The new rules for marketing

Dec 16, 2010


Marketing has been used the same way for years. The strategy that marketers have used has gone something like this:

* The company decides what they want the customer to think of their product.
* The company yells to the customer to buy the product.
* The company waits to see if the customer ever decides to purchase.

For years, this process may have worked. Companies just needed to get their message out more often than their competitors. However, in today's world, customers are exposed to a lot of messages every day. A Google Answers thread shows that different sources have come up with different estimates. Some range as low as 247 (Consumer Reports), but the standard estimate is that a customer is exposed to 3,000 ads every day.

After visualizing how a customer can possibly see 3,000 advertisements in a single day, ask yourself how many of those ads lead to actual purchase. I don't know the number myself, but I would probably assume is is far less than 10.

So how do companies really get their marketing messages out there so that customers will actually buy them? Dr. Robert Cialdini, an American professor of psychology has detailed these strategies in his work which have been extended to social media. In fact, 6 Powerful Social Media Persuasion Techniques summarizes them very well.

Dr. Cialdini's work centers around building a relationship to a customer. Some of the most important elements of Dr. Cialdini's strategy are:

* Give to your customer before you ask for anything in return.
* Don't change your mind or your message.
* Prove to your customers why your product is effective, which usually requires that you show someone else actually using the product.
* Position yourself as someone who has the authority to make the statement. This means that you need to either show that you are an expert in what you do or get someone who has a solid reputation to stand by your message.
* Make your product seem exclusive. When customers think that they are a handful of people who gets to purchase it, they are likely to buy it. Everyone wants something that they can hold as a badge of honor.

When you think about it, Cialdini's theory is dead on. We all want to trust people and know that they have our best interests at heart. If a company wants us to love them, they need to give us a reason to. Then why don't more of them try to actually engage with us? Most likely, they are either lazy or incompetent.

The rules of engagement for marketers have substantially in the last twenty years. When there were only a handful of companies, usually the ones with the largest marketing budgets won. Now if you are to be successful as a marketer, you need to show customers that you are going to go out of your way for them in ways that their competitors won't. Creating a trust and a solid marketing approach isn't difficult, you just need to be consistent about following through with it.