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We’ve officially entered the era of selfless marketing. It’s not about you anymore.  It’s about them.  “Them” are your customers.  In today’s marketing world, it’s no longer okay to just push messages out through traditional marketing techniques like TV and newspaper advertising.  Today’s savvy marketers don’t talk at people, they talk with them, which implies a two-way dialogue. 

For traditional marketers this is a scary proposition.  They are no longer in control of the message.  They no longer control when people hear about them because they are under the spotlight 24/7.  Customers can react and respond in real time. It’s no longer about reach. It’s about creating loyal, passionate fans (see Brand like a rock star) through a great customer experience.

The key to selfless marketing is to go where your customers go. According to the Pew Research Center, 74% of adults in North America are using social networking sites, including 82% of 30-49 year olds.  More importantly for businesses, Digitas predicts that the growth of social commerce could reach $30 billion by the end of 2017.  To further add to the argument for socializing your marketing, a Social Media Examiner poll found that 92% of respondents said social media marketing is important to their business.

Social media has opened up a myriad of ways to connect with customers.  The world shifts when you put your customer first. To be successful in this milieu, companies should look out at this world through a window rather than through a mirror. 

Know your audience

Going selfless means you need to really know your customers. Your audience is not homogenous, but is made up of people with unique attributes and needs.  Developing audience personas helps make these difference real. This requires thinking not about your products but about how your customers live in the world.  Are they small business owners who have small children?  How can you make their lives easier?  What’s important to them?  How are you servicing their diversity?

Create unique content

One way to create unique content is to combine research with your own insights on customer issues.  This shows you’ve done your homework and that you really know your customers, both of which set you apart from your competitors.  You also position yourself as a thought leader in your industry which builds trust and credibility.

Don’t tell, show

Instead of talking about your product features, show your value proposition through the eyes of your customers.  When you tell the story of your company based on your customers’ desires you demonstrate the connection between your brand and the lives of your customers. It may be hard to do at first, but remove promotional messages from your content and create stories centered on your audience.

Choose the story before the channel

Don’t focus on 140 Twitter characters.  Craft the story you want to tell and map it to your customers’ experience with your brand. Make sure your content is purpose-driven.  What is the key message you want readers to take away? Once you’ve perfected the story you can repurpose it for the unique attributes of each channel.

Use your strategy to differentiate your brand

With selfless marketing, your products and services are no longer what set you apart. Rather, your marketing approach and the experiences you create make your message relevant and authentic.  You can’t just talk about creating value with products anymore. You have to show your customers living it.

If you’re wondering how to get started, Andrew Mccarthy (500 Social Media Marketing Tips) lists seven considerations for your social media marketing efforts:

  1. Assess which social networks will work best for you
  2. Define and assess your goals
  3. Perform an audit to help shape your content strategy
  4. Drop old-style communication methods and get social
  5. Humanize your brand and be emotive
  6. Don’t over-promote: build relationships and provide value
  7. Consistently post high quality content

 

 Do you know your customers? What story are they telling you?

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