Why assumption is the downfall of Marketing

Assumption is the downfall of many a marketing campaign. Whether it's misreading where a prospect is on their buying cycle or assuming how particular audiences feel about you as a brand can massively impact the success of your activities. In fact, guess work in the data-rich digital age is almost unforgivable.

Design by committee

One of the recurring themes are campaigns that have been exclusively devised by an insular stakeholder group. In laymen's terms, the message has been crafted by the organisation around a particular product or service. There is nothing wrong with this approach if the core message is aligned with the target audience’s particular need, challenge or issue. Too often they aren't.

One of the toughest nuts to crack is how do we identify and effectively communicate with a senior audience, particularly penetrating the inner sanctum of the C-suite of enterprise? This is a difficult task at the best of times, identifying who they are, where they are based, where they like to congregate on-line and how to get past the bastions of the Inbox (the PA) are all issues which should be recognised but really the focus of this post is more the language, tone of voice and desired action we wish them to take.

One size doesn't fits all

Exacttarget.com published a blog last year about the differences between marketing to SME business owners and the C-suite. On the face of it the same message should resonate with both audiences. Both are at the summit of the organisational pyramid, both are concerned with business issues such as customer retention, increased productivity and improved go-to-market lead times. However there are subtle differences that unless properly researched and profiled would be missed.

For example, SME's owners have to wear multiple hats, dealing with HR issues, IT, staffing as well as leading the business strategy for the company all comes under the remit of the CEO. As a result, content that is informative and provides benefit to any of these areas would be deemed beneficial.

Board members within an enterprise however require specific, relevant insights into areas that they directly control. Generalised content will no longer cut it.

Knowledge is power

Utilising your own resources and assets is key to identifying who your customers and prospects actually are.

Profiling your database, speaking to client facing staff, using social networks and even conducting focus groups will all provide you with insight into your base. Guessing who you think your target audience is a complete no no.

Square pegs, round holes

So you've identified ‘the who’, you know ‘the what’, but how do you ensure that the 'why' hits the mark with your audience?

Identification of roles & responsibilities, motivations and associated benefits to the business of what you are selling is critical.

'Talking product' may be exactly the correct technical level and tone of voice that the end user wants to read about, however you need to ask yourself 'is this going to be of interest higher up the corporate ladder?

Being a chameleon in your approach allows you to adapt your messaging depending on your environment as just because your new product has more 'speeds and feeds' doesn't mean the CFO will align product features to business benefit.

This approach isn't a one off fix, continual improvement and refinement allows us to adapt to the market. New products may open up new opportunities, certain persona's may prove to be 'too niche' and not feasible to market too. Influencers may wield more power in future meaning greater focus is required on these sectors. Although this requires continuous monitoring, persona creation and marketing shouldn't be ignored or even worse guessed.

Chris Burrows
Chris Burrows
HEAD OF STRATEGY & MARKETING Chris BurrowsView Profile

Chris has over 17 years of industry experience and as Head of Strategy and Marketing Chris oversees all client Digital Marketing projects.

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