By Jennifer Oladipo, owner, X Editorial
How does the marketing process usually work in your organization? Maybe it goes roughly like this:
Leadership decides (or maybe agrees with marketing) that it’s time to share your idea or product with the world. The marketing team works on messaging and focus areas. Delivery channels are considered and budgeted. A manager or senior executive outlines general selling points. Marketing creates; leadership approves. Then, it’s out into the world with your ad campaign, rebrand, hashtag, billboard, video, blog, or what have you. Finally, marketing tracks feedback or other metrics.
All good. But is it as great as it could be?
Well, some important yet overlooked people could have helped improve the process at every stage. These are members of your “hidden” marketing team, people whose official titles belie the important marketing information they access and generate every day. Your marketing efforts can be more relevant, memorable, accurate, and focused when the following three types of people are included. They’re integral to your organization, but either forgotten or underutilized when it’s time for public communication.
These are the people at the front lines of dealing with your target audiences. They answer phones, greet visitors, and open mail, often giving them more touch points with people and information than anyone else in your organization. As a result, they have a particular awareness about your position in the market. For instance, if a gatekeeper often must say, “Sorry, you’re looking for the other ABC package store. We sell boxes,” that might signal a need for marketing to redouble efforts toward owning the right keywords on the internet, or to increase visibility with your target audience.
Gatekeepers also know something about how your audience communicates. Do visitors or callers tend to be chatty and informal? You might consider adopting that tone in your communications. Do many people call for specific information they couldn’t find on your website? It could be time for marketing to do some proactive problem-solving on the site. Has there been a recent increase in a certain type of solicitations? There could be an important shift happening in the market. Book time with your gatekeepers to ask.
These are your product developers, engineers, and designers. Or, they might be your program managers or coordinators. Either way, they know the optimal conditions for success (or failure) for whatever you deliver to your audience. They keep abreast of trends in your sector, and they know what your competitors are doing — and how they’re doing it. What’s more, technicians love talking about what they do.
Tapping technicians gives marketing the opportunity to do more than showcase the features of a product or service. Technicians’ information can help generate ideas for ongoing engagement that helps customers make the most of their investment with your organization. Technicians also have good fodder for content marketing that addresses potential pain points, or helps customers maintain confidence in their decision to do business with you. Sometimes, featuring technicians in marketing material works even better than simply gathering their input.
Cheerleaders are out there face-to-face with your target audience. That means they are privy to some crucial data that no technology can capture (yet). These are your direct sales teams or fundraisers. They often connect with your audience on a deeply personal level, paying attention to every detail of the responses they receive.
From cheerleaders, marketing can glean crucial information, such as frequent questions that arise in the sales process, or points of confusion that need deeper explanation. They know, or can ask directly, why clients say “yes” or “no” to offers. Buyers will often share with cheerleaders what they like about your competition, or how many other options they’ve considered. With this kind of information, the marketing team can better understand the different points in the buying cycle at which they need to reach the audience; they’ll know what to say, and when. With cheerleaders’ emotional intel, you can deliver marketing that truly matters to your audience.
Gatekeepers, technicians, and cheerleaders can be helpful anywhere in the process, from conceiving ideas to measuring outcomes. In the end, they help create and deliver strong, relevant, and even welcome messages to your audience. What’s more, marketing informed by these insiders conveys the most authentic image of your organization, and no one else’s.
Jennifer Oladipo is the owner of X Editorial, an integrated marketing company. More details at www.xeditorial.com.