The title of this blog is something I thought I would never say. In fact, whereas I have my own opinions I always take a wide berth of politics in the work that I do, however, the last twelve months have delivered some key lessons.
It started with the Brexit referendum, we then saw the power of Trump and last week we saw a very strong Conservative Government fail to win a majority – you can almost hear the question being asked ‘what happened there?’
The answer, and the driving factor behind what we are witnessing is ‘the power of influence’. In politics, the electorate is no longer voting on the tradition of where their allegiances lay, but are listening to what is being said (whether that be true, or not), and are being significantly influenced by campaigning.
Nothing is sacred; there are no lost causes. Marketing can be very powerful in turning opinions and winning even when you perceive the odds are stacked against you.
I reluctantly ask myself, what can we learn from the politicians and the answer is staring me in the face. Know your market; know what is important to the people you are selling to and then focus on that. We have seen some master classes here and some dramatic failures.
I always preach there is no such thing as B2B marketing; it is not companies that engage with marketing programmes, it is people. To engage with these people you have to speak their language, appeal to their needs and aspirations, and convince them that life with you is going to be better.
The successes in recent elections (again rightly or wrongly) has come from painting a picture that people have bought into. It is not about winning some intellectual battle, it is not about scoring points against the competition, it is about capturing the hearts and minds.
Focus on the people, stop thinking about how great your products or services are and start thinking about what is important to those people you want to engage with.
The secret to brilliant marketing has not changed. It is about capturing the attention of your target audience and getting them to buy into what you can offer. However, maybe it’s time we get smarter as to how we do this.
We need to segment our market not by the size of company or industry sector, but by the personas of the people we are trying to reach. We need to get better at understanding what is key to them and stop telling them what we think is important, but relating to what they think is important.
Focus on people not markets, understand what is important to them and get them engaged with your story.
I am extremely passionate about two things that enable us to do this. First is storytelling, gone are the days of datasheets, brochures and white papers – people engage with stories that are concise, easy to digest and hit the mark – so ditch the copywriter and start storytelling.
Second is marketing automation, if we unleash its full potential it allows us to segment our audience and carefully craft programmes to get our story to the right people, at the right time.
This is a great time to be in marketing, the recent elections have shown us the tremendous potential to influence and as marketers this is exactly what we aim to do every day – what a responsibility.