Why read this? : We explore 3 different activities which help you be a better marketer. Learn how to communicate more clearly, be more commercial, and have more influence with non-marketers. Read this for quick and easy ways to be a better marketer.
There are always new things to learn in marketing. If you want to be a better marketer you have to take a scientific and artistic approach to learning.
Marketing isn’t pure science. You can use scientific methods in marketing. (See our behavioural science in marketing article, for example). But marketing is about people. And people aren’t predictable.
Doing “x” in marketing doesn’t always deliver “y”. That’s not how it works.
But nor is marketing a pure art form, where it’s all subjective judgment. (Though it has a role to play – see our creative approvals article, for example).
No, marketing sits somewhere between science and art. If you want to be a better marketer, your marketing context drives what the right mix of science and art is for you. Understanding your context is a big part of building your brand expertise, and depends on your brand and category. But, there are some consistent behaviours marketers can use in all contexts. Which is what this article focuses on.
Let’s start with avoiding jargon and buzzwords.
Avoid jargon and buzzwords
Ironically, one of the most common goals in marketing is clear communication. But, many marketers don’t practice what they preach.
Instead, they love to use jargon and buzzwords. These seem designed to confuse non-marketers. Great marketers soon realise only marketers care about marketing. Non-marketers don’t care much about it at all.
You should keep your language clear and simple if you want people to listen to you.
And to be a better marketer, you need people to listen to you.
Customers only care about the benefit your product or service gives them. You have to be able to express this clearly and simply. If you don’t, they won’t get it. And if they don’t get it, they won’t buy it.
Put it into words they’d use themselves. Try to avoid the creep of marketing jargon like :-
Many brands like to talk about ‘solutions’ in their advertising. Plumbing solutions to fix your toilet. Financial solutions to sort out your mortgage. Travel solutions to book your holiday.
But do customers talk about ‘solutions’?
We don’t think so.
Similarly, we don’t believe many customers talk about making ‘connections’. Unless they’re referring to their number of social media contacts.
But how many brands do you see talking about how they help customers make ‘valuable connections’?
Again, do customers ever say this?
At a push, maybe if you’re talking about CRM. Stay connected with us. But otherwise, no. Avoid it.
And worst of all, those brands which feel compelled to share their ‘vision’.
Maybe if that vision is in a not-for-profit organisation supporting a good cause, it can work.
Anything else – banking, chocolate bars, mechanical widgets – it’s just dull. Please, really, just don’t share it. Nobody cares.
No one is looking for your brand vision other than you, your agency and your competitors.
Our best advice is to pick someone in your life you trust. But someone who has nothing to do with marketing. Your mum, dad, significant other, whoever you trust to tell it like it is.
Test out your advertising and comms ideas with them. It’s a pretty safe bet, they won’t think much of words like ‘solutions’, ‘connections’ or ‘visions’.
It seems like sales and marketing should be a match made in heaven.
But, in many businesses the sales and marketing functions bicker like teenage siblings.
Marketers see salespeople as short-term and impulsive. Salespeople see marketers as slow and not commercially-minded.
They’re both valid opinions. But there’s a sweet spot to look for between the two sides.
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 working in sales. If you don’t want to do a traditional sales role, try building your e-Commerce capability instead. E-Commerce and marketing fit together well, but most marketers aren’t e-Commerce experts.
If you only ever work in marketing, you can fall into the trap of being a ‘big picture’ marketer. One who ‘only does strategy’. You call yourself a strategist and think ‘sales’ is beneath you. Don’t be one of those types.
Sales activity helps bring the brand to life and persuade customers to buy. Without sales, businesses go bust. So yes, develop your marketing plan. But make sure selling is part of your brand activation.
Sales teams focus on actions and results. Their customers and contacts look to them for inspiration and direction. They look to marketing for great ideas and answers to their questions.
Supporting your sales team is a big part of your marketing plan. Bringing marketing campaigns to life at the point of purchase has a massive impact.
Learn how to engage non-marketers
Beyond the sales team, you also have to consider how to get the best out of other functional teams in your business.
You need to know how to explain marketing to non-marketers.
Marketers don’t work in isolation. They 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 customers to love it?
For physical products, for example, you have to build strong relationships with your operations and supply chain teams.
We’ve seen many marketing plans grind to a halt when the factory manager says vital new machinery will take 6 months to install. Or, you’re already at full capacity with a production line or warehouse.
If you’re 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 may well sound like pretentious guff to your customer service teams.
As a marketer, think through the other connections you have to make within a business.
Meet their needs
Try to communicate what you’re doing in a way which meets THEIR needs as well as your own.
Finance teams need clarity of reporting and evidence for your forecast to back up your investment plans.
Show how what you do in marketing helps those other functions meet their own needs.
Conclusion - How to be a better marketer
There are clearly MORE things than this you can do to be a better marketer.
But those we’ve covered here are a good start. Avoid jargon and buzzwords. Have a sales mindset. And learn how to engage non-marketers, so they buy into what you do.
Marketers who can do these are already one step ahead of most of the competition out there.