It is an unpredictable time for marketers. People are still recovering from a difficult year, financially, mentally, or both. The last thing you would think people want is dozens of telemarketers or cold calls, automated emails, and clickbait headlines, and you’re right.
The idea of reliable and transparent marketing, or simply responsible marketing, is not new. Still, it has taken on more meaning as many companies with initially small online presence eventually moved more assets and more effort into digital marketing. The recent rise in digital marketing seems to mean an endless glut of spam from companies indiscriminately marketing to the masses.
So how do we define responsible marketing? For me, it means smarter and more targeted marketing with the customer and their pain points always in mind.
Target customers who can benefit
Marketing has a really amazing skill. It has the power to reach people at a primal level and greatly influence their thoughts and actions. Because our actions as marketers can have a significant impact on people, it is our responsibility to promote our product or service in a way that limits the scope to only those who we believe can benefit from what we offer.
There is a lot of really good marketing, but let’s face it, a lot of marketing is really spam. Spam significantly reduces the quality of leads and, more importantly, it is annoying and gives all marketers a bad name. We need to evolve beyond the lazy approach of casting a wide net in hopes of catching the right fish and instead prioritize reaching a smaller, more targeted audience, specifically tying our solutions to audience pain points. Your resulting pool of leads may be smaller, but it will also be filled with much higher quality leads.
How can you tell if you are in the spam vs. good marketing camp? First, take a look at who you are marketing to. Do you know who your ideal client is? Are you doing everything you can to reach that customer? Is your content purely promotional or are you helping that ideal customer understand how your solution will solve their problem?
Your marketing collateral must first educate you. You must demonstrate an understanding of a customer’s problem while describing how your offering can help. At Moz, we provide free educational resources on our website because we know that the more we educate people on how to use SEO to increase website visibility (for example), the more likely we are to reach customers who will benefit from our Solutions. SEO.
It takes patience. You need to respect your audience enough to allow them the time and space to take the next step and convert or buy at their own pace, not yours.
Related Podcast: ShepHyken: Podcast Decoded by CX: Building Customer Trust in Unprecedented Times
Build trust and connect with your customers
I’ve talked before that storytelling is the best way for marketers to build lasting relationships with customers. People want to experience something human and hold onto a larger narrative. When people feel that you are speaking directly to them, this evokes a greater sense of connection and sparks interest in whatever it is you are marketing.
The connection creates customers for life. Lifers, as we call them, have more long-term value than higher volumes of entry-level clients. They’ll spend more on premium products, stick with you through tough times, and recommend your brand to others. We connect and retain people for life through some core values: empathy, transparency, and generosity.
Recently, everyone has had a hard time. Adapting to the new standards is exhausting, and the last thing a customer wants is to have to wade through clickbait and spam to find the answers to their problems. When I say empathy, I mean taking the time to see the world from your customer’s point of view. It ties in with your responsibility as a marketer to find the customer where they are and guide them through the journey, rather than pushing them toward something they don’t want or need yet. When customers see your commitment to letting them experience the buying process on their own time, they will be much more inclined to trust you.
In light of recent data breaches and questionable data collection, transparency is essential at this time. Customers and those who interact with your material need to know that their data and information is safe with you. It’s also about showing your interest in new prospects and honestly communicating who your product is suitable for.
Respect, Responsibility and Success
People get used to the status quo. Right now, the status quo is dozens of robocalls a day, irrelevant emails, and other forms of spam. Is it the future of this marketing? I hope not. Imagine how beautiful the world would be if we all worked hard to really understand who could benefit from what we offer and only reached out to those prospects. Then he focused on educating those prospects on how we can help.
The hope is that we all use this power that we have as marketers to reach specific audiences, creating customers for life and guiding them responsibly throughout their journey.