Have you ever stopped and thought about how we think about marketing? Stop for a moment and do that. Marketing has changed by leaps and bounds in the last 4-5 years. But, our language — and I’ll argue much of our thought processes — haven’t really kept pace.
The Old Language of Marketing
Look at the language that marketers have always used. Define your target audience. Identify your unique value proposition. Develop your elevator speech — make it painfully simple so anyone can understand it. Establish your competitive positioning. Build brand awareness.
All this language — it’s all about us and it’s all impersonal. The client is a faceless “target market.” Our “elevator speech” needs to be simplified down so anyone off the street can understand it. But, last I checked, most professional services firms weren’t selling to “anyone off the street.” Our message should be as intelligent as our clients.
And, ultimately, our clients don’t really care about any of this stuff. All they really care about is their business.
The New Language of Marketing
When I talk about content marketing and today’s technologies, like marketing automation, I’m sometimes told that these things won’t work in professional services firms. “This approach is too impersonal. We sell based on relationships.”
Yet, look how impersonal our marketing thinking has been? We’ve acted like our clients aren’t people at all — they’re faceless “targets” within a desired “market.”
I actually think the opposite is true. When you apply things like marketing automation to your firm’s web strategy you can actually make your marketing much more personal and much more meaningful.
You can create segments of segments of segments — based on who someone is or what their interests appear to be. This is way more relational than some “industry newsletter” ever could have hoped to be.
But, our language and our thinking needs to adapt. We have to commit ourselves to thinking about our marketing approach as one of identifying the ideal clients we hope to attract. To truly thinking about their fundamental challenges and needs. And, applying all our energy and efforts to help. When we do this, suddenly our marketing is really client-centered. What are competitors are doing becomes largely irrelevant.
Ultimately, our marketing becomes both welcomed by our ideal clients and extremely useful to them. How is that impersonal?
Other Resources on This Topic
I actually talked a lot about this in the webinar, Planning for Marketing Automation. If this interests you, I invite you to check out the slides or the recording.