Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Importance of A First Date (in Marketing)

Marketing materials - whether they are your website, brochure, print ad, or facebook page all serve the same purpose: a “first date” between your company and a potential customer. The interactions should be comfortable, informative, and encourage consumers to want know more or, better still, to commit to the relationship by purchasing products or services.

Like dating, marketing materials can suffer from a bad first date. However, unlike dating, when things go wrong with the marketing message, it really is “you” and not the customer with the problem. Here are common tactics that can ruin that first experience.

Bragging - while it's a great to be proud of your company and it's products, it is not OK to go on an on about it on at first contact. Text heavy marketing materials are almost never read - they are too much work.

Self-involved - these communications focus on the company perspective of what it thinks is important instead of how the product/service will benefit the customer. Marketing communications must clearly define benefits to the customer to be effective.

Introverted - the opposite of the above, these tactics say too little about the company, products or services. This seems to be a tactic reserved for small businesses who often follow the, “build it and they will come” marketing model. With no dialogue it is even harder to start a relationship with customers.

The best dates, like the best marketing, are smart, thoughtful and concise. Suitors demonstrate an understanding of their dates, contextualizing benefits and encouraging meaningful dialogue. Make sure first dates with your company encourage long-lasting relationships.

If I were to have a first date with your product, how would it go? Does it clearly tell me how it would be useful in my life? Encourage me find out a bit more? Solicit my feedback for improvements?

For anyone interested in an evaluation of their marketing content or collateral, please contact me via the comments board. I’d love to hear from you.

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