Why do some marketing work and others don’t?
What constitutes an effective marketing strategy?
How can you get the most from your marketing efforts?
These questions and many more run through the mind of entrepreneurs as they struggle to build a thriving business. And the reason is quite clear; marketing is the lifeblood of any business.
If you get your marketing right, your odds of success in business will be greatly improved.
But why do many struggle to get their marketing right?
This is the central focus of this unusual article. You will learn the 3 essential ‘Ms’ that constitute a winning marketing strategy.
The 3M’s Of Highly Effective Marketing
What is your story?
The foundation of highly effective marketing is storytelling. The best marketers are storytellers. At the core of effective marketing is a strong message. This is why marketing is often referred to as communication. Because there’s a message that needs to be communicated to the target audience.
This message is the goodness [value] your product/service brings into the life of the target customer. Without this message, there can be no marketing!
This is contrary to what many entrepreneurs would like to admit. Many entrepreneurs often think the core of an effective marketing is the product/service. This is somewhat true, but more true is the story or message or idea behind the product/service.
People don’t form emotional bonds with products/service; they form emotional bonds with a story, message or idea. That is, the eventual outcome or benefit that accrues from using the product or service. If your story, message or idea is compelling and relevant enough, the product/service will naturally sell itself.
This is why Apple is one of the greatest marketing companies ever. They have a very compelling message that drives every product/service they offer; “challenging the status quo”.
Apple’s products/services are designed to challenge existing norms, beliefs and standards. They create products that disrupt the existing market. This message is at the core of everything they do as a company and is communicated through out their marketing. Their business is creating products/services that appeal to a tribe of ‘weirdos’ – people who are unusually different.
From their product development phase, they have created a secret cult that prevents the market from knowing about the next product until it launches. This further reinforces their message of “challenging the status quo” as it clearly communicates to the market that their products are not for the average Joe.
Only those who dare to be different fit the profile of Apple’s ideal target market.
What does this tell you?
Behind the product lies a message, story or idea that gives the product or service a meaning customers can relate with. That you have created the best product in your industry or niche isn’t going to make the customers beat a path to your door. No!
Customers identify first with a message, story or idea before making the decision to buy a product/service. Their decision to buy is an outward reinforcement of their inward attachment to the message, story or idea behind the product/service.
Here’s how this works; we are essentially emotional beings more than we like to think of ourselves as rational beings. People buy based on feelings [emotions] and justify with reasons [logic]. Meaning, the first question in the mind of every buyer is ‘why?’
Why should I buy this?
Why should I buy from you?
Why should I trust you?
Why should I do this or do that?
Contrary to what you think, customers don’t begin their buying process by asking ‘what?’, they begin with ‘why?’. Highly effective marketing begins with asking and answering this question; “why do customers buy?”
The best answer to that question is a compelling message, story or idea that will communicate value, trust and relevance. Give people something they can connect with, relate to and emotionally identify with, and you’ve won their heart over.
So here’s how to start creating a highly effective marketing strategy –craft a compelling message, story or idea around the product/service you’re offering for sell.
What is your story?
What cause are you fighting?
What are you fighting for or against?
To what purpose does your business exist?
What is the big picture behind your product or service?
Why should people bother or care about your company?
What problem is your business solving for humanity?
What contribution are you making through your business, product or service?
What is your BIG ‘why’ for being in business?
What gospel [goodnews] is your business spreading?
Finding answers to those questions is how you create a compelling message, story or idea for your marketing strategy. You have to answer the ‘why?’ question before the ‘what?’ question.
The second ‘M’ of highly effective marketing is Medium – how do you get your message out? It is not enough to have a compelling message, story or idea if it’s not being heard by the right people.
For your marketing to work, your compelling message has to be shared to the right audience via the right medium.
This is where medium comes into play. How do you get the word out? Through what channels are you going to disseminate your message, story or idea?
Most times, the message is right but the medium is wrong. For example, trying to sell a particular product/service to a bunch of uneducated people through a blog or website is highly ineffective. Meaning, your message won’t be understood however compelling it might be.
So you’ve got to use the right avenues to spread your message to your target audience. This is where advertising agencies and media houses excel. They help you identify the right medium to disseminate your marketing message.
What are the different marketing mediums available?
They are essentially classified into two parts;
- Print media: all forms of spreading your message in print forms such as newspaper ads, newsletters, handbills, billboards, books, magazines, brochures, catalogs, complementary cards, posters/flyers, stickers, branded clothing, souvenirs/gift items etc.
- Electronic media: all forms of spreading your message electronically such as online, TV, radio, audios, videos, mobile, etc.
The most important factor to consider when it comes to choosing a medium for your marketing is its relevance to your target market. You must identify the relevant medium for your target market. Failure to do this is failure in your marketing.
The third ‘M’ of highly effective marketing is the messenger. The message and the medium are incomplete without the messenger. The messenger is the face of the brand. This is why most marketing campaigns use celebrities or other known public figures.
Other than the message, story or idea, people also connect with people they admire. Successful marketing must involve the effective use of a strong personality. As an entrepreneur, you are the first brand ambassador of your company, product or service. You are the face that must win the confidence of your target market.
For Apple, the strong personality of Steve Jobs was one of their most effective marketing strategies. Steve was eccentric [weird] and nothing could be more fitting to their message of “challenging the status quo” than having an unusual leader.
He was the face of Apple. People connected with his personal philosophy of life, they bought into his message of daring to be different. And it worked!
For some other companies like Nike; they are known to always use highly successful athletes as their brand ambassadors. This further reinforces their core marketing message of “competitiveness” which comes from their brand name Nike – the greek goddess of victory.
So what does this tell you?
A message becomes more compelling when connected to a person. People form emotional bonds with other people and this is the secret behind the messenger strategy.
Personal branding as a form of marketing originated from the messenger strategy. The more a person can be connected to a message, story or idea, the more compelling and sticky the message becomes.
So here’s the takeaway; give your message a face!
And for startup entrepreneurs who do not have so much marketing budget, no other person fits this position better other than you the entrepreneur. You’ve got to back up your company, product, service and brand relentlessly.
The faith you have in your message, story or idea will become contagious the more you boldly communicate that message to your target audience both in words and in deeds.
So stop expecting others especially your salespeople to do all the selling. This is your business and the success rests more on your courage to face the world and boldly declare what you stand for!
What do you think about these 3M’s of highly effective marketing? Do you find them necessary? Have you noticed them in application? Are there any other ‘M’ I forgot to mention? How do you intend to put them to use in your business?
Use the comment box below to share your thoughts on this unusual article.
Over to the comments!
Spot on as usual. The “Why?” reminds me quite a bit of Jim Collins Hedgehog Concept in “Good To Great”, specifically the importance of defining what you are deeply passionate about.
Your Apple example was perfect for exemplifying a messenger. Richard Branson also comes to mind. One key point here is the importance of having substance behind the marketing. Both Apple and Virgin have the meat to back up their marketing, many companies/products do not.
Good of you to have stopped by here to share this thoughts again. I know how super busy you are lately and really appreciate this, a lot!
Brandson and Jobs, are two of a kind. Rarely have I seen an entrepreneur like them who exhume so much passion for what they are doing and the message they stand for.
This bold move to die for what you believe in is what has taken their brands to such great heights.
And the hedgehog concept too was a great addition here John. You can only keep on turning the wheel only if you got the will. Without a deep seated will [passion] in no time, your patience will run out. And this is why, everything rises and falls on purpose. What got you into the game in the first place? Find it, and run with it!
Good article and a timely reminder to review my story to make sure it still makes sense. Of the three factors you mention, I think story is most important.
Thanks Charleen. I agree with you that the story is the most important of the three. Without it, all other two Ms are meaningless.
I appreciate your stopping by here!
if the messenger is unreliable, it could spoil the reception of the message. i think we need to invest more in our personal trust ratings…
True words here Jovie!
That’s why as an entrepreneur before you get out their to sell, ask yourself this simple question; if I were the customer will I buy from myself?
Character is what you sell first before your product/service. Personal branding is all about character and without it, as a messenger your message won’t spread!
How do you do it. This is a thought provoking article, it makes you look into your reason for being in business. It forces you to tweek some of your strategies. My only complaint is the lack of infomation under the Medium section. For example, a list specifically detailing mediums that are available and affordable would have been super.
Very keen observation you pointed out here, I guess the list of medium to use these days are continually evolving, especially since the advent of social media.
Essentially, it is still one of the most cost effective mediums to spread your message or brand story. So stay tuned, I should be doing some justice to that very soon!
Once again, thanks for an insightful comment.
Very useful information….thank you I have learn the importance of messenger and how it helps building ones business as a young entrepreneur, branding oneself to match the product/service….however with this in mind a story is very important to complete the image/message!! So useful thank you!!