“For” is Greater Than “To”
One of my favorite parts of my job is talking with small company owners/operators and marketers. I get to know some really great businesses, meet great people and hear their unique challenges and how they go about meeting them. In regards to the marketing conversations, in particular, something has long struck me that I’ve not been able to articulate. I started replaying some of the recent client and prospect conversations I’ve had. Then it hit me.
Often in those conversations, marketing was talked about like it was something to be done to someone. Blast them with emails. Spin them up some ads. Build a geo-fence around them. At the tactical level, I get it. This is a way to say what is being done.
But, I think talking about marketing that way can have unintended consequences. When you think about doing something “to” someone, it’s easy to:
- Lose respect for their needs, including communication preferences
- Messaging can be narcissistic and self-serving
- Time & frequency considerations get thrown out the window
- You might create those “offensive” feelings in your would-be customers & market
As an alternative to this thinking, what if you thought about your marketing as something you do “for” your market? Remember that marketing is the beginning of relationships with future customers and impressions made by those who don’t become customers. Marketing “for” them would change the approach by:
- Considering time/frequency as a driver of decision making
- Providing content/ideas/things of value that your market cares about. For example, help them with their problems, understand their issues, provide resources, recommend assessments…the list here is long
- Creating positive impressions in people who never become your customers – who knows, they may remember and recommend you to someone who will
I can’t speak for anyone but me, but I promise to make sure that everything we do to market our business is “for” our market because “for” is greater than “to.”