What does it take to be a better marketer?

Speaker addressing a large crowd. To demonstrate that engaging the business helps you to be a better marketer.

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Snapshot : We outline three key behaviours that successful marketers exhibit. Clear and simple communications. A sales mindset. And the ability to engage other parts of the business. These three things help you be a better marketer.

One of the more challenging but fun aspects of marketing is that there’s no single guaranteed best way to do things. Marketing is not exclusively a science where you follow a set of prescribed protocols. Do x and y always happens – that’s not how marketing works.

But nor is it exclusively an art, dependent on highly subjective criteria. Following certain process and techniques can improve your chances of success.

No, marketing is a weird combination of both science and art. And if you want to be a better marketer, it’s really very dependent on the context you find yourself in.

This context could mean a sole owner business doing its own marketing. Or a brand or marketing manager responsible for the marketing of a bigger business. 

The marketing context can vary widely based on the size of the brand and the industry.

But, no matter the context, outside of the technical knowledge of marketing, we have observed three key behaviours that have been consistent across really successful marketers in any industry and any size of business. These might give you some thoughts on your own development and style to get better at brand marketing.

Clear and simple communications

It is ironic that one of the outcomes of marketing is clear communication to consumers, but marketers are often not clear communicators themselves. 

Marketing does come with a lot of jargon and buzzwords. These seem designed to confuse the non-marketer. 

Great brand marketers are able to remember that only marketers actually care about the marketing. Consumers care about the benefit your product or service will bring them. You need to be able to articulate this core benefit in a way that’s clear and simple and in consumer language. This means avoiding marketing language creeping into your communications like these overused and jargon-y examples.  

Solutions

We see a lot of companies talking ‘solutions’ in their advertising campaigns. Plumbing solutions to fix your toilet. Financial solutions to sort out your mortgage. Travel solutions to book your holiday. Do consumers really use the word ‘solutions’? Really? Be very careful of using the word solutions in your advertising. A fixed toilet, a better mortgage and a hassle-free holiday. That’s what consumers want to hear.

Connections

Similarly, we don’t believe many consumers talk about making ‘connections’. Unless they are referring to a specific number of social media contacts. But how many brands do you see talking about how they support consumers in making ‘valuable connections’? Again, do real (i.e. non marketing) people actually say this? No.

Vision

And worst of all, those brands that feel compelled to share their ‘vision’ of the world. Maybe if that vision is in a not-for-profit organisation supporting a good cause, it can maybe work. Anything else – banking, chocolate bars, mechanical widgets – it’s just not that interesting to consumers, Please, really, just don’t share it. Nobody is going looking for your brand vision other than you, your agency and your competitors.

Our best advice is to pick someone in your life that you trust but who has nothing to do with marketing. Your mum, dad, significant other, whoever you trust to tell it like it is. And then when you have that great marketing idea or communication plan, go share that idea with them.

We’re pretty sure the words ‘solutions’ or ‘connections’ or ‘visions’ won’t come up.

Sales mindset

It seems like sales and marketing should be a match made in heaven, but in many businesses the sales and marketing functions can often bicker like teenage siblings. One of the best things a marketer can do to develop their career is to spend a few years at least working in the sales function.

We cover a lot more of our view on sales in our e-Commerce skill guide in its own section elsewhere on this site.

If you only ever work in marketing, you can fall into the trap of being a ‘big picture’ marketers who only does ‘strategy’ and sees ‘sales’ as a bit below them. You do not want to be one of those types of marketers. No-one likes them. These type of marketers get focused on advertising and media. But, they will often neglect sales promotion as an activity to delver results. 

Sales activity and promotion brings the brand to life and generates revenue. Without sales, businesses go bust. So yes, by all means spend time to develop your marketing plan. But be sure that you’ve considered sales promotion properly. 

When you work with sales teams, it gives you great focus on delivering actions and results. Their customers and contacts look to them for inspiration and direction. They look to marketing to provide great ideas and answers to their questions. Understanding the needs and wants of your sales team and customers is an important part of your marketing plan. Your ability to bring to life marketing campaigns at the point of purchase can make or break your business.

Engage other parts of the business

Beyond the sales team, you also have to consider how to get the best our of other parts of your business.

If you are in manufacturing, do you understand what are the key drivers and barriers of your operations and supply chain teams? We’ve seen many marketing plans grind to a halt when the factory manager says that installing a vital new machine will take 6 months. Or that a particular production line or warehouse is already running at full capacity. 

If you are in a service industry, have you engaged the front-line staff who talk to customers every day? Your fancy sounding ‘service proposition’ hatched in a workshop with your brand agency in their trendy office might sound like a lot of pretentious guff when it actually makes out to your customer-facing teams.

As a marketer, think through the other connections you have to make within a business.

Try to communicate what you are trying to do in a way that meets THEIR needs as well as your own. The finance team need clarity of reporting and substantiation and evidence about your investment plans. IT teams need to be sure your websites are well protected and tested for faults before they go live. And as for the HR team’s needs … well, to be honest, nobody outside HR really knows what those guys want.

There are obviously MORE things you can do to be a better marketer.

But anyone who is capable of clear and simple communications. Who has a sales mindset that drives dollars in to the business. And who can bring marketing to life to the rest of the business. Well, that marketer is definitely already a level up from a lot of marketers out there.

Photo credit : Miguel Henriques on Unsplash

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