branding and communications
We're all selling something. A product, a service, an idea, an ideal or even yourself. Yet what you're offering is not like selling packets of potato chips and requires more attention than general consumer marketing. We may well be inspired by many of the same communication tools used in consumer marketing but that's where the similarity ends. Here's 11 lightning-fast reasons why ...
Difference #1: marcom begins on the inside
A myriad of people from within your organisation/institution - not just the marketing people - will interact with your target market. All of those people need to understand your brand, live your brand and deliver your brand every day. Your brand reflects your organisation's identity. The job of marcom is to first market internally, to align the team and to create brand ambassadors.
Difference #2: brands are important
Brands (while not always as well known outside of their target market) are extremely important to decision makers. First impressions largely form the perceptions of your organisation/institution, therefore it is important to get your branding right as this if often the first visual element your target market will see. Consistent branding helps your decision makers answer questions such as "Can I believe in this institution/organisation? Can I trust them? Will they deliver what they promise?"
Difference #3: your products and services are usually more complex
Your products and services are typically complex and sophisticated. Many of the benefits of what your organisation/institution has on offer are not obvious. Your marcoms needs to take the intangible, the subtle and the intricate, and make it clear, understandable and persuasive.
Difference #4: your markets have longer decision cycles
Your target market's decision cycle is a longer process, often lasting several months or longer. Marketing to your decision makers requires a different approach, depending on what stage of the decision cycle your prospect is in.
Difference #5: your selling propositions are more complex
Your propositions are sophisticated offers that must present value-based solutions that support rational and emotional decisions. You can get attention with gimmicks, but that won't sway the decision. Complex differences must be articulated and the messages delivered through well conceived and compelling communication strategies.
Difference #6: emotions are different
Your marcom is not 'emotionless'. While your target market is not generally motivated by impulse or status, different emotional motivators apply. For example, the fear of making the wrong decision, the level of confidence, the level of trust established in your staff are all real emotional motivators in your market.
Difference #7: your decision makers do more research
The risk of making a bad purchasing decision is high for your prospects. The answer is research. In 2007, Forrester Research showed that over 90 percent of purchasing decisions begin online. But decision makers will usually seek the views of opinion leaders in their community, evaluate references and research alternatives.
Difference #8: your marketers have less research data
If you're Nestlé or Unilever, you don't put a product on the shelf until you've spent millions to know that it will be successful. Very few schools or not-for-profit organisations enjoy that luxury. Money may go into research and general management but little gets spent on market research. This makes success a lot more dependent on the savvy of the experienced marketer.
Difference #9: you deal with more people in the process
There is usually more than one person influencing your prospect's decision. Often there are many. You must identify and then reach multiple people across different levels of your target market. Usually this will mean tailoring messages to resonate with each individual's interests and concerns.
Difference #10: personal contacts make your sales
Your marketing usually doesn't happen through tightly controlled, highly crafted communications like television commercials or other mass media. One-to-one relationship building, through personal interaction, demands sophisticated marcom management and educated, knowledgeable staff whose words and actions are aligned with corporate brand objectives.
Difference #11: outsiders have a significant influence in the decision making
Your prospects often look outside their immediate community to third party influencers for opinions, insight, consultation or referrals. Your staff must market to and through industry experts, trade shows, trade publications, peer organisations, and other third party channels.
Contact imageseven for an introductory consultation to discuss your organisation's goals and how marcom help you get there.