This article came about from a Twitter conversation I had which went like this:
@RichardFallonUK: Marketing, ultimately, is about making a connection with your target market. Then once established maintaining that connection.
@StuJordan7: surely the ultimate aim of marketing is to create a desired reaction rather than just a connection?
@RichardFallonUK: Reaction implies something fleeting if you need to build confidence with prospects then you need to make a connection.
@StuJordan7: but what is the point of engagement with no end reaction? It’s an important step but it’s not the ultimate aim of marketing
@RichardFallonUK: Interesting chat. I’ll get back to you in a blog post.
This is the post as promised.
This conversation raised an interesting point- what are you aiming for in your marketing?
My point was that I think you are aiming to create and maintain a connection in marketing. A connection helps establish trust and confidence in your marketing messages, your offering, your business and you. When your prospect buys then you maintain the connection so they come back to you again and again. Most lost clients have gone missing because they have simply forgotten about you (i.e. the connection was not maintained).
I think Stuart’s point was that you want a reaction, i.e. for prospects to buy. Yes, you do want people to take action and buy but often this requires creating a connection beforehand and then maintaining it. In low investment cases this is not needed, for example, you walk past a new restaurant and decide to give it a try.
But what happens when you need a professional service provider for you or your company? You need to know that they will do a good job- especially given your time and cost investment. What can these professionals do to convince you?
Say, as an accountant, consultant or solicitor, you want to win business from more affluent clients. In this situation, you must make a connection before you will win them as a client. Most affluent people are very careful about choosing their trusted advisors and they will almost always go with the firm or individual that they have the most confidence in. It takes a connection to build and foster confidence.
Once you have them as a client, you must continue your marketing and delivery to maintain a strong connection and stop them being poached by competitors who are itching to get seize any opportunity. The rule is- if you have enviable clients then your competitors are just waiting for you to drop the ball… and many companies will.
There is a danger, which I think Stuart was alluding to, where you make a connection but don’t utilise it or make a sale. This scenario occurs most often in business networking and on social media. Let’s have a quick look at both of these traps:
Many people network and make connections through networking events or groups. The issue is that these might be social rather than business connections. There are numerous networking events which are more social than business focused. It is easy to fall into this trap- you think you are forging business relationships which will lead to work when in fact you’re just having a pleasant chat over lunch or a glass of wine.
Also, the people you meet at networking events are also looking for business so unless you want to create a mutually beneficial relationship with them, then it isn’t going to work.
People often link with or follow you on social media who have little or no interest in you or your products or services. They are simply looking to expand their network. We all get numerous invites to link on LinkedIn from people we don’t know who are solely looking to grow their network.
It takes a long time to establish a good connection on social media and even when you do this does not necessarily lead to business. I have many international connections who I exchange ideas with but would not necessarily work with.
The advantage of social media is you can reach many people at once while also keeping in front of your prospects and clients. It is also a great way to get your content in front of existing clients and potential new ones. Content breeds confidence and can help cement connections.
Marketing must help you get sales (e.g. a buying reaction) but it must also foster and maintain your connections so your clients don’t wander off.