All we know about marketing we learned from… Taylor Swift?
I end up in crisis
Tale as old as time
Do you know any marketers who don’t spend their lives on the run? Responding to emails while they’re on video calls? Plotting strategy for one initiative while shooting video for another?
(We even wrote a whole series of blog posts about it, called “The Churn Cycle.”)
All this craziness isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, the immersive nature of marketing can be exhilarating. But being knee-deep from dawn till dusk? It comes at a price. We know so much about how to get through today that we lose our ability to dream about tomorrow.
Said another way, we focus on our brand, team, messaging and product, instead of the most important element in our success.
It’s an old story, but it’s accurate. In fact it is (scarily enough) a lot like the lyrics to the Taylor Swift song “Anti-Hero.”
I should not be left to my own devices
They come with prices and vices
What tools do you use to get through your day? Email? Slack? Midjourney?
Well, if you’re feeling stuck, here are a couple new tools to add to your plate. They’re actually both twists on exercises from our Unified Marketing System Guidebook. They won’t help you survive the next status meeting, but they might just be the key to surviving a changing economy.
- The Eulogy Exercise: The standard Eulogy Exercise asks you to write your company’s eulogy from the perspective of a loyal customer. But to see if you’re your own problem, try writing it from the perspective of your ideal customer. Imagine someone who learns about you after your company has already ceased to exist. Why would they regret never having met you?
- The Interview With the Customer: Usually, this exercise starts with sitting down with existing customers to ask them why they choose your products or services. That’s valuable, of course. But try it with a variation: Interview someone who didn’t buy your product. Someone who chose the bad guys across the street. In a nonthreatening, non-salesy way, ask them questions like:
- How did you first hear about our company? Was it during the buying process or before that?
- What were your first impressions of our products or services?
- What problem or need motivated you to start searching for a solution?
- Who else was involved in the buying decision? What were their roles?
- What were the most important factors in the buying decision?
- What did we say – online or off – that did not resonate with you?
- What could we have said that changed your mind?
Remember the goal isn’t to win a customer. It’s to escape your own feedback loop, and start learning more about real customer needs.
I’ll stare directly at the sun
But never in the mirror
Here’s another idea. One that will really force your company to ask some tough questions.
Have a few trusted colleagues do the standard Eulogy Exercise. (The one where you imagine your company’s eulogy from the perspective of a loyal customer.) And then ask some of your loyal customers to do it, too.
How alike are the results?
If they’re pretty similar, good for you. You have a strong handle on what the market wants from businesses like yours.
But if they’re different, it’s time to ask why. Are you marketing yourself inaccurately? Or are you spending too much time thinking about what consumers should want, without ever considering what they do want.
If there is a really big difference, it might be time to admit something.
Take it away Taylor…
It’s me! Hi! I’m the problem, it’s me.
Here’s some good news. It’s actually a wonderful thing to be your own problem. Really! It’s much easier to change yourself than it is to fix someone else. You just have to remember that the hero of this story isn’t you, it’s your customer.
We’ll let Taylor worry about who the anti-hero is.