We are all plugged into a knowledge economy that every second empowers our ability to make decisions about the things we do: how we live, how we support our lifestyles and how we buy.
As buyers, we are almost in full control of our buying decisions.
As business owners we have lost the power over our brands.
That’s us, the creators and distributors of great life enhancing products or services. Yet no-one cares about “what” we produce, because we are unlikely to be the only ones. Our USP’s are trumped by the existence of a “me too” product or service just down the road or a swipe and click on a mobile device. (Go on, Google your USP and see if you are the only one that appears on page one!)
So are people drawn to our own ‘quality of life’ story - our “why”, according to the excellent Simon Sinek in 2009, the essence of all that inspired us to set forth on the crazy journey of building a business.
If defined, this often underpins our marketing story. Some prospects will resonate with a struggle, a frustration or ambition but sadly once again the majority are not interested.
No-one cares “why” we go to work, why we spend all our working hours trying to be better, different or exceptional. Buyers care only about themselves. Not about you and me, the brand owners. Sure, we must have a ‘why we bother’ well defined to get ourselves out of bed in the morning, as rightly identified by Mr Sinek, but prospects have their own personal agenda.
And this is the key. If you want to be a part of people’s lives you have to focus your systems and processes entirely on them. You need to understand how they think and feel, how they want to deal with you, how they want your product or service to work for them and how they can get the best from what you offer and enhance their quality of life.
This is the Power of How and we once again need to change our way of thinking about how we do business. We need to build commercial relationships that really matter.
Research from the Ecommerce Foundation and Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins shows that up to 88% of buying decisions start online. When faced with a need, challenge or problem do you not ‘Google it’ or go to Amazon first. There you are greeted by a vast array of ‘results’ but you look at what’s on page one and in no time at all you have a list of possible solutions.
A visit to a website or two soon focusses you down to a possible brand relationship you would be prepared to have. Then and only then do you make contact with the possible solution. Other research by CEB (now owned by Gartner) shows that at point of first contact a prospect has made 57% of the decision to buy from you on first contact.
They are more likely to buy from you than not! They’ve qualified their need, they’ve researched you as a possible solution and they have made contact with an intent to buy.
And what do most businesses do then?
They hosepipe us with facts and figures, fancy websites trying to be too clever or showcase everything they sell.
But I just want to buy. Why are you making it so difficult?
In a digital economy your website should now be just a matter of completing the sale. It is no longer about what’s on sale or why you should buy it, that part of the decision making process is done. It is now all about how to get the merchandise.
In fact, there is a good chance that all the prospects you need to make your business plan work are probably already trying to find out how they can buy from you.
The question is: Have you put in place the breadcrumb trail to lead them to your door? Have you designed a marketing-led system to enable those people who have already qualified their need to solve any desire they have and identified that someone like you fits the bill (pun intended)?
Are you helping them by making it easier to buy from you or are you teaching them how to buy from your competitors by just giving them a fantastic list of your features?
This is the Power of How and you need to transform the way your business behaves, using marketing thinking to ensure that you at least meet, if not exceed, the expectations of how people buy and, in doing so, will ensure those same prospects buy from you.
Within just two decades, it has become apparent that ‘what you sell’ and ‘why you sell it’ have become “threshold values”. For today’s buyers these are no longer the differentiating force behind brand engagement, it is now how you make your products and services available, how you help people do business with you and how you help them buy from you and how you help purchasers get the most from what you offer.
If you take a look at the many marketing tools, you’ll soon see that they are built on ‘what’ and ‘why’. Literally thousands of ways to broadcast what you sell or tell your back story – your why.
Indeed, we are all bombarded by 18,000 marketing messages every day, of which 4,000 are totally new.
Remember any from yesterday?
What about last weekend?
OMG, the era of the USP backed shout marketing is truly over. Living in the new digital economy means you now need to move from a broadcast strategy to an inbound strategy in everything you do as a business.
Barnaby is a brand creation expert with over 457 to his name. He is the founder of The Brand Bucket® Company pursuing a vision to help every business in the world create a brand that matters by making their marketing work.
Daily marketing tips at 3.57pm @thebrandbucket