KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
The Oscars will be handed out soon, and it's a perfect time to keep this in mind: If you're a business owner or manager, it's wise to think of yourself as a great film director who's telling a story. Having directed films, stage, television, and stage productions we noticed that the principles of great directing or filmmaking apply exactly to great marketing.
OK, so you don't need the baseball cap or the megaphone like a film director. But in order to attract the right "audience," you do need to communicate something critical ? the talents and services of your company. And, you need to connect with your audience ? so they will appreciate what you have to offer.
Think about it: When you're positioning your company, you'll craft an intriguing 'script' which you know as 'promotional messages'. You're conveying the fact that you offer something of interest, you do it well, you've hired the best talent (even if Tom Cruise isn't available) and really connect emotionally with those who need your services.
In great drama, you want to evoke emotions and meaningful reactions in your audience to make them laugh or cry. In great marketing communications, you want your audience to buy. They won't, if they feel there is no compelling reason . . . just as they won't cry watching a film if the heroine dies and they simply don't relate to her - or if they're emotionally conflicted or confused.
CREATE THE BUZZ
Now consider the last film you absolutely loved. It gripped you, didn't it? You wanted to tell all your friends about it, because it had such an intriguing affect on you, right? In marketing, it's all about creating that "buzz" - you want to evoke that reaction in your audience (or target market) through your marketing materials, your print ads, TV commercials, presentations, networking, and of course ? by doing great work, which offers lots of value!
In a film, the director carefully builds and develops each character so the audience can get to know her, to laugh with her or feel her pain, and to understand how she acts and reacts. In marketing, it's all about reaction - you want your audience to grow with you, to feel connected, and to relate to and trust in you. And you especially want them to learn about the enormously useful solutions you offer.
But, first you have to understand your audience. And that requires that you have in-depth knowledge of your existing clientele. In that way, you can attract more clients like the ones you already have and cherish, and enjoy helping.
FINDING YOUR IDEAL MARKET
We recommend a method for truly understanding your clients, and finding out what they value in the work you provide-having a third party interview them-but only one highly experienced in marketing interviews. When you fully understand what makes your clients tick (and more importantly, what they love ? or don't love -- about doing business with you), you can promote those qualities to other potential markets.
In this investigative work many wonderful surprises emerge. You might find that your clients need other services you could offer, or that you are undervaluing your services and could easily raise your prices (this is actually a very common discovery). Also, you might find that a simple change to your invoice system would make everyone much happier - your "audience" will laugh instead of cry. Or, you might learn that even though you believe you offer lightning-fast response time, your clients don't perceive it that way. From this information, you can often make improvements that lead to significantly more income.
Generally, your clients won't share this information directly. Most humans want to please others, and steer clear of offering suggestions that might provoke an uncomfortable or unwelcome response. And sometimes clients are fearful of hurting your feelings. While this is understandable, you might be missing some valuable lessons your clients are dying to share with you, that could benefit your business enormously. Or maybe they just need some prompting to think more deeply about the real value your business offers so they can share that with you.
BREAK FROM HO-HUM MARKETING ? IT'S TOO BORING!
Using the "great films as marketing" metaphor, think about how many classic films have taken radical departures from the ordinary ? from "Schindler's List" to "The Wizard of Oz" to "Gone With the Wind." These movies were huge attention-getters in their day, and became major cultural influences. Don't you want your work to be recognized as a significant influence, too?
Once you break from ho-hum marketing, and learn to put your deeper beliefs and values into your promotion, a remarkable thing will happen: You will attract precisely those clients who really need and appreciate the products or services your company provides. In other words ? once you know what your clients really value, making it available to them will be an incredibly simple process.
We firmly believe: "Knowledge is Bliss."
MARKETING IS AN INVESTMENT. SPEND IT WISELY.
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Allison Bliss Consulting, the creator of "Marketing as a Spiritual Practice" method, rebels against misleading, pushy, spam-filled marketing offering Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurs an integrated range of do-it-yourself marketing products & customized marketing strategy, plans, promotional materials, websites, and hands-on services.
Having studied with Frances Ford Coppola and other film greats, Bliss is a member of the Directors Guild of America where she crafted hundreds of films, tv shows, and commercials. She moved into marketing to help worthy businesses get noticed, and because she figured they needed her help more than Hollywood did. Her website offers tools to make marketing idiot-proof for under $20