Marketing is not telling your customers about you, it’s about listening to them

by Tony Fannin, President, BE Branded

When you market to or communicate to your customers, do you tell them about your products, your services, and your benefits? Do you follow the traditional 4 p’s (product, price, place, and promotion)? By telling your customers all about your products and services, you may be doing yourself and your customers a disservice. Instead of talking about yourself, why don’t you engage your customers by getting them to talk about themselves or communicate that you understand how they feel.

Your marketing should be less about  you and more about them. In this new age of marketing, the 4 p’s are not the standard any more. To win in this new economy, your marketing needs to evolve. I’m not saying abandon marketing basics, but I am saying the focus needs to shift. It needs to be on understanding your customer’s various “profiles”. You market is made up of several different “profiles”. For example, McDonald’s customers fall within the following groups:
• Heath conscious women
• Health conscious parents
• Time pressed families
• Budget minded adults
• Teenagers on the go
• Active kids

Each of these profiles need to address different messaging in different marketing vehicles. McDonald’s marketing is based on communicating to each of these groups, letting them know they understand their needs and preferences through all of their marketing efforts from surveys and online interaction to advertising and community sponsorships. They took the time to identify each of these “profiles” and to learn all they can about them so their marketing will leave their customers feeling like they are talking directly to them. It’s not a “one size fits all”. The overall brand needs to be the foundation and anchor all of your efforts, but the specific tactics and messaging needs to address each profile individually. This also means, you need to use the right marketing vehicles to address each group.

For teens on the go, they provide coupons via mobile apps, you can apply for a job via your cell phone, and texting contests to vote for your favorite sandwich and win prizes.

For health conscious parents, they’ve started a program called Mom’s Quality Correspondence where mothers are allowed to look inside of McDonald’s and report what they find online and in the news, advertised in high-end lifestyle publications about how McDonald’s is addressing the health of their food, and working with Weigh Watchers on developing healthy options.

As you see, creating niche marketing that speaks to each profile group is much more effective than a one-size-fits all. This doesn’t mean you don’t use mass media and it’s not about scale. Believe me, even though McDonald’s is using micro-targeting, they still use scale in how they market. They want to dominate the marketspace where they compete. Micro-targeting is not about size, but about specifics.

If you get the profiles and marketing right, your customers will ask you about your products, services, price, and participate in your promotions. The 4 p’s still matter, just don’t lead with them.


About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.

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