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Stripping marketing back to basics

Marketing, advertising, exposure, promotion. It’s all the same thing. Selling your business and communicating your products or services all come down to some very basic foundational principles.

In light of our latest Behind the Madness podcast episode, let’s look at the fundamentals of marketing. James and Jamie discuss the simplicity of marketing and unravel some very un-complex concepts to consider within its world of overcomplication.

Strip it back to its core fundamentals, and marketing is very easy to understand. That’s not to say the workload that comes with marketing a business isn’t a hefty one, but the very concept of marketing isn’t a complete enigma. Many people get confused as to what marketing really is, at its core. Or they forget the point of marketing, the ‘why’ of their methods. That’s probably because there’s a lot of overcomplication of marketing theory, with flowery marketing jargon being chucked around like confetti, with marketing help guides offering loads of new revolutionary marketing models that promise to get you sales overnight.

In all honesty, there’s quite a lot of pointless and unhelpful information about marketing out there. Marketing giants are constantly looking for new ways to theorise marketing to be the newest and trendiest by pulling in all the latest technologies and current trends in the attempt to theorise marketing in new ways. And yes, marketing models do have some gravity, and different concepts can be applied to your business. But transparently, it always comes down to the same simple principles.

Marketing isn’t that complicated at all, and it’s easy to get wrapped up in complex marketing theories and techniques. Because it’s something that’s been done over and over again - it’s understandable that people are looking for new ways to swap it up. But why change what already works?

‘Sell me this pen’

Ever watched The Wolf of Wall Street? If yes, then you’ll be familiar with the scene in which Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jordan Belfort asks his colleague Brad ‘Sell me this pen,’ whilst handing him an ordinary, bog-standard pen. The rest of the scene goes a little like this:

Brad: Do me a favour, and write your name down on that napkin.

Jordan: With what? I don’t have a pen.

Brad: Exactly! Supply and demand bro.

And it’s just like that. Marketing is selling something that your audience needs or desires. It’s firstly about identifying your buyer persona and analysing the kind of person that is going to buy your product. Then you sell an ideal, a scenario in which their life will be improved if they invest into your product or service.

So yes, the concept of marketing simple. But that’s not to say that it doesn’t require any tactic or planning at all – it’s just simple common sense. As we hear in the podcast, James and Jamie touch on these basic principles of marketing: segment, target, position. Segmenting your audience, targeting your audience, and positioning your content at them in a way that will really grasp their attention.

‘If you try and attract everyone, you attract no one’

Remember, marketing to the masses will never get you anywhere. Niche your marketing to suit your exact customer. Trying to please everyone won’t please anyone at all - so always accept that your marketing won’t work on everyone. Marketing is about finding that sweet spot, and exhibiting your products or services innovatively that will really speak to your desired customer.

The ‘why’ and the ‘how’ will always stay the same, but the ‘where’ is versatile, depending on your audience. If you’re marketing to an older audience, you’d market respectively to an older age bracket with a higher income, bearing in mind that your audience are more likely to use laptops or tablets to shop. And if you’re marketing to a younger audience with a disposable income, you’d market using social selling, in handheld smartphone formats.

Really getting to know your buyer persona is the fundamental part to all of this, because knowing your customer allows you to tactfully mould your marketing content and styles, allowing you to really ‘speak their language.’ You can then target your content after finding this ‘low hanging fruit’, and make it unique to your brand and business.

Let’s take our own in-house content, for example. Our content is designed to be entertaining (we think it is anyway) and is totally unique to the Method brand and way of working. Allowing your brand to shine through in your content is what makes people want to buy from you - revealing your brand’s ethos, values and attitudes through content is invaluable, and helps to segregate your brand from other businesses, by adding memorable value.  

Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth

And then of course, there’s good, old-fashioned word of mouth. And perhaps one of the most interesting (and potentially frustrating) marketing concepts - is not marketing your business at all. Jamie brings up the example that Five Guys don’t spend any money on their advertising. The charm of Five Guys is all about stripping back all of the flowery marketing and focussing the brand on the experience of eating their food itself. Even their shop interiors are simple, basic, and stripped back to a regular fast-food-kitchen-esque style. Five Guys simply relies on the experiential marketing; for someone to taste one of their burgers and then pass on their positive experience via word of mouth.

It’s simple, it’s old school. And it works. Word of mouth is the most organic marketing method ever - because it simply relies on the effectiveness of your product. Encourage reviews and customer feedback, so that you can manipulate this into your marketing methods. 

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