Spring cleaning for marketers

grass and beautiful narcissus

The weather outside my office window is glorious – mild, bright, sunny – and it’s having a positive effect. The daffodils are in full bloom, optimisim is in the air and people are  outside, desperate to bid farewell to the long and wet winter.

In springtime we have campaigns to roll-out and need to match the energy and vigour of that new growth outside our offices. So how can we be sure that our diligent planning over the winter months will pay off? What does a spring clean for marketers look like? Let’s be inspired by the high street:

1. Edit the shop window – for most of us our shop window is our web site, the first place a potential buyer (87% of them already do this) will go to see if we have anything in the store that attracts them in. If the window is cluttered with our expertise and stuff (because we are rather fond of showing off expertise. It’s a badge of honour we need to uphold!) rather than carefully edited to give a taster, then we miss an opportunity to help our ‘shopper’ make a decision to meet. It is missed opportunity number one to draw someone in.

2. Signpost – once we attract buyers into our shop (or in our world, our offices for that initial conversation) how do we translate interest into finding out what the buyer is looking for, then signpost how we can help? In a retail environment, products are organised into types or colours or by the kind of people they are designed for eg for children, for women, and visual signs are given to match person to product. In business, we need to identify needs, then verbally and visually signpost the kinds of solutions that could be the perfect fit. For example, this can take the form of matching services clearly to needs that we identify, or through colour coding or signing routes in our marketing materials. Or it could be majoring on the ‘why us’ rather than the ‘what’, which is sadly too common in b2b. If you are not signposting, you miss opportunity number two to match need to you.

3. Language matters – using regular, everyday words always works better than fancy ones. We don’t complicate our conversations at home or the pub with lots of jargon or elaborate latin words, so why do it in business communications? Think about the tone as well. Making ourselves friendly and approachable is the goal, rather than distant and corporate. So if you don’t pass the plain English test, you miss opportunity number three.

4. Tune in – understanding how people work is a must but not always practiced. Today I went to a meeting about a new proposition launch. The sponsor is a partner, very clever and highly technical and his clients buy him. What I noticed about his approach though is that he instinctively gets the importance of also understanding human behaviour and using that knowledge to get someone interested in our new proposition. What is his secret? He enthuses about the project – he is two parts passion, to one part expertise – in explaining why this new solution is the “bees knees”. And his passion catches on. We listen. We believe. We want some of what he is selling. So if you are lacking passion in your approaches, you miss opportunity number four to engage.

So these are my tips for spring cleaning our businesses as well as our homes. Have you a tip to share?

About Terri Lucas

Partner and Director of Marketing Strategy @hymansrobertson. Frustrated by lack of innovation and creativity in B2B marketing. Passionate about changing that. Otherwise I am a snapper, book worm, foodie, music lover and traveler. These views are my own.
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