Buskers, Mimes, and Marketers: The Struggle for Attention in a Noisy WorldJun 01, 2023
Alongside the lake near my home, buskers compete for the airwaves. A Samba duo dials up the volume on their giant speaker. And a mime startles strollers with the high-pitched squeak of his whistle.
The competition for attention makes for a cacophony of noise. And, instead of stopping to listen, people hurry quickly along. Unless you're perched on a stool, sipping a beer—doing some people-watching.
The spectacle calls to mind the marketing challenge most small businesses face: relentless competition for attention.
Marketers are under constant pressure to deliver new leads. So, they pump out whatever they can, hoping that something sticks. But these random acts of marketing seldom return results. Instead, they amplify the volume of noise.
Three barriers to marketing success...
Leadership - Business owners must invest more in creating and executing the business strategy. Clarity of your values, core purpose, and customer is essential.
I watched Apple WWDC23 last night, and it brought to mind Apple's 'Think Different' campaign.
In the video, Steve Jobs speaks passionately about Apple's Core Value: "We believe that people with passion can change the world for the better."
Apple deeply understands its core customer, which reveals itself through how they market and advertise. Their Instagram account is a kaleidoscope of customer images. Sure, they promote their product. But they do it by showcasing the work of 'people with passion.'
If one of the most successful companies in the world, and remember they were once a startup, is obsessive about their core customer. Why aren't all small businesses?
I think it's because we're obsessed with selling products rather than taking the time to understand what customers truly need.
For marketing and advertising to work, you must have a clear purpose and a deep understanding of your core customer.
Marketing Plan – marketers are obsessed with shiny new objects, AI a case in point. Left untethered, marketers will pursue the week's trend, obsess over vanity metrics, or uncover some new technology that promises 10X their lead generation.
But this isn't always their fault. In the vacuum of strategic clarity, trying anything to generate leads seems better than doing nothing. Marketers need a plan.
A marketing growth plan connects your business goals with the strategies essential to achieving those goals with the top-level tactics to deliver your strategy.
Sales Alignment– underperforming sales teams quickly point the finger at marketing. Instead of working toward a common goal, an us and them mentality prevails. You must foster cohesion between your marketing and sales functions.
Am I oversimplifying the problem?
I think not.
At companies nailing their numbers, there is complete cohesion between marketing and sales. Unlike the buskers competing for a dollar (Euro) along the lake, they're the symphony orchestra that attracts a high-paying customer.
Creating a Growth Symphony
Sections of an Orchestra—strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion—play a distinct role. The conductor's job is to unify these groups in a harmonious symphony.
Most small businesses have clever marketing and salespeople beating their drums and tambourines, utterly oblivious to what other team members are doing.
A Growth Symphony starts at the top. As the business owner, you ensure everyone is playing off the same music sheet. You write music with your audience (Core Customer) in mind. And your music is in tune with your core values.
Think about Apple. Their core purpose is to help the dreamers and misfits change the world. Their business strategy has always focused on innovation, design, and user experience. And these principles are echoed in every aspect of their marketing—from minimalist product design to innovative advertising campaigns that put their customers at the core.
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