Top 5 Marketing Principles

I have been pondering about this quite a bit, especially having consulted for several big brands in 2021. With technology advancing and new tools coming up weekly, I noticed that most marketers are losing sight on the #1 tool: Marketing Principles.

With everything changing and businesses moving aggressively into the digital space because of Covid, the frantic chase for the magic potion to miraculously bring in sales has resulted in an overcrowded space for information overload.

Marketing Principles are empirical to the growth of businesses and most importantly, timeless. The concept of marketing is to focus on sending the right messages to the right audience. Even with the introduction of various marketing technologies; identifying the audience is an up-hill task but an important one.

5 important Marketing Principles:

  1. Product/service. Know your product/service. My experience working with various companies is that most marketers do not really know their product/service. It is crucial to understand the weakness and strengths of the product/service you are marketing helps identify the right messaging. How? Marketing is all about reaching out to the audience and matching a need or want. The epic example is the ad campaign that deBeers launched in 1930s, they knew their product was expensive, exclusive and for women. At the era, men were the ones with the spending power; so they positioned diamonds as a “measure of love” and targeted men.
  2. People. Who is involved? Stakeholders whether internal or external are your audience. They are the closest and best sample of what the brand and its product/service represent. One of the most difficult things to do, is to tear up a brand and its product/service. Yet, knowing the blindspots and its weaknesses is key to positioning the product/service.
  3. Audience. Know your customers. The audience is a stakeholder… once they feel responsible for the brand or product/service. But till then… it’s a courtship. Getting to know who they are, identifying what they are like, knowing where they frequent (online or offline), sizing up their comfort zone (for spend). Segmentation and targeting audiences are only made possible once courtship phase is in play. Clustering the audiences and dividing them into 3 main categories are important: Full converts, semi converts and potential converts. And more often than not, the last group (potential convert) is usually where we want to start.
  4. Time. Time is money. As technology advances and improves things to make it faster and more efficient, it is not necessarily always more effective. Why? Simple. Because humans need more time to understand before executing. A common error I’ve noticed in consulting with clients for marketing processes and transformation is that a lot of time is spent managing. The focus is shifted from keeping an eye on the objective of the campaign to rolling out a campaign. Technology has advanced to the point where campaign roll-outs can be automated. The one thing that cannot be automated is emotional intuition.
  5. Messaging. Content is king. With all the different channels of distribution available on the digital world, content is king. Creativity is needed to craft messages that are personal and human centered. Reach out to your target audience the way you would have a conversation. It’s quality, not quantity.
  6. Data. Understand, not stalk. Data enables us, Marketers, to know what the audience likes and dislikes. It doesn’t mean stalk them. It’s about going deeper into their journey. Identifying which data tells us how their experience with the brand’s touchpoints enables better marketing.
  7. Review. Compare. A common sentence I’ve gotten when asked about KPI planning is that it is “pegged against previous campaign”. This works if there is <1 competitor. Sadly, for most brands out there, the market sphere contains of >1competitor. Reviewing your campaigns and marketing strategies help your brand improve and grow with your audience. This then fundamentally leads to conversions that are sustainable and scalable.
  8. Care. If you don’t, why should they? Caring about your audience, their needs and wants, their experience is a dying and endangered trait. However, while machines can apply sophisticated algorithms and predictive modelling, they cannot care. Intrinsically, we want to be cared for and we want to care. This is often taken for granted. Even if your brand or product/service has a strong foothold in the market, technology has also diminished brand loyalty. This means, the barrier to entry for comparison in terms of price, function and offering is <2. Caring for your audience’s relationship with your brand is a step towards a better and stronger future.

My experience working with clients has been and continues to be an eye opener everyday. In the process, I meet many awesome and creative marketers. People who are committed and diligent to their brand and its product/service. In that same process, I noticed and observed the tilt of focus towards getting things done and pushing out content without thought. The shift from “who, what, why” is no longer prevalent. “Where and how” has taken its place.

So I end this article with a thought: Think of a product or service you are a customer of, check against the list above, how many did the brand meet? And how many of the above items affect your loyalty to the brand?