The burning question for every entrepreneur is: Who Moved my USP?
We are living in a different time. No profession has remained immune to the vulnerability. Technology is driving the world, finance is deciding the success of the business, and but in the end, marketing will drive the business in the market. Marketing will satisfy technology and finance and then and then only the enterprise remains in business.
Finally, the success of the business highly dependent on marketing. Peter Drucker said it succinctly when he said;
“There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer… Because it is its purpose to create a customer, any business enterprise has two — and only these two—basic functions: marketing and innovation…” Peter Drucker
The marketing has changed over the last decade. Customer Experience is driving the marketing than advertising/marketing messages, content is driving the marketing than PPC and AdWords. (Content is not company-centric content, but target audience-centric useful content).
The authors say, “Simply paying for attention will no longer do. We as marketers have to hold it long enough so that WE matter to them.”
The role of Marketing has changed to;
- Creating Experiences
- Inviting Target Audience to Experience Experiences
- Creating Platforms for Customers to Share Experiences
The authors say, “It is not just how customers are changing researching, reviewing, and buying. It’s also what they value most. This is also changing…. It is not your product any longer. They value experiences. If you don’t offer compelling differentiated experiences your current customers will research, look, purchase and become loyal elsewhere.“
The role of marketers has shrunk in the market but the role has broadened on the board. Yes, on the board of the companies and nudging the board members to invest in creating experiences. This is because “Marketing and sales serve as Promise Makers of customer experiences, and the rest of the employees serve as Promise Keepers.” Say, Authors.
The change is critical as well as difficult to sink in. Many marketers are still dependent on old ways. They will survive but feel the heat of the red ocean often. The change makers will lead the market.
The authors say, “New marketing strategies must focus on creating experiences that deliver value that goes beyond product or service.”
Going beyond product and service is key. This is where content steps in. Content is valuable, helpful to the target audience. No one is interested in reading marketing collateral. Everyone is interested in solving their own problems. Your content should help them do that.
The authors say, “Marketers must get beyond the cycle of chasing campaign-oriented capabilities around every emerging channel…. The creation, management, publishing, and promotion of content-driven experiences must become a strategic function in the business.”
Content-driven experiences are separate from product and services the company offers. We all know people don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole. Instead of focusing on a drill, marketers’ focus should shift to the hole.
AIDA model many marketers still use is more than 100 years old. Buyers have moved on.
“Market in the year you are actually in.” Gary Vaynerchuk
The authors say, “That means you have to create and deliver experiences that are relevant today and be agile enough to respond to how audiences want them delivered in the future.”
Marketing has to evolve. The old way of focussing on closing the transaction only is myopic.
“The customer decision journey might be circular, bit f the focus is still on the transaction, it is just a funnel earing its own tail.” Jonathon Becher, CMO, SAP.
The authors say,” People now experience brand many times and in many different ways, and many of these experiences come from sources outside of the brand.
We can’t restrict our efforts to what drives immediate sales leads, because that limits what we can do. Don’t focus on persuading and promoting in order to sell. Rather think about enabling and empowering experiences.”
On Content Experience, the book is very vocal. They write, “The problem is that we are convinced we don’t know how to create value with content.”
So, how do we create value with content? Well, we can teach with content. We can evangelise with content. We can tell stories that make common connections with the content.
The authors have classified content on 4 parameters.
This kind of content marketers creates every day. This is feeding the needs and wants of audiences. The purpose is to drive a decision. This content is designed to get the sale.
Feeding discovery and answers for audiences. The purpose is to attract new audiences, to be found, and to promote a larger idea in an easy to consume way. This kind of content has exemplified inbound marketing. The trick is to stand out by becoming remarkable to a segment of buyers.
Feeding the interest and passions of audiences. The key goal is to position the company as a thought leader. In that capacity educate your audience. This is a type of content that believes in: If you sell something, you make a customer today, If you help someone you may create a customer for life.
Feeding the feelings and beliefs of audiences. This is to fill the emotional well of the target audience.
This is one of the rare marketing books which talks about a content experience different from product and service experience. The goes in detail how to create content creation management infrastructure.
What is the valuable experience, separate from our product or service that we can deliver?
This is what every CMO needs to ask in the new content era of marketing we find ourselves in.
What is the customer struggling with and what can I offer? It is a very different mindset from What Can I build and sell. This is the key to everyday marketing. Seth Godin says,” Marketers don’t use consumers to solve their company’s problem; they use marketing to solve other people’s problems.
Now instead of asking,” How can I get more people to listen to me, how can I get the word out, how can I find more followers, how can a convert more leads to sales, how can I find more clients, how can I pay my staff…? You can ask,” What change do I seek to make?” Once you know what you stand for, the rest gets a lot easier.”
The book referred in this post is Experiences, 7th Era of Marketing by Robert Rose and Carla Johnson.
Useful Content differentiates a brand. Product or Service experiences coupled with Content experiences differentiate a brand. Lack of differentiation puts enormous pressure on your bottom-line.
If your experiences are not talkable, then Jay Baer says, ”Cost becomes the sole basis of comparison…. The built-in differentiators that create customer conversation.”
Welcome to the 7th Era of Marketing.