Evolution is inescapable, and it permeates every aspect of life. Many of us tend to resist this fact, inherently leaning on the comfort of what we know. However, it is a cold reality that those who do not evolve are inevitably left behind. This applies both to life and business. If a company fails to evolve and adapt to the constantly changing market environment, it will eventually fail.
At my company, we take this idea a step further with one core tenet:
This is a simple statement, but profound if taken to heart and applied relentlessly. If you want to be the best, waiting for change to happen — or embracing it after it comes — means you’re already behind the curve. To have a massive impact, it is crucial to lead the change, not just react to it.
So, how does this apply to marketing, and what are some tangible steps you can start taking today? Here are three key ideas to ponder and implement to ensure you resonate deeply with your audience and lead the pack in your industry.
1. Market backward approach
Many businesses try to think of a new innovative idea out of thin air, constantly racking their brains to create “the next big thing.” However, this is the wrong approach. The market doesn’t care about you or your ideas; it cares about how you can solve problems and provide results. Instead of being selfish and thinking in your own head, spend that time getting to know your target market. What are their biggest problems? What do they truly desire? Why haven’t they been able to fix these problems or get their desired results already?
This is an opportunity to talk to as many market participants as possible, ask intimate questions and take detailed notes. Don’t stop until you find the deepest answers to these questions. If done right, you will strike gold by uncovering a common problem and, eventually, a scalable solution. From here, you can devise an effortlessly innovative business plan, followed by a marketing strategy that truly resonates in your key market.
2. Relentless focus
We live in a chaotic world where focus is nearly impossible to harness and master. In the constant noise of day-to-day operations, businesses get taken through the wringer with trivial tasks, eventually losing sight of the few important items. The only thing that matters, however, is the result.
In a perfect world, all hiring, marketing, sales and operations should be optimized to this end. To lead the pack and succeed in your marketing objectives, it is critically important that you never lose sight of this goal. Write your end result down everywhere. Ensure every team member is constantly reminded of the target and that the end result is at the core of your company culture. If you can stay focused on this, all branding, outreach and even sales will become exponentially more powerful, and your customers will see you as their saving grace. In a market environment where everyone else is distracted, double down on your focus to surpass your competition.
3. Feedback optimization
Many companies don’t have adequate systems to gather market feedback and can’t efficiently optimize their messaging. In all business disciplines — even more so in marketing — gathering and understanding feedback is vital to company success. Even if you follow the first two steps laid out above, there is always room for improvement in messaging. With the goal to resonate at the deepest level with your ideal customer, monitoring sentiment every chance you get is crucial.
From a PR standpoint, the best way to do this is to use a modified A/B testing model to create multiple story angles with different narratives. From there, you can track which stories gain the most attention, double down on the messaging that resonates and then cull the under-performing narratives. The key here is to be relentless in scrapping what does not resonate, no matter how “good” you think it is or how well it serves your ego. Remember, the only thing that matters is the customer’s feedback, so listen and adapt. When it becomes evident that you know them better than they know themselves, your customer will not only put you on a pedestal; they’ll help you build it.
To summarize, the market is changing rapidly, and the days of “doing things the old way” are over. If you follow the three fundamental tenets above, you will be in a tremendous position to lead your market and drive its evolution. If you don’t, you risk being sent to live in memory with the average and forgotten. The choice is yours.