For the last couple of decades, Marketing has been continuously evolving to adapt to the new customers of the digital era. Nowadays, they have become smarter, more informed, more curious, and more sceptical than ever. However, as customers are evolving, so are businesses. Today, we will see the 10 golden Marketing rules in the 21st century.
And why they aren´t going anywhere any time soon.
Also, just a quick disclaimer before we move on. A couple of the links on this blog post are affiliate, which means that I will make a small commission if you end up purchasing after clicking.
1o Marketing rules
The incredible rise of technology has marked a new era of digital customers. But it has also revolutionized the way we do business. In order to adapt to these changes, we need to follow some simple, but golden rules to ensure that we aren´t staying behind:
1. Listen to your customers
In the age of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Amazon and Google, companies are getting more information than ever before. They are receiving reviews on Amazon, notifications on Facebook, and even messages on Whatsapp. The feedback is everywhere, and can often be overwhelming for businesses that don´t know how to handle it.
However, this free feedback is a golden opportunity for every business that want to grow and evolve. According to recent studies, 72% of customers will share a positive experience with about 6 people on average. However:
13% of customers will share a negative experience with at least 15 people on average.
The biggest issue, however, lies in the fact that the majority of unhappy customers will not actually tell you that they are unhappy. They will just leave.
Many companies believe that the lack of feedback is usually associated with satisfaction. However, this is usually not the case. Considering that many people will leave without any feedback, those who do are your golden opportunity to understand what you are doing right. And most importantly, what you are doing wrong.
Because this way, you can use this negative feedback to improve customer experience and your product. In the era of information, listening to your customers is more important than ever. They are the only ones who can actually make you or break you.
For this reason, it is extremely important to engage with your customers on your social media channels. Respond to their comments, reviews, and messages. Create a Google My Business account and monitor reviews regularly.
And after that, see how you can improve your product and customer attention with their feedback.
2. Study your competition
In an increasingly globalized and digitalized world, the competition is more fierce than ever. For companies, this means that even if you are the leader in your market, you can´t just remain in one place. If you are not continuously evolving, your place can be taken the next day in the blink of an eye.
For this reason, second on the list (but not by importance) of Marketing rules is to keep a constant eye on the competition:
- Social media – what are the main social channels of your competitors? How do they communicate and interact with their audience? What is their content strategy? You can check this article by Hootsuite for more details on how to do that.
- Search Engine Optimization – are they doing any efforts when it comes to SEO? If the answer is yes, what is their strategy? What keywords are they trying to position for? A great tool that you can use to make full SEO analysis is Semrush (affiliate link).
- Advertising – are they investing in advertising on Google Ads, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Programmatic.? What is their strategy? What copies and creatives are they using to communicate their message?
- Content Marketing – do they have a Content Marketing strategy, and how are they promoting it? Make sure to research if they have a blog, what is their publishing frequency, and whether their blog posts are SEO-optimized.
For more information on how to research your competition, you can check my article 5 steps to Conducting a Startup Competitor Analysis (+Templates).
Even if you are not a startup, I think the tips and templates can still be quite helpful.
3. Have a Unique Selling Proposition
Having a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) has always been one of the most important Marketing rules. And this isn´t changing any time soon.
The concept of USP was first proposed in the early 1940s. Since then, 80 years have passed, and it is still a crucial element of any company’s Marketing strategy.
A Unique Selling Proposition, also known as Unique Selling Point, is the factor that differentiates your product from your competitors’. In other words:
What do you have that your competitors don’t?
What makes you unique in the eyes of the customers? For example, it can be that:
- Your product has the lowest price on the market;
- You offer the best customer attention service;
- Your platform has the highest variety of features and tools;
- Maybe you are the only company that offers free shipping and free returns;
- You offer a completely free version of your product;
- The subscription plan that you offer has the longest free trial;
And so on…you get the point.
Of course, any business needs to have a unique selling point in order to stand out from the crowd. However, are you communicating it well to your target audience? It serves you no purpose to have a USP if nobody is going to know about it.
For this reason, make sure that you include it in your website and advertising campaigns in a way that grabs the user’s attention immediately. A great example is Hubspot (affiliate link) and their “100% free CRM, forever”:
4. Content is king
Have you ever heard of the famous phrase “Content is king”? When I first heard of it, I thought it was a modern saying born in the last couple of years. However, these words were first said by Bill Gates in an essay written in 1996, 24 years ago.
Personally, I find it incredible because if content was king 24 years ago, it still remains so to this day. In fact, maybe even more. Of course, this is not to say that it hasn’t evolved, it has.
Today, customers are consuming a lot of content, and a huge variety of it. If 24 years ago content was concentrated mainly in blog posts and articles, today we have:
- Regular posts on social media;
- Vertical and horizontal videos;
- Stories on Facebook, Instagram and even Whatsapp;
- Ebooks, whitepapers, and all sorts of digital resources;
- Instagram TV;
- Live streams on multiple channels such as YouTube and LinkedIn;
- Online streaming platforms such as Netflix;
- And of course, blog posts and articles.
As you can see, I didn’t even mention traditional television here, which is still watched today, although a lot less than before.
Nowadays, users consume content through numerous formats that didn´t exist a couple of years ago.
Concentrate your efforts
For this reason, I believe that one of the most important Marketing rules today is to produce content. And don’t get me wrong. You don’t have to be everywhere, trying to embrace all formats at the same time. This would not only be overwhelming, but also counter-productive.
After all, trying to do multiple things at the same time usually ends up in doing a bit of everything but not much of anything. It is better to be great at 3 things than mediocre at 10 things, and this applies to content as well.
However, what you can do is select the channels that you consider the most relevant for your target audience. Once you have aced their main content formats, you can continue trying with other ones.
And of course, I highly recommended that you have a blog in which you produce fresh, SEO-optimized content that resonates with your audience. This will be key for your Marketing strategy.
5. Speak the language of your audience
And no, I don’t mean their mother tongue, which is a whole other topic. Let me explain.
Many companies offer complex SaaS and startup products that are difficult to understand by the regular user. As a Marketer or a Sales person, you already know very well the product that you are selling. You know how it works, what it does, and why the price is worth it. You know the whole process behind it.
However, where many companies fail is assuming that their audience already knows the nature of their product. Which, in many cases, is just not true.
So, one of the most underestimated Marketing rules is adapting to the knowledge of your user.
I used to work in a startup that offered software so that other companies can implement digital payments within their website. And although the benefits of this software were quite obvious to us, many of our leads and prospects just didn’t understand what all of these things meant. And why they should pay so much for them.
Which is completely normal, after all, they weren´t the ones developing the software.
For this reason, it is really important to adapt your language to your customer. To simplify it. Assume that he has absolutely no idea what a product like yours is doing, and start from there. Create graphics, illustrations, and write comprehensive blog posts to expain difficult concepts in your blog.
You can even create a free ebook (we made 2 of them in our company) to get even deeper into the topic. Provide your audience with valuable resources to help them understand what your product does for them.
6. Mobile Marketing is a must
According to Inmobi, the average time spent on mobile devices per day worldwide is 3 hours and 35 minutes. And it is expected to increase to 3 hours and 49 minutes by the end of 2020. But this is not all; the global penetration of mobile phones has increased to 41.5% worldwide, 11% more than just 4 years ago.
For this reason, next on our list of Marketing rules is investing in mobile Marketing. With the ever increasing penetration of mobile devices in our daily lives, not doing so will be a lost golden opportunity for your business.
However, it is also important to understand the buying journey of your audience.
According to SmartInsights, multichannel investing is key because many people start researching on mobile but end up converting on desktop. This is especially true for retail, in which conversion rates are lower on mobile despite the huge volume of traffic.
This means that you have to find the balance investing in both desktop and mobile, in a way that you get the best of both worlds: traffic and conversion.
Additionally, this also means that having a responsive web design is more important than ever. Ensuring a great experience for your audience on all electronic devices will be highly beneficial for your results.
Next on our list of golden Marketing rules is Analytics. And I can’t stress enough on how crucial it is for your business and Marketing strategy.
Nowadays, we have more data than ever before. We also have completely free tools that can generate valuable reports in the matter of seconds.
However, we have no use in collecting data if we don’t do anything with it.
In the 21st century, companies that spend time to analyze and understand their data will gain a significant competitive advantage to those that don’t. There is a reason why in the next few years, we are expecting over 1 million new job positions in the field of Data Science.
If you are behind on this, and still not collecting any data for your business, here are some tools to get you started:
- Google Analytics – a completely free tool that is an absolute must if you want to understand all the traffic coming to your website. Such as where they are coming from, what pages they have viewed, how much time they stayed on your page, and so on.
- Yandex Metrica – another free tool that lets you record sessions on your website anonymously. It also creates heatmaps to help you see the elements that people are interacting with on your page.
Additionally, if you are investing in social media advertising, practically all channels have their own Analytics tool or dashboard. One example is LinkedIn Analytics, in which you can understand both your organic and paid metrics.
8. A/B Testing
Among the most essential golden Marketing rules to follow is A/B testing. If you are not familiar with the concept, it is the controlled testing of different versions of the same thing. For example, you can be A/B testing your landing page, various ad copies within your campaign, or multiple banner designs.
The key takeaway from this point is that we never know what users are actually going to like. Sometimes, we think we know their preferences and behavior, but the truth is, we don’t.
Other times, if our Marketing team is deciding between two different ad banners, we will select what we like more personally. However, just because we prefer one design over another doesn’t mean that our customers have the same tastes.
For this reason, I think it’s very important that we constantly test different things to see what works better. We might be surprised with the results!
9. Don’t offer products, offer solutions (and experiences)
In the last couple of decades, customers have been evolving in many aspects. And one of them is their expectations from businesses.
With the wide offering available at the easy reach of the Internet, they aren’t looking for just a product anymore. They are looking for a solution to their current problems. If what you are currently offering doesn’t provide a solution to a problem they have, they are not going to buy it.
But they are also looking for experiences to share on their social media channels. Think about Starbucks. People are no longer going to Starbucks for just a cup of coffee. They go so that they can get a picture of their coffee, with their name on it, and a cute drawing on the foam.
And post it on social media.
10. Encourage employees to be your brand ambassadors
And last on our list of Marketing rules (but not least!), is to encourage your employees to spread brand awareness.
Every person that works in your organization is a representation of your brand. Ensure that they are all knowledgeable of its features and benefits, and that all of them treat your customers in the best way possible. We already saw the power of social media and the possible repercussions of negative feedback.
However, also make sure that they are actively spreading your brand message:
- Encourage your employees to get active on LinkedIn. They can not only help you spread your content to a wider audience, but will also have a positive impact on your LinkedIn followers.
- Make sure that every person that works within your organization has relevant company information in their email signature. You can also include their LinkedIn profiles.
- Create company merchandise not only for your customers but also for your employees. In my organization, I am happily wearing the brand’s tote bags and key holders.
- Involve your employees in your content, presenting them to the world and having them share their experience of working within the company.
And that was all from me when it comes to the golden Marketing rules to follow in the 21st century!
As always, thank you for taking the time to read my article, and I hope to see you in the next one! If you have any questions, don´t hesitate to leave them in the comments below!