How to be a better marketer

Woman standing on stage telling a story to a large seated audience

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Snapshot : Beyond learning new technical skills, there’s always ways to learn how to be a better marketer. If you’re just starting out in marketing, this article shares three quick and easy things you can do to improve how you do marketing.  

One of the more challenging but fun aspects of marketing is that there’s always something new to learn. Marketing depends heavily on context, and it draws from many other disciplines. 

Marketing isn’t like a science where you follow pre-defined steps and get the same results every time.

Even though you can use scientific methods in marketing (like when you use behavioural science in marketing), it’s not that predictable. Doing “x” to always deliver “y” isn’t how marketing works. 

Woman standing on stage telling a story to a large seated audience

But nor is marketing purely an art form, where everything is based on subject judgement. (though there is a lot of that in creative approvals for example).

No, marketing sits somewhere inbetween science and art. If you want to be a better marketer, your business context often drives how much ‘science’ and ‘art’ you need. 

The marketing context will vary widely based on the size of the brand and the industry. But, in our experience, you do find some consistent behaviours that marketers can use in all contexts. 

This article will pick out three of the easiest things you can do to be a better marketer right away. 

Avoid jargon and buzzwords

It is ironic that one of the outcomes of marketing is clear communication to consumers. But, marketers are often not clear communicators themselves. 

Marketing does come with a lot of jargon and buzzwords. These seem designed to confuse the non-marketer. Great brand marketers are able to remember that only marketers actually care about marketing.

If you want people to listen to you, keep your language as clear and simple as you can make it. 

Two people holding up large ears on a small dog

Consumers care about the benefit your product or service will bring them. You need to be able to articulate this core benefit in a way that’s clear and simple.

Put it into language the consumer would use. Make an effort to avoid marketing language creeping into your communications like these overused and jargon-y examples.  

Solutions

We see a lot of companies who talk about ‘solutions’ in their advertising campaigns. Plumbing solutions to fix your toilet. Financial solutions to sort out your mortgage. Travel solutions to book your holiday.

Do consumers really use the word ‘solutions’?

Really?

Be very careful of using the word solutions in your advertising. A fixed toilet, a better mortgage and a hassle-free holiday. That’s what consumers want to hear.

Connections

Similarly, we don’t believe many consumers talk about making ‘connections’.

Unless they are referring to a specific number of social media contacts.

But how many brands do you see talking about how they help consumers make ‘valuable connections’?

Again, do real (i.e. non marketing) people actually say this? 

Fine if you are talking about CRM, but otherwise, no. 

A rope net with many connections

Vision

And worst of all, those brands that feel compelled to share their ‘vision’ of the world.

Urgh.

Maybe if that vision is in a not-for-profit organisation supporting a good cause, it can maybe work.

Maybe.

Anything else – banking, chocolate bars, mechanical widgets – it’s just not that interesting to consumers, Please, really, just don’t share it. Nobody cares.

Nobody is going looking for your brand vision other than you, your agency and your competitors.

Our best advice is to pick someone in your life that you trust but who has nothing to do with marketing. Your mum, dad, significant other, whoever you trust to tell it like it is.

And then when you have that great marketing idea or communication plan, go share that idea with them. We’re pretty sure the words ‘solutions’ or ‘connections’ or ‘visions’ won’t come up.

Sales mindset

It seems like sales and marketing should be a match made in heaven.

But, in many businesses the sales and marketing functions can often bicker like teenage siblings.

Marketers see sales people as short-term and impulsive. Sales people see marketers as slow and not commercially-minded. 

As usual, the answer lies in finding the balance between the two. 

Sale sign in white on a red window with outline of a person walking past in the background

The best marketers have sales experience

One of the best things a marketer can do to develop their career is to spend a few years at least working in the sales function. If you don’t want to do traditional account management, building your e-Commerce capability is an attractive alternative to learn sales. 

If you only ever work in marketing, you can fall into the trap of being a ‘big picture’ marketers who only does ‘strategy’. You call yourself a strategist and look down on the world of ‘sales’.

As per our article to beware the strategist, don’t be one of them. No-one likes them.

These type of marketers get hung up on advertising and media. But, they’ll often neglect sales promotion and price discounting as an activity to deliver results. 

Sales activity and promotion brings the brand to life and generates revenue. Without sales, businesses go bust. So yes, by all means spend time to develop your marketing plan. But make sure selling is part of your planned brand activation

When you work with sales teams, it gives you great focus on delivering actions and results. Their customers and contacts look to them for inspiration and direction. They look to marketing to provide great ideas and answers to their questions.

Understanding the needs and wants of your sales team and customers is an important part of your marketing plan. Your ability to bring to life marketing campaigns at the point of purchase can make or break your business.

Learn how to engage non-marketers

Beyond the sales team, you also have to consider how to get the best out of other parts of your business. You need to know how to explain marketing to non-marketers

Marketers don’t work in isolation and need the support of other functions. 

But, if you can’t make the people you work with every day love what you do, how do you expect to make customers love what you do?

White round badge with a read heart symbol against a dark grey background

If you make physical products for example, you should know how best to work with your operations and supply chain teams.

We’ve seen many marketing plans grind to a halt when the factory manager says that vital new machine will take 6 months to install. Or, you’re already running at full capacity with that production line or warehouse. 

If you are in a service industry, have you engaged the front-line staff who talk to customers every day? Your fancy sounding ‘service proposition’ hatched in a workshop with your brand agency in their trendy office might sound like a lot of pretentious guff when it actually makes out to your customer-facing teams.

As a marketer, think through the other connections you have to make within a business.

Meet their needs

Try to communicate what you are trying to do in a way that meets THEIR needs as well as your own.

Finance teams need clarity of reporting and substantiation, and evidence to back up your investment plans. IT teams need to be sure your websites are well protected and tested for faults before they go live.

Show how what you do in marketing helps those other fucntions meet their own needs. 

(See for example, our guide on how these different functions come together in e-Commerce). 

Close up of a hand with thumb up

Conclusion - 3 ways to be a better marketer

There are obviously MORE things you can do to be a better marketer.

But anyone who can avoid jargon and buzzwords. Who has a sales mindset that drives dollars in to the business. And who knows how to engage non-marketers, so that they love marketing. 

Well, that marketer is definitely already a level up from a lot of marketers out there.

We offer all sorts of support through our marketing coaching and consulting services, so contact us, if you need specific help to be a better marketer. 

Photo credits

Woman presenting on stage : Photo by Product School on Unsplash

Dog ears : Photo by kyle smith on Unsplash

Rope Netting : Photo by Clint Adair on Unsplash

Lens : Photo by Paul Skorupskas on Unsplash

Sale : Photo by Justin Lim on Unsplash

Heart Button Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Thumbs up (adapted) : Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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