Marketing is changing. And the approach that we’ve commonly used no longer keeps up with this shift. In the old days, our marketing mix was ruled by Jerome McCarthy’s 4 Ps: Product, Price, Place, Promotion. Now we need to focus on the human side and rather follow another model that we believe to be more consumer-centric - the 4Cs developed by Robert Lauterborn: Consumer, Cost, Convenience and Communication. These should be the bases of every marketing strategy. But what differs between the two?

Consumer vs Product

You shouldn’t focus on the product you want to sell, but rather on what the consumer wants, entirely. This should be what guides your product launch and marketing decisions.

Cost vs Price

The value of a product is no longer about the price itself. Instead, we should think: what is the cost for the customer that might buy that product? – where by cost we mean the intrinsic value that the consumer attaches to the acquisition of such product or service.

Convenience vs Place

The fixed place no longer exists - it’s all about convenience, availability at the right time and in the right environment. Can I buy the product online? Whenever and wherever I want?

Communication vs Promotion

Forget hard promotion. It’s manipulative and well, people skip advertising anytime they can. The way to go is through human and contextual communication and this requires a game of give and take between the buyer and the seller, to foster an interactive (and positive) relation with the consumer.

So, based on this new focus and values, how can we define an intelligent marketing strategy in 10 steps to answer the above challenges?

1) More Isn’t Always Better

Don’t communicate just when you want too, just based on your agenda. Consumers need to feel that the brand is about them, created around them. Become customer-centric and avoid a brand-centric behavior. Your editorial plan should be organic, your strategy emotionally-based and with a short-term view. Create a bond with your consumer in a simple way, select the key touch points and communicate during these, not all the time. Analyze your target and figure out when communicating makes real sense - less is more.

2) Key Content Dimensions

There are two factors in the relation: the brand and the consumer. The brand is focused on Whom, How and Why. The consumer is focused on What, When and Where. Create a clear content strategy: objective, consistent, focused and humanized. Remember to always deliver the right content in the right channel to the right audience.

3) DNA Targeting

Forget about the old segmentation and a psycho-social approach. Age, location, gender and economics don’t matter anymore. Use, for instance, the Proto Personas method and a deep human approach. Focus on motivations, secret passions and context. Use an outside-in research methodology and disruptive segmentation research. You might even need to create a one-to-one storytelling so that each customer feels he/she’s the one and only.

4) Personalization

Know your audience! Create content that’s consumer-oriented. Use the wow factor and match a relevant offer with a relevant need. You can’t choke the customers with too much information, or they will cut the relation. When you surprise the customer, he will feel understood. Personalization shows that a brand cares about consumer needs and increases loyalty and conversion.

5) We Are All Influencers

Don’t simply follow the traditional influencer choice: trust your own community, create your own influencers!
Share their posts, life and content: they will feel pleased and connected to the brand. This will lead to them influencing their own community in a trustful way. It’s organic material. Humanize your advertising!

6) Humans are the True Search Engines

More than applying technical terms or follow general best practices, your SEO strategy must be as close as possible to a human way of thinking. Write as if you were searching that content and accept the often-chaotic associations of ideas that the real consumer forms in his head. Humanize your contents by putting yourself in the customer’s shoes – use empathy. Assume that the content is never final but should be updated as much as needed. Also search behaviors have changed: consumers do not focus on a brand or product, but on their need. They don’t just want a mobile, they want design.

7) Data Creativity

Data Analysis must be the basis for storytelling. Content Creators must be equipped with new tools and mindset in order to transform data into relevant content. Storytelling must be as agile as possible in order to keep up with daily life. Creativity must be relevant and substantiated to generate results, to have a good ROI and be measured. It has to answer one question: what do I get from this?

8) Artificial Intelligence Design

Add new tools to your advertising strategy: bots, AI, AR, VR, Machine Learning, Smart Emulators. Design campaigns that include the latest tools, creating a multichannel experience ecosystem (not only online but also offline). Deliver a new look into the future, the latest trends and a unique journey and relation with the brand, breaking barriers and taking creativity to the next level. The real challenge is how we humanize these new channels and integrate them in our storytelling to be more creative and connected to the consumer’s journey.

9) Storytelling

Define your core message and don’t run away from it, be straight to the point.
Decide the mood of the story you’re telling. Is it fun? Is it sexy? Is it inspirational?
Establish your call to action: why? To whom? What do you want people to do with your stories?
Choose a channel: where will they be shared? How will they be presented?
Don’t be afraid, create an amazing story and share it with the world.

10) And more Storytelling

In order to create a good storytelling strategy in advertising you have to keep in mind that your role is to entertain your audience by delivering good stories. Keep the reader engaged and interest him in what’s next.
To achieve this, your content should be:

  • Educational: good stories spark curiosity and enter the reader’s knowledge bank;
  • Memorable: whether through inspiration, scandal or humor, good stories stick in the reader’s mind;
  • Organized: good stories follow a concise organization that helps convey and remember the core message;
  • Universal: good stories are relatable to all readers and tap into emotions and experiences that most people have.

Because storytelling is the new advertising, brands must build empathy and positive relationships with their customers. Customers recognize the brand as unique and as a mirror of themselves.

Try and keep in mind these tips to create a more diverse and inclusive campaign as well as create a closer bond with your customers. After all, it all comes down to one thing - making your communication human.

The Author

André Arrátel Torrão

Social Media & Project Manager – The Ad Store Portugal

Have you found this interesting? Drop me an email if you want to know more: andretorrao@adstore.pt

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