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Tom Marin

Building Brands

By Tom Marin

About Tom

Tom Marin is the managing partner of MarketCues.com and provides corporate and brand strategy to organizations of all sizes. He has an extensive background in the graphic arts, printing, publishing and media industries. Marin is an accredited member of the national and international chapters of the Business Marketing Assn., is a (CBC) certified business communicator and a past marketing chair of the Chicago chapter.

 

The Worst Mistake a Marketer Can Make

 
Everyone knows that you have to brand yourself and your company in a way that brings out the unique you. That’s the biggest question I think a marketer can ask: “What makes me so unique in my marketplace that everyone in it will agree with me and tell others who may need to know?”

With that context, the biggest mistake marketers can make is to think their customers are somehow stupid...or undiscerning...or naïve about their products and services.

Now you might say, “We would never do that or think that.” And I would reply, “Are you sure?”

What about that product you sent out the door knowing it needed serious updates and improvements? Or the trade show you attended with last year’s products and services to show and nothing new to present? Or the specific services you presented that deep down yo had to admit you knew little to nothing about? Did you really think that your customers wouldn’t notice or care?

If you did, you were wrong. Brand valuation is mostly based upon a trust that the marketer has built up by consistently delivering on its brand’s promises.

These are tough questions to resolve, I know, and it may come across as a slap in the face. If it does, then make something good come from it. Do something about it. Let’s fix what’s broken or missing. And once that’s done, let’s get back to work with something new and innovative before someone starts talking about what’s not right, not true, not believable, not sustainable and, worse of all, not marketable.

When companies do nothing, they tend to go out of business. Just think about companies that used to be in your marketplace that are no longer there. In my experience, it’s because they ignored their customers and did what was financially profitable on a short-term basis—ignoring the long-term consequences.

So, here are a few proactive things you can do to market your brand once its internal difficulties have been resolved:

Make your story personal.—B2B buyers are looking for real, credible answers to their specific challenges. If you are willing to divulge how the product works using your personal examples, you will create a welcoming message that is rare in the crowded B2B market.

Use a personal touch.—Write personal e-mails instead of sending generic e-mails to gigantic lists. Connect with your prospective customers on as many human levels as you can. Go to their trade shows. Attend their conferences. Share meals with their executives. In other words, go the extra personal miles.

Be relevant by sharing relevant information.—Share information that you know your prospects will find useful to their specific businesses. Rather than send tons of information that is generally useful, send a few slices of focused content that will help them make critical decisions.

Be timely.—Get to know your prospective customer’s schedule so that when you e-mail him/her it arrives at a point that is in sync with their decision-making.

Leverage Web analytic tools.—Knowing what keywords and key phrases are most important to your prospects will help you understand how best to serve them on your Website. That will help you talk about issues that are most important to them. See the world as they see it, from their perspective, and provide the solutions they need to enhance that world.

Market your best; lose your worst.—Corporations often hold onto older products and services to the detriment of their newer ones. It’s tough to kill off a deteriorating or mature leading brand, but it’s often required to make room for a newer, lesser-known brand. Having a stable of strong brands, with no weak links, will build the best overall brand image in your marketplace. And your intelligent customers will reward you by both purchasing them and telling others about them. And there’s nothing stupid about that.

Tom Wants to Hear Your Branding Issues:
If you are a printing company, or product/services company serving the industry, and would like to be considered for a feature in this blog, please contact Tom Marin for an interview.

Follow MarketCues on Twitter for branding and social media tips, as well as the latest trends. Tom also welcomes emails, new LinkedIn connections, calls to 407.330.7708 or visit www.marketcues.com. How can he help solve your branding issues?
 

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