The Two Pillars of Marketing

Marketing is a much-maligned industry, often accused of various nefarious deeds that help part people form their money. But that’s not what marketing is.

Marketing is about informing – or even educating – your market about your product or service. Let me expand on that a bit.

Let’s say that you have the best widgets. They are better quality, have more features, and come in more sizes and colors than your competitors. People who use yours have a product that is easier to use, cheaper to run, and that has some additional automated features that really make it stand out from the crowd. Wouldn’t you be doing people a favour if you let them know about the real benefits of your widgets compared to others? Of course you would, and that’s called marketing.

We can assume that you have a product or service with a competitive advantage. Now you need to tell people about that. There are two areas that you need to jointly focus on, and missing out either one will mean that your marketing is less effective than it should or could be. The thing is that most marketers focus only on the second factor. You are about to learn about both.

Both are equally important. One without the other means that you are substantially paying somebody to print their magazine, host their website or whatever applies to the media you chose. In other words you are only supporting your advertising medium, you are not supporting or promoting your own business.

The first pillar of marketing is an understanding of the human mind. You have to get into step with the mind of your target, otherwise they may not even be aware of your attempt to educate them! Let’s look at that in a little more detail.

Your body is bombarded with literally millions of pieces of information every second. The cells of your skin each report back with they feel, your eyes and ears constantly provide updates as do your other senses, and you also need to control the beating of your heart and your breathing. Imagine if you had to consciously control all that.  Luckily your body has a mechanism that filters out stuff that you don’t consider important.

You have probably bought something, a special purchase like a new car, new suit, new pair of shoes etc where you thought the item was unusual, that it stood out from the crowd and you’d never seen one before only to find that on the way home you saw a half dozen of them. That’s your filter at work.

Your filter only allows things that it knows you want to know about: updates on usual things like things your partner says or does, statements by or about your favorite store for example, and things that are really out of the usual like a celebrity suddenly appearing in front of you.

Your filter wasn’t tuned in to the item you bought until you bought it, as you went back home your filter allowed them through and you became aware of them. That’s why they ‘suddenly’ appeared. You know they were there all the time, it’s just that now you are aware of them.

That just means that your marketing message has to be positioned to get through your target markets’ filter or they effectively aren’t even aware it exists.

Your message then has to demonstrate relevance almost immediately, otherwise they will be aware of your message but bypass it anyway.

This is why in printed copy your heading and sub-heading are so important, and in audio and video why the first few seconds is so important. You must break through the filter and then demonstrate relevance or your marketing message has missed its target.

That’s all good, and now you need to wrap that into something that generates an emotion – excitement, fear, loathing, happiness, joy – you must build on the initial ‘relevance’ and generate a real connection.

How do you break though the filter? You can describe their problem or the solution to their problem. That will attract their attention in the first instance.

Then you talk about how they benefit by doing business with you. For example if you have a problem with your marketing you might respond to something like:

“The two pillars of marketing – learn about the vital second pillar and become a price maker not a price taker”.

“Wasting money on advertising? Discover the vital second pillar and never waste an advert again”.

“Are you being gouged because you don’t know if your advertising agency is doing the right thing by you? Learn how to review their work and save money while producing more effective advertising”.

These are of course only a very small sample of what you could say. and you can’t see the rest of the copy, which might then describe exactly your problem with a solution that is elegant, effective and costs less than your current solution –  the point is for you to understand the use of both the filter and emotion when creating the introduction to your message.

Failure to have a solid foundation could mean that your message isn’t even consciously seen, and failure to include some emotion might mean that although they like your statement they aren’t inspired enough to follow your call to action.

Get excited for your market, tell them what you can do for them in ways that resonate with them and I promise that your business will go from strength to strength.