"All humans are marketers. We all have ideas, plans, solutions, art, inventions... and we owe it to our work and to those we wish to serve to get better at communicating the value of those things."
- Stacy Rust
Great marketing rests on an important conversation... not a conversation about ad placement, social media, or design, but a conversation about humans.
Marketing, at its core, is an in-depth look at all the tiny details of what people (namely, customers) want. Marketing is about what we respond to, what we avoid, what draws us in, and what pushes us away. Marketing is about who we are and what drives us.
It's also about attention. It's about knowing how to captivate the right people and knowing how to engage with them in a way that is compelling, honest, and action-oriented. It's about being able to spread an idea, a solution, or a new experience to those who need it most, in the most efficient, authentic, and powerful way.
When most of us think of marketing, what comes to mind is often the worst of the worst (flashing red arrows and the endless ping of unwanted emails). The reason many marketing messages fall flat and feel "sleazy" or "shallow" is they often lack the subtlety and complexity that modern marketing requires. What's missing from most brand strategy is the detail, the science, the psychology, and the nuance.
Getting great work into the hands of more people for the long term requires marketing with depth, finesse, and a true understanding of human beings. What we need is a more precise, comprehensive understanding of those we wish to serve.
To succeed in the marketplace, a company must understand a customer's perspective, needs, preferences, and hesitations.
We all cringe at the idea of being a pushy marketer.... shoving our business cards into the hands of everyone we meet, spamming folks with ads, and pushing people into a purchase they're unsure about.
Promotion that is too aggressive or annoying will send customers running, while timid, vanilla marketing will simply be ignored. But, great marketing strategy alleviates these problems. Better strategy means messaging that flows naturally and a two-way conversation customers can actually participate in (rather than a one-way megaphone).
This is the kind of marketing that customers not only respond to, but also share with their friends, family, coworkers, and even strangers on the internet.
There's a myth floating around the world of marketing that the attention span of the average person is a mere 8 seconds. The belief is that if you don't impress, shock, or otherwise grab the attention of a customer within 8 seconds, then you've lost them to the next, more interesting thing.
But, just as the overwhelm and panic of this "8 Second Rule" sets in, Jerry Seinfeld saves the day with one of his wisest quotes...
"There is no such thing as an attention span. There is only the quality of what you are viewing. This whole idea of an attention span is, I think, a misnomer. People have an infinite attention span if you are entertaining them."
- Jerry Seinfeld
You don’t actually have to fight for customer attention when marketing is done right. Great marketing means less shouting, more engagement, better results, and virtually unlimited attention from the audience.
"Marketing is about learning to think like the customer, understanding who they are and what they want so well that you can bring even their unspoken wishes to life."
One common (and costly) misconception is the belief that a large volume of marketing leads to success. Many popular brands spend all day, every day creating loads of content, publishing articles around the clock, and pumping out a fresh, polished Instagram photo every 3 minutes.
But, more marketing - more ads, more content, and more posts - doesn't necessarily lead to bigger and better results. And, if there are deeper strategy issues, heavy marketing can quickly drain a company's time, energy, and bank account.
Real customer engagement doesn't have to cost that much.
Better messaging, more compelling content, and a carefully crafted strategy is a far more effective way to reach customers.
The most ironic thing about the current marketing situation is... while companies are scrambling to produce more and more content, consumers are drowning in it, trying hard to limit (or even eliminate entirely) the amount of noise.
Better marketing is about capturing and keeping the attention of those you wish to serve. Great marketing is not about creating the largest volume, it's about crafting the best quality and the most leverage.
So, this space online is for those marketing conversations and insights, to discover how to better communicate, serve, and operate our organizations. Here we talk about how to grow a large profit quickly, how to create messages that work, and how to run companies that not only create healthy, rising profits, but that also make a difference in the lives of others.
Get started with Stacy's latest insights and strategies on the blog.
Stacy Rust is a Minneapolis-based marketing strategist, writer, and advisor. From locally-owned shops to multi-million dollar brands, she helps organizations around the globe craft world-class marketing strategy.
With an innovative, in-depth approach to marketing and over a decade of education, research, and on-the-ground experience, Stacy's strategy work allows companies to captivate audiences, grow revenues quickly, and create authentic, powerful marketing messages.
After working in Creative Services at the BBC Worldwide in London, and then as an Account Executive at a private advertising agency in the US, she struck out on her own to provide fresh, unique strategy to business leaders around the world.
Today, Stacy leads her global community of thousands of entrepreneurs, executives, and creatives with new ideas on how to create impactful work that spreads, grow an engaged audience, and develop messages that not only sell products, but create a strong customer relationship that ripples through a market.
Stacy works with large corporations, start-ups, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and non-profit organizations around the globe to create branding, messaging, and outreach campaigns.
Stacy's work allows companies to authentically connect with more customers through detailed brand positioning and customer experiences designed to spread through the market.
She is available for team strategy sessions with organizations of all sizes, and also hosts virtual training programs and workshops.
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