Old-school marketing and selling dramatized in the form of Don Draper showed that the key to customer acquisition was to prey on their rudimentary desires, their need to fit in, and banking on their lack of education about your product.
Because marketing and selling were so interruptive, this exchange was initiated by a salesperson with something to sell, rather than a consumer seeking a product. Marketing and selling have evolved in very distinct ways, and the driving force has shifted from the seller to the buyer.
Interruption isn’t as easy. Pre-Internet consumers were relatively uninformed and exercised a very linear buying journey. Whether it be advertisements, cold calls, or even door-to-door, interruption isn’t the best route any longer. As consumers, we are increasingly hit with messages of all kinds that we are much more capable of ignoring them. In your Facebook feed alone, there’s an average of 1,500 stories competing for your attention. We’re now moving toward welcome interruption by adding context.
Context is crucial. We’ve removed the element of surprise, and as a species have become skilled in ignoring communication we don’t want to interact with. Effective marketing and selling means being at the right place and the right time when the consumer is in need of your product or service. We’re talking programmatic marketing, re-targeting, marketing automation, and social media marketing to name a few. With the amount of data that exists, take the guesswork out of targeting and have your marketing message feel like kismet to your consumer.
Problem-focused vs. product-focused. Sure, we all still make cool impulse purchases that we don’t need but were swooned by the cool features. (Who else had the 3-in-1 egg, bacon, toaster machine?) Marketing and selling need to be problem-focused to resonate with consumers. Focus on their problem, their reason for needing your product or service, and why they should choose you over the competition. Sell the benefits, not the cool features. You’re likely catching a buyer after they have already identified a problem and have researched potential solutions.
Learning how to personalize your marketing and sales efforts will help your message resonate with consumers. Buyers and sellers are no longer in a pure exchange relationship; it’s now a collaboration.