Whether you're looking to promote your business or your product, the first place people tend to turn to is marketing. However, most of us forget that marketing tends to feel empty unless you get to the heart of the business and promote what you stand for, not just what you do.
Before we delve into how you can find the heart of your marketing, let's start by looking at what we mean by marketing and how it's different from advertising.
What is marketing?
If you want to understand how customers interact with your business and what appeals to them, you need to understand marketing.
Marketing is any action that a business takes to attract an audience through high-quality messaging. The long-term goal of the messaging is to demonstrate product value, strengthen brand loyalty and increase sales.
How is marketing different from advertising?
Most people use the terms interchangeably; however, there is a difference between them.
Advertising is a part of marketing.
Typically paid for, it's a strategic effort to spread awareness of a product or service. Think of it this way:
Your business has a website used to showcase your products and a blog that you maintain with fresh content; you also have social media that you use to post general information about your business.
You then want to drive customers to a specific product, so you run a Google Ads campaign and start running campaigns on Facebook and Instagram. These are forms of advertising for the specific product you're trying to boost sales of.
Why does getting to the heart of your marketing matter?
Most marketers focus on what the business is selling, not why they're selling it. However, this strategy doesn't build brand loyalty or increase engagement with your brand. Think is it this way; people don't buy what you sell, they can get similar products elsewhere, they buy why you do it.
How can I uncover the heart of my business?
Most businesses use the three layers of the business story:
- What - these are the products you sell
- How - this is what makes your products special compared to your competitors
- Why - the reason the business exists (not making money)
Businesses often communicate these to their employees and customers in order, often ignoring the why. This can lead to shallow marketing that feels like it lacks something.
Truly great marketing flips the order, starting with the why.
If you're not sure what your why is, try answering the following questions:
- What inspired your business idea?
- What's unique about your business?
- What problem are you trying to solve?
- Is there a specific cause you're supporting?
- What do you believe in personally and professionally?
Once you've found your why, you can start incorporating it into your marketing. If you're unsure how to do this, take the example of a well-known computer company.
Most computer companies use marketing that sounds generic:
We make amazing computers. They have a cutting-edge design, but are easy to use by everyone. Want to buy one?
However, this well-known company has flipped the script, starting with the why:
We believe in challenging the status quo and thinking differently (their why)
We challenge the status quo by having a cutting-edge design while making the product easy to use (their how)
It just so happens that we make great computers, want to buy one? (their what)
Have you figured out who the well-known company is yet? It's Apple.
Looking at their marketing, it's easy to see what they stand for and their purpose. They sell the experience, not the product.
How do I know if my marketing is connecting?
Once you've started changing your marketing around, you need to make sure you've done the right thing.
1. Focus on one or two metrics
Tracking every metric known to man can be tempting, but this can be counterproductive and time-consuming. If you're hoping the changes in your marketing will lead to more customers, track metrics showing whether new customers are coming on board. Or, if you're trying to improve customer retention, track metrics that tell you whether customers are sticking around.
2. Keep track of your data and analytics
If you want to know whether your marketing is generally working, keeping an eye on your web traffic can help. Since changing your strategy, have you had more clicks on your site? Or have your social media posts received more attention, such as views or likes?
3. Ask your audience
If you want to know what's working or not, just ask. Asking your customers how they feel about your marketing efforts is a way of getting the word straight from the source. Don't leave it up to guesswork if your new messaging is working; just ask.