy away from talking about feelings in general, but love is usually off-limits. However, think about a company or organization you are passionate about. Why do you give your money to that brand? What motivates you? Maybe you love specific products or an experience you have had in the past. Maybe you love the brand’s mission or values. Maybe it’s a brand you adored as a child. Now, imagine if more people felt that way about your products and services! What could you accomplish if you built more long-term relationships over time? Don’t wait! Start writing your love letters today!
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Everyone Knows Marketing Sucks!
Marketing is a demanding job that requires a diverse number of skills, the desire and motivation to continuously learn, a creative mind, and empathy and caring for the people you want to reach.
Find out how I fuel my creative fires, stay relevant, and avoid burnout in the field. As professionals, we are all in this together.