In business, change is certain. Industries advance, technology proliferates, products evolve, customers move on. Things just don’t stay the same.
One thing has not changed. All the change in the business world, if we’re not careful, blinds us. We’re so diligently watching for change, we miss the one constant.
People don’t change.
We don’t sell business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C). We sell person-to-person (P2P).
People may leave you for a competitor, but they have not changed.
All people are tuned to the same station: WII-FM. What’s In It For Me? Imagine that every person’s forehead has a WII-FM tatoo on it.
People make or break our business.
“People want valuable insight, access to great people, and recognition before they want products and services,” says Michael A. Stelzner . If you can keep your eyes fixed on people and their desires, half your mission will be achieved before you begin.”
Traditional marketing doesn’t work the same anymore. Marketers must make educated guesses about people. Traditional marketing works great if the message hits me at the precise time I’m ready to buy.
If I’m not ready to buy, traditional marketing falls on deaf ears, if it even reaches my ears.
Technology allows people to be more skilled at avoiding traditional marketing messages. Caller id, Tivo, mute buttons, voice mail, VCRs, you name it. People use technology to avoid marketing message they’re not ready to hear.
So what are marketers to do? Remember the constant: People. Answer the question: WII-FM? Answer it on the Internet.
Fewer than one in three people trust marketing messages, according to Edelman Digital. Therefore our job is to build trust. If we center our marketing on helping people with their smaller problems, many will seek our help to solve their bigger problems.
We can do that on the Internet two ways:
1. Website: If you don’t have one, get one. If yours isn’t doing what you want it to do, change it to make it do what you want it to do. Perhaps it was designed and written by a technical person who doesn’t’ have a clue about sales, marketing, or what you really do.
2. Website content: Does it give people what they want? Does it answer WII-FM? Are your people on your Website. In preparing this blog, I looked at 10 local Websites. Only one had people’s names and contact information–90% didn’t have the name of a contact person. That’s a disgrace. People buy from people, not Websites or businesses trying to remain anonymous. The message sent is: “We don’t want to be bothered.”
Beyond your Website, I recommend:
- Become visible and acquire a following on the social networks, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and others.
- Publish meaningful, informative, educational, and entertaining content and publicize it on the social networks, by directing people back to your blog or Website.
- Establish trust by becoming a helping authority. Fill your content with problem-solving, non-marketing information that people can really use. If your content helps them become more informed, helps them solve a tiny problem, satisfies their curiosity, they are likely to think of you when they’re ready to buy.
I had an experience that illustrates marketing that pulls customers in. I bought a magnolia tree from a bargain garden center, planted it, and after a couple of years it was still puny and about die.
Drawn in by their pull marketing, I was at Bates Nursery and Garden Center in Nashville-not the cheapest place to buy plants-looking around. A woman approached me and asked if I needed help finding anything. I said I was just looking around, but casually asked if they had anybody who could tell me anything about nursing a sick tree. She said she’d find somebody to help me.
Shortly a man came over sat down on a bench with me and asked me to describe my problem. I did. After listening carefully, he recommend a few things I could do. I thanked him, went home without buying anything, did as he suggested, and this morning I’m looking out my window at a healthy magnolia tree with beautiful white blossoms.
Not only does Bates provide this kind of information on site, they have an informative Website, they Tweet, they are on Facebook, have a weekly radio call-in show to answer people’s gardening questions. I’m a fan. I follow on Twitter (@batesnursery), and I buy my plants from Bates, because they help me solve my problems, not just sell me plants.
I’m constantly asking WII-FM? Just like you and everyone else.
People buy what they want, when they want it. And they buy from people. Always have. Always will.