I love GDPR

Why I love GDPR

It’s June. We have passed the GDPR enforcement deadline and are slowly adjusting to what life is like now. So… what’s changed?

“GDPR is a pain in the ****”

Since its announcement, I have lost count of the number marketers I’ve heard complain about how the GDPR is making their job harder and how their business will suffer financially for having to adhere to these stricter regulations.

Now, of course, I don’t mean to minimise the pain of change. Adapting is often difficult. However, I do believe that many marketing professionals are completely missing the point of why GDPR is crucial – not just for the protection of individuals’ rights, but for the survival of marketing as a concept.

Time to restore the balance

Let’s be real here: These regulations were not invented to create a data nightmare for the sales and marketing community, but rather to help restore the balance between buyer and seller and reinstate some of the trust that has been abused by players who show little or no respect for the actual human beings behind the database.

As long as we all receive mountains of salesy spam emails on a daily basis and our personal details are being swept around the world like dust-bunnies in the wind, we need change.

Adopting a new mindset

While we’ve all been busy deep-diving into privacy statements and erasure policies and opt-in forms, the biggest shift has happened on a different level. Thanks to the GDPR, we have effectively been forced to adopt the mindset of the customer. The customer’s rights as well as their behaviour are now being formally recognised in organisations through policies, disclaimers and information.

We’re starting to see the whole process of data management and marketing communications from the perspective of the buyer rather than that of the vendor – and that is a gargantuan leap forward.

Things desperately needed to change, and the GDPR changes gave us a much needed shake-up.

The sentiment behind the GDPR regulatory framework is that the control over customer data should be put back into the hands of the customer. It argues that the end user should have the freedom to choose how companies can use their details, rather than be at the mercy of forces which have little or no regard for their integrity or their user experience, as long money is being made.

What’s next?

It will take some time before the new ways of doing things become a natural part of life. But in generations to come, our grandchildren will look back at our old spam-ridden email practices and shake their heads in disbelief.

Now we just need to get past the stage of over-zealous privacy policy announcements, and start really exploring the ways GDPR will make the world of marketing a much better one – through the use of adaptive content and tailored user experiences, for example.

Get people to do what you want

How to get people to do what you want

So, you work in marketing.

You want to progress your career.

You want to improve your leadership skills.

But you have a problem: Nobody seems to want to listen to you – or follow your lead. How do you deal with that?

One of the biggest challenges you face as a marketer is how to get the contributions, support and feedback you need. You often rely on the buy-in and decisions of others for doing your job in the best way. It’s not easy, but there are techniques available for you to use to improve your influence and your ability to lead people.

Know yourself

You can’t truly understand other people and their motivations if you don’t first understand your own. What drives you? What triggers you? What is it that makes you want to follow others and take their direction? A bit of introspection will make all the difference in being able to identify and impact the behaviour of others.

Know your stakeholders

Do you know who your ‘personal stakeholders’ are? Who makes the decisions that impact you? Who are the people you need in order to reach your goal? Who are your allies? Develop your ability to ‘tune in’ to the agendas of those people and align yourself to them.

Your ability to influence the decisions of other people is very closely linked to your ability to influence their priorities. You need to be able to make what’s important to you important to other people. You will of course still need to be sensitive to the individual and to the situation. Not everyone will react in the same way – unless you’re dealing with robots!

Adapt your communications

By learning to adapt your communications to suit each of your stakeholders, you can maximise your impact on them. The way you express yourself holds the key to their reaction and response.

Technique 1: The Three Ws

Whenever you ask someone to do something for you, always set the expectation from the start. The Three W technique is a good reminder for this!

  • What?
    Be very precise on what it is you need. Don’t allow them to assume the task is insignificant if it will in fact require a large effort on their part. And don’t assume they will instantly know what you mean – take the time to explain.
  • Why?
    Make sure they understand why the task is important for you. Can you explain the context, or perhaps expand on what the favour would mean to you? This will help them connect with the bigger picture and see how their contribution will play a part in it.
  • When?
    Be clear on the deadlines. Do you have a hard stop at some point? Is there a critical finishing date? If you give an obvious timescale for the other person, it will help them prioritise it.Even if there is no specific urgency to the task, give an expectation of time anyway. Otherwise it may just end up in the other person’s ‘someday’ pile. Suggest that you follow up after a couple of weeks’ time, and then give them a gentle nudge when the time is up, to check progress

Technique 2: Make an offer

Everyone has their own agenda. And if you know something about what the other person is looking to achieve, you can align yourself to their goals.

Rather than simply asking someone to do something for you, try to frame it in such a way that the other person gets the feeling that they will also benefit from taking the action.

You may want to use phrases such as…

I wanted to give you the opportunity to be involved in my project first, before anyone else hears about it.

or…

I know how much you care about social issues so I immediately thought of you when I started looking for charity sponsors.

Always take a moment to think about the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) factor. Why should they want to support you? How can you make it appealing to them?

Technique 3: Say thank you

Surprisingly many people forget to recognise and thank others for helping them.

No matter how important you are in the business, you can always afford to be polite! When someone acknowledges our efforts and shows gratitude, it makes us feel good. That good feeling is something we want to experience again, so we are likely to do more favours for that person in the future.

Don’t get overwhelmed

It may feel like a huge mountain to climb, but influence is a long game. By working towards a greater understanding – and acceptance – of yourself, you will gradually become more comfortable with expressing your leadership. Coupled with a strong ambition to understand your stakeholders and improve your communication techniques you will be well on the way towards lasting, genuine influence.

 

Want help to start your influence journey?

Join our free marketing group the Awesome Marketing Community on Facebook for guidance, advice and support on your journey towards becoming an influential marketer.

ideal buyer personas

How well do you really know your buyer persona?

I often work with organisations that have a long history of selling products and services into specific industries and niches; yet cannot paint me a detailed portrait of what their ideal buyer looks like.

Their sales and marketing teams are unable to confidently answer the following questions about the buyer:

  • How much does he/she earn?
  • What’s their favourite social media channel?
  • What time do they get to the office in the morning?
  • Are they married/single?
  • What’s their main career ambition?

Questions like these may seem completely irrelevant at a first glance, but the more you dig down into them, the more you realise that each answer holds a clue to a successful marketing strategy. They provide you with behavioural cues, motivations and drivers that will help you position your offerings and communicate them in a way that becomes irresistible.

Knowledge is profitable

When it comes to clients and prospects, knowledge means not only power but also financial profit. How? Well, if you know exactly where to reach your audience, you won’t waste money advertising on the wrong platforms. If you know their main challenges, you won’t alienate them with irrelevant value statements. If you know what is important to them, you will be able to influence their impulse to buy.

Now – this doesn’t mean that you need to put a stakeout car outside your clients’ house or enrol in a psychology course. But you will need to do these four things:

1. Ask questions

When it comes to asking questions, there are of course various online survey tools you can use. However, the best way to get useful, accurate information is through conversation. Talk to people, face to face or over the phone, asking what they think about your product or service, and about what is important to them.

Take the opportunity to chat with people at tradeshows, in user groups, and in online forums. Most people will be helpful and forthcoming if you explain that you will be able to create even better products and services as a result of their input.

2. Follow the snail trail

As a business, you should make an effort to always find out how your customers found you to begin with. It’s also worth using analytics and tracking software to monitor how, when and where people access your online content on a regular basis. Over time, this will create a detailed picture of how your audience discovers your information and engages with it.

3. Listen and learn

Your sales team will be able to give you very useful input on their active leads. Take time to review these together regularly. Learn from their interactions with prospects and clients; this is a great source for discovering buyer behaviour.

4. Capture data

Contact forms are great tools for getting snippets of information from your leads. Use them to ask for a piece of key information like company size, age, gender – whatever is relevant to help differentiate your messaging to different personas.

However, be careful not to ask too much or use questions that seem too intrusive. If at all possible, use dynamic forms that only ask for one additional item of information every time the user downloads something, building up the lead profile over time.

Get to know your ideal buyer persona

Once you have created a clear image of your buyer persona – you may even have several – it will become a great deal easier to improve your return on marketing investment. You will be able to make strategic decisions quicker, choose better tools and plan more efficient campaigns.

It’s also a really fun and interesting process! Why not get started today?

Get your own guide to creating a buyer persona

If you want some more information and a free template to creating an ideal buyer persona, you can download your own PDF guide HERE.

Better marketing and growth

How to become a better marketer

The Awesome Marketers Manifesto - 10 steps to becoming a better marketing monkey

Download your free eBook

Being a great marketer is so much more than just running successful marketing campaigns or knowing all
the latest systems and tools. It’s about having confidence in your own abilities and in the brand you represent. It’s about being able to influence the environment you work in – both internally in the business and in the wider industry landscape. It’s about knowing when to ask for help.

Beat marketing overwhelm

I often speak to marketers and business owners who feel inadequate and overwhelmed. They feel as if they should have all the answers, but they don’t. They never will.

This can be a difficult feeling to overcome, but the key to finding direction amidst all that self-doubt and stress is to allow yourself to ask the questions. Share your frustration and concerns with other marketers, and openly ask for help from people who are willing to support you. Not only will you get support and answers, you will also encourage more people around you to be honest about their own challenges.

Supporting each other is how we all get better.
We become better marketers, better people, and a better community.

Take your first step towards improvement

If you’re in a marketing role where you feel like you need some guidance or advice on how to improve yourself and your marketing delivery, a good first step is to download the eBook The Awesome Marketer’s Manifesto – 10 Steps to Becoming a Better Marketing Monkey.

Don’t go it alone

There is a safe, helpful community of like-minded marketers in our Facebook group The Awesome Marketing Community. You’re welcome to join in the conversation, post any questions or concerns, and help others on their journey by sharing your own knowledge and expertise. Check it out today!

 

Email marketing podcast

How to Generate Leads with Email – PODCAST

In this episode of the Awesome Marketing Podcast I’m interviewing conversion copywriter Sarah Anderson, who has an impressive track record of generating huge uplifts in open rates and revenue generation for clients. She shares some of her best tips for setting up a successful email marketing strategy, managing contacts, choosing email platforms and measuring results.



If you need some more specific advice on how to make email marketing work for your business, send me a message.

…and while you’re here, don’t forget to check out our Facebook community for more regular tips and guidance on how to become better at what you do.

Marketing Role Podcast

The Fast Track to an Awesome Marketing Role – PODCAST

In this first episode of the Awesome Marketing Podcast I’m interviewing Jayne Johnson from Better People Ltd., who shares her insight on when to move to a new marketing role, how to shine in an interview, what employers are really looking for – and much more.


 

If you want to speak to Jayne about your own career, contact her on 01491 836632 or jaynej@betterpeopleltd.co.uk.

…and while you’re here, don’t forget to check out our Facebook community for more regular tips and guidance on how to become better at what you do.

Newsletters

“Should we be doing newsletters?”

The question of newsletters came up recently in conversation with a company I work with.

“We want to re-engage our audience, and we thought we could use a newsletter as the method. What do you think?”

Before answering, I wanted to try to understand what the real drivers were behind the idea. What were they actually trying to achieve?

As it turns out, they wanted to do two things:

  1. Get their existing email contacts to actively ‘opt in’ to future communications (to comply with GDPR).
  2. Put the brand back on people’s radar by telling them all the great new things they’re doing.

Personally, I thought the idea of doing a re-engagement campaign that also shared some insight about them as a business was a good idea. And for that to then lead into regular newsletters – why not? Great stuff.

But then I saw the content.

For their first newsletter, they wanted to include six different topics, all centred around them as a business: ‘This is our latest service’, ‘We’ve done a restructure’, ‘We’ve been nominated for an award’… you get the picture.

First of all, let’s be clear – what’s news to you, is often completely irrelevant to your audience. For example, hiring a couple of new directors is not necessarily something your customers care about. They’ll read it and go “So what?”

If it doesn’t add value to them, there’s no need to push it onto their desk. Which brings me to the true merit of newsletters: Adding value. We’ve all got busy inboxes and have to stave off the stacks of irrelevant updates we get on a daily basis. Do we really want to add to that noise? Of course we don’t. We want to create engagement, build relationships, and establish trust. And the best way to do that by email is to provide content that is helpful to the recipient in doing their job.

So what happened next?

I ended up shaving their suggested content down to a clear message of ‘We want to continue engaging with you – and here’s why.’ I reduced the number of topics from six down to three short sections, each highlighting a how-to-guide or educational content they can read and learn from. The call to action was a simple ‘YES – sign me up’ to keep receiving useful updates.

Now, the next challenge was to do with the frequency of these newsletters. How often should they be sent out? As they’re a small team with limited resource, weekly was out of the question. I suggested that monthly would be a more manageable rate, and would allow them to work on curating suitable content over the course of four weeks. (They already publish at least one blog post per month, so that would be a useful place to start in terms of re-purposing existing content.)

“Monthly is too much of a commitment. Let’s start by doing newsletters quarterly,” was the Managing Director’s view. I felt my heart sink.

OK – so what’s the problem with doing a quarterly newsletter? Well, here are the three main reasons:

  1. You ‘lose touch’. Once you get people to actively opt in to your emails, you want to make the most of that permission. If they only get an email every three months, you risk becoming one of those newsletters that people forget that they actually signed up for.
  2. People move on. We’re living in a more fluid workplace than ever. People move jobs, change positions, work on limited-time contracts. In the three months between emails, an address can become invalid – which means you’ll be getting a higher percentage of bounces next time you send something. And email systems don’t like bounces.
  3. It’s not a priority. When you know your newsletter isn’t due for another eight or ten weeks, it’s easy to put it on the shelf and ignore it until it becomes an urgent task. The last few days before sending it, you’ll be scrambling around for topics and ideas for what to include. (I’m speaking from personal experience here!)

A monthly newsletter doesn’t have to be taxing at all. Once you know that people want to hear from you (and you have learnt to identify content that’s jam-packed with value and helpful information) you will soon get into a flow of creating regular newsletters that make your readers – and your Managing Director – happy.

I’ll keep you posted on what happens next…

 

Psst… want tips like these to your inbox? Sign up for the Hunting with Tigers Bulletin and stay updated – or join our cool little Facebook community!

Marketing lessons from a train station

What a train station taught me about marketing

This week I am in New York for a copywriting conference.
I have been to this city before, but every time it is an incredibly thrilling experience. Walking down streets lined with towering giants of glass and stone, every corner offering another iconic view. Street food vendors, yellow cabs, an ever changing wall of people rushing past. It’s like no other place I have ever visited.

What always strikes me when I travel is how amazed one person can be by another person’s everyday life. To me, walking into Grand Central Station is a fascinating experience of inspirational architecture. But for the native New Yorker, it’s just another stop on the way to the office. As a first-time visitor, I would never be able to see that building in the same, fleeting way that the daily commuter does – even though we’re both looking at the same walls, the same gorgeously marbled floors and sculpted archways.

This reminds me of how marketing communications work. In order to engage with someone, we need to understand their world view. We need to pick out the aspects of their experience that really matter – otherwise we just become background noise.

Promoting Grand Central Station as a tourist attraction is an entirely different task to selling it as a transport hub for the stressed suburban business traveller. It’s still the same station, but the critical selling points will be worlds apart.

The commuter doesn’t care about the ornamental bronze carvings or the 42nd street facade feature sculptures of Minerva, Mercury and Hercules. They just want to know the quickest way from Yonkers to Chinatown, and if they can grab a bagel on the way.

How often do we sell the wrong story to our clients? Do we truly know what they are actually interested in, and what matters to them?

The only way we will become better at understanding the needs of our audience and using those needs in our communication, is by stepping out of our own shoes for a moment and looking at the world from their vantage point. Ask questions. Investigate. Listen. And there in the murmurings of that virtual crowd rushing across the concourse of your marketplace, you will hear the voices that help you define your message.

Do you want marketing tips in your inbox? I share suggested systems, tactics and processes that will make your life easier. Sign up to the Hunting with Tigers bulletin and stay updated with hands-on marketing advice.

 

Photo credits: Peter Pesta, Travel & Leisure

 

 

Content Marketing - not Selling

How to sell without “selling”

This week I had an interesting question from a business owner.
She runs a highly successful tailored recruitment service, and had now been given the opportunity to introduce herself to a friend’s private network – packed full of prospective clients.

“I want to really show off my strengths – but I don’t want to come across as blunt and ‘salesy’. How do I do it?”

This is a question I hear from time to time, both from marketers and entrepreneurs. And it’s a valid one. Because let’s face it, everyone’s pretty clued up when it comes to sales messages these days! Your prospects can smell a pitch a mile away. And if they’re not ready to listen – they immediately switch off.

But how do we get around this?

How do we sell without selling?

Breaking through the ad noise

We live in an age of advertising fatigue. We choose on-demand TV and fast-forward through adverts, we disable ad pop-ups and we chuck direct mail straight in the recycling bin.

This may seem like a huge challenge for marketing, but it’s actually a brilliant opportunity to go beyond the traditional one-way-street messaging. You have the chance to create influence and engagement and win long-term trust. All you have to do is give people what they are actually looking for and interested in.

The 5 principles of influence

In this blog post I will outline some ways to get started with influencer marketing and how it can improve your lead generation.

  1. Ditch the scattergun. Get to know who your client is, what their challenges are and what they need. Visualise one specific ideal client and keep them in mind when you create your message. You will need to demonstrate that you are aware of their issues, and that you understand the frustration they feel. They need to know that you care.
  2. Ask: How can I help? Be clear not only on the challenges your prospects face, but how you can help them overcome those challenges. You must be able to show a clear connection between their ‘pain’ and your ‘remedy’. Sometimes the prospect isn’t even aware of their own problem, but they can begin to understand their limitations when they see how you are able to help.
  3. Show, don’t tell. Everyone can say how great they are and how amazing their product or service is. But most of the time, nobody else cares! We need to show our audience how our amazingness can be applied and what difference it makes. Let customer quotes, statistics and tangible benefits shine through in your message.
  4. Go where you’re wanted. While adverts and sponsorships do still play a part in the promotions mix, there are plenty of ways to introduce your brand in places where people already come to search for services or products like yours. Become a trusted advisor to those searching for help by answering questions and offering advice.
  5. Create high-value content. Rather than spending money on glossy videos telling the world how great your brand is, start creating content that actually helps your prospect achieve something. Teach them best practice, offer free high-level guidance, and share your knowledge. While this may sound like you’re giving away your skills for free, you are actually helping yourself by pre-qualifying your prospects. Those who turn to you after reading your content will already have ‘bought in’ to you and have an established interest in your offering.

Applying the principles

In a conversation with the business owner, we loosely walked through these principles. We both agreed on the first three, and the fourth one was already sorted out in this instance as she had a specific network to address.

This left the final principle: The content. What content should she create to influence this audience?

With limited timescales, I suggested that a targeted blog-style article would fit well. It would be an opportunity to address the wider issues and challenges of recruitment and to showcase how well she understands the prospects’ pain points. She could then guide the reader through the various checkpoints they should consider when choosing a recruitment partner – all built on her decade-long business legacy and insight.

Content creates influence

Content marketing is a powerful tool for creating influence. By using helpful, relevant and non-invasive content strategies we can build up engagement with our audience without being dismissed as sales noise. There are so many interesting ways you can promote your business through content, there’s no need to worry about running out of ideas.

So the next time you’re reaching for your pen to draft that promotional letter, email or sales page – have a think about these five principles and how you can make them work for your business!

Do you want tips like these to your inbox? I share suggested systems, tactics and processes that will make your life easier. Sign up to the Hunting with Tigers bulletin and stay updated with hands-on marketing advice.

 

Be a marketing monkey

Embrace your inner Marketing Monkey

When I was working as part of an in-house business team, I often heard sales teams referring to the marketing team as “marketing monkeys”. Now – I don’t know about you, but there were certainly some members of my team who weren’t entirely pleased with this epithet. They felt it was derogatory. Disrespectful. Mean. (I’m pretty sure it was even escalated to become an HR issue on one occasion.)

But is this really an insult, or in fact something much more insightful?

Personally, I didn’t mind at all. Instead, I would happily refer to myself as a marketing monkey. Not in an ironic, self-deprecating way either, but wearing it as proudly as a name badge. Why? Well, perhaps because the last time I looked monkeys were actually one of the smartest animal species on the planet. They use tools, they are super flexible, they learn from others and teach their young. Monkeys are amazing animals!

The business world is a jungle

Let’s face it; we are all different types of animals, and we all try to find our way through the business jungle. Every function in the business is in fact represented by an animal, and you work alongside them every day.

Take a look at all the functions here – and what a unique relationship Marketing has to each of them!

Marketing Monkey

Marketing: the nimble MONKEY

  • Swings from tree to tree, engaging with all animals with curiosity
  • Has a wide view of the horizon from the treetop, but also sees the ground at the bottom
  • Has the ability to shout far and wide to communicate messages of warning, excitement and discovery

 

Sales tiger

Sales: the hungry TIGER

  • When the Tiger is hungry, there is only one thing on its mind: nothing gets between it and its prey
  • Has a limited on-the-ground perspective and can learn much from the treetop view of Monkeys
  • To help the Tiger hunt, the Monkey must understand its challenges

 

The CEO elephant

CEO: the sturdy ELEPHANT

  • Stomps up new paths through the jungle
  • Has the ability to make powerful changes – but moves slower than many other animals
  • Is protective of its tribe and needs to see value for everyone

 

The HR owl

HR: the protective OWL

  • Takes the young under their wing
  • Keeps the bird’s eye view but zooms in on the detail where needed
  • The monkey helps the owl by making its voice heard, sharing its wisdom and supporting its efforts

 

The IT spider

IT: the productive SPIDER

  • Builds a framework for connectivity
  • Has an intricate model in mind and will continue to grow and repair its web until it is as effective as possible
  • The monkey helps the spider by suggesting new connection points or systems that may strengthen and expand the entire network

 

The Finance Squirrel

Finance: the frugal SQUIRREL

  • Always fully focussed on having enough resources to keep everyone fed
  • Plays a long game and tries to predict what needs to be done today to get results tomorrow
  • As long as the monkey can prove that what it does is of benefit to the future of the business, the squirrel will help and support it

 

The Operations Beaver

Operations: the constructive BEAVER

  • Tirelessly works to create the dam, with contributions from its tribe
  • The monkey can share insight on how other dams are built and what makes them different
  • The monkey helps the beaver by bringing it useful building material

 

When we as marketers see ourselves as monkeys, it’s easy to visualise all the support we bring to the other business functions. We adapt, we move swiftly to help where we are most needed, and we are constantly curious to find out new, better ways to do things.

So next time someone calls you a marketing monkey; be proud.
You ARE a monkey. And that’s what makes you awesome.


Want to know more?
Discover how to become a confident, influential marketer in any business. Order or download the book Hunting with Tigers – a Marketer’s Career Survival Guide today!

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