12 Marketing Tips for 2014

By Barbara Risto, INSPIRED Senior Living Publisher

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Whether you are marketing in print or online, how you talk to your potential customers is important. Here are 12 tips to help focus your efforts in 2014.

1. Think Audiences, Not Markets
When you are trying to define your market, it helps to think of the type of person you see buying your product. Don’t think about a sector of the population, think about one person – what do they look like, what’s their age, what are their interests and needs, how do they relate to your product or service. Keep the image of this person in your mind as you frame your marketing message and speak to them as if they were the only customer in the world.

2. Think People, Not Commodity
Customers are not a commodity, they are people. People don’t want you to just take their money. They want to know that you are there to satisfy their wants, needs and desires. Think about how you can do that. The sales will come when people know you are listening to them, and want to make their lives better.

3. Think Experiences, Not Features
Do you think a customer will come back because of the features they bought with their last product, or because of the experience they had? Chances are the features will be forgotten quickly, but the experience becomes something that gets locked in their mind, to which they attach emotion and meaning. Create positive experiences for your customers, before, during and after they buy from you.

4. Think Emotion, Not Logic
Almost every purchase decision is based on emotion, justified by logic. If you can’t get emotional about something, it’s likely you won’t buy it. Don’t throw logic out the window – just realize that feeling good and looking good is what we human beings crave more than anything else. We buy because we feel something – it may be love of something or fear of something, but the deciding factor that pushes a buyer to make a decision is usually an emotion.

5. Think Memories Not Promotions
Human beings live in their past even as they plan their future, which makes memories a key factor in how someone will make up their mind on whether to buy or not. When we’re about to buy, we will search our memory pool of experiences, looking for the ones that will tell us this is the right product or service for us or not. People, places and events shape our lives – give your customers good memories of these. A customer will forget the discount, but will remember a welcoming smile and a warm handshake; they will forget the features of a product but remember the caring service. Promotions are good introductions, but the relationship is what makes the sale. And memories linger far after the event. If your business wants return customers or referrals, make sure your customers leave with good memories.

6. Think Marketing Not S.E.O.
You can optimize your website until the cows come home, but if your marketing message is confusing, unfocused and hard to understand, then all the search engine optimization in the world won’t overcome that drawback. Make your message clear, simple and precise. Anything less is a waste of your marketing dollars and a waste of a potential customer’s time if what they see makes them throw their hands in the air in frustration. This same principle can be applied to a print or web ad.  Don’t throw everything into it including the kitchen sink. Stay focused, keep it simple. Instead of making 10 points, make two or three.

7. Think Stickiness, Not Visitors
How many unique visitors you get to your website is not as important as how long visitors stay. If you don’t know what your stickiness rating is, better get familiar with your sites’ analytics. If visitors are sticking around, it means they are intrigued by what they see and the longer they stick around, the better chance they have of buying. Stickiness isn’t just for websites…it can be applied to a sales floor as well. When your sales people are able to engage customers in such a way that a genuine conversation develops, that’s stickiness. An ad or a website doesn’t usually close the sale, people do, so train your staff how to engage customers purposefully.

8. Think Stories, Not Pitches
Nothing moves, touches and inspires people like a good story. If you want to engage your customers, collect stories about the successes other clients have had using your product or service. We relate to other people’s situations and dilemmas. We may forget a product pitch but a story will stick with us for a long time. Fill your repertoire with them and see the difference they make. Even a print ad can tell a story. Be creative.

9. Think Focus, Not Scattered
Every successful company has managed to build a brand on one key element. Finding what product or service is most important to your company, and talk about it.  All the time. Make it your anthem. If your message is scattered all over the place, customers won’t remember it. It will be like a blur. A confused, complex message does not lead to sales, it leads to more confusion. People don’t buy when they’re confused.

10. Think Campaigns, Not Ads
One time ads, unless they are time sensitive like a one day sales event, are not good marketing investments.  If a store popped up for a day, or a magazine published one issue – how successful do you think they would be?  The same principle holds true for marketing. Plan for a long term relationship, not a one night stand. Research shows that the response to a marketing message increases over time, gains momentum. People don’t usually just run out and buy as soon as they see something. Like any relationship, trust is built over a period of time. Be consistent, focused, and frequent. People often think their marketing isn’t working if they don’t get results on the first effort. Sometimes it takes a little tweaking of the message. But if you’ve created a compelling message, and have a product or service that is wanted by the public, often all that is needed is a consistent campaign over a period of time that gives the momentum factor time to kick in.

11. Think Message, Not Hype
Do you have the best product, the best price, the best staff, the best service? People don’t really care. Why not? Because they’re thinking about themselves, not you. Change your message so that it’s all about them, not about you, and you will see a difference in how they respond.  Approach your marketing from your customer’s point of view. What do THEY want?

12. Think Originality, Not Commonality
Does your ad just go through the motions?  Is it tired?  Does it say what every other ad says? Does it have any distinction?  Does it stand out?  Does it grab attention?  Is it compelling? Don’t be a space filler. Take the time to be creative; put some personality in your marketing. Make sure people can’t turn the page without looking at your ad. Be original.

If you would like to market your products or services to the growing 50+ and senior consumer groups, Senior Living can be of assistance. We offer a monthly magazine distributed throughout British Columbia and an extensive global website.  We also host a one day Senior Expo in March. We invite you to iive us a call at 1-877-479-4705 or email us at sales@seniorlivingmag.com

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