This article first appeared on Topical Writer, the writing-focused blog of aXent writing associate Jane Hendry. Read the original here.
Marketing relies on people wanting or needing things. Things that you do or sell. The more there is to want, the more we seem to need. Which is great for those of us interested in connecting people with things. But how do you go about getting people to buy your product? Can you spin words in such a way that they convince people that they must have what you are selling? Or is it more effective to lead people towards your product or service with knowledge, expertise and community values?
Should you convince people – or add value?
Marketing is about convincing people that they need or want what you have or do. Or is it? For decades, marketing has been about advertising. The focus of any campaign seems to have been to “hoodwink” people into believing that they couldn’t go on without your product. Whether it was that you needed it to become a real man, or to give their children the best start in life, things just wouldn’t be the same if they didn’t buy your product or service – no matter who they were.
Things change. It’s one of life’s certainties. Now, effective marketing is founded in content that delivers real meaning, and engages your audience.
According to Internet guru Seth Godin:
“The goal isn’t to find people who have already decided that they urgently want to go where you are going. The goal is to find a community of people that desire to be in sync and who have a bias in favor of the action you want them to take.”
The Internet, far from dehumanising us, has reinstated the invaluable human community, which Seth refers to as tribes, based around similar likes, dislikes, interests, needs, wants, or experiences. Having an impact on your tribe by inspiring them or capturing their imaginations is the way to make a success of whatever it is you are trying to do.
So, in order to ensure people are buying your product or service, you need to find the people who have already realised it is lacking from their lives, and speak to them. You need to inform them of the real benefits to themselves and their other tribe members of acting on the information you provide, and you need to spell out for them the action that they are empowered to take.
Add value, every time
There are over seven billion people on the planet. You don’t need all of them. Of those seven billion, 2.5 billion use the Internet. You don’t need all of them, either. Rather than trying to convince everybody that they need what you are selling, try to assist those who actually need or want what you are offering to make educated decisions about buying from you, rather than the competition.
Add value to the lives of your tribe members, and they will begin to view you as a leader. Once you have a following, lead them with expertise, and a power derived from knowledge. By doing this you will earn their trust, and through that you can begin to develop tribe (or even brand) loyalty. Lead with compassion for your followers, and they will follow you anywhere.
Instead of foisting a product or service on consumers, find out what the people want, and provide that. Maybe that’s what real marketing is all about.
Which method do you think is the most effective: spin or true knowledge? I’d love to read what you think in the comments below.
If you’d like to find out more about creating content that empowers your tribe to make educated decisions about your products and services, call aXent today.