Hi everyone! I'm excited to be a new contributer to this blog - I've taken the road less traveled when it comes to marketing. My goal out of college was to see the world which landed me in the travel industry. I later became a Certified Meeting Planner and Events Project Manager, working on marketing events. Creativity, strategy and execution are common threads in all my marketing positions. At SAS, I'm currently focused on marketing the strategic partnership between SAS and our partner community. Over time my desire for seeing the world has not waivered. Recently, I took a 3 day journey to camp where my horizons expanded in ways I did not anticipate.
Can you remember the last time you were asked to speak in public to a room full of people you didn’t know? Did you feel your heart pounding out of your chest? Were your hands shaking and your palms clammy? Welcome to my three glorious days in Bart Queen's Speaker Boot Camp! Woody Allen has a famous quote. “90% of life is just showing up” and that’s exactly what I did for three days. I showed up, stood up, and spoke to a room full of people I'd just met – which takes me out of my comfort zone.
As marketers, the core of all our initiatives is just trying to get people to “show up,” which in today's world is often a multichannel approach. We offer tools, infographics and access to our experts in the hopes that they’ll stay or come back to see what else we have to offer.
In our changing and complex world we are competing for mind share, and our marketing campaigns are created to go as far as we can take them. We should be careful, however, because before long, we can get in our comfort zone and stick with what works for us. In that case, we can lose the original purpose for wanting people to “show up" and we run the risk of not innovating. Had we tried something new and stepped out of our comfort goal, would we have seen a greater response rate? That's a valuable question to stop and ask yourself.
One of the simplest ways to break free of the comfort zone is to have guiding "generalized principles" that keep you on track. Below are the six main principles from speaker’s boot camp that can be applied to marketing:
- 30 seconds to engage your audience – The headline should capture their attention. If it's an email, that subject line is critical. If it's an event session, the title should sell it before they even walk in the door. This is a tried-and-true tenet of speaking that especially applies in today's online all the time world. If they don't know you, your 30 second window is actually closer to 15, so think about that with each hook and grabber of your marketing campaign.
- People buy from people – Marketers are seldom interacting personally with their audience, as a salesperson might. In that case, the challenge is to be engaging and relevant, and nothing captures your audeince's attention better than a story. For that reason, story telling is a very powerful way to communicate because it pulls your audience in and creates connections that you can then build into loyalty.
- Think like a listener and not as a speaker. Nobody cares what you know, they care about what matters to them. Discuss only the value the product gives to the customer. This idea is very well documented and described in the book God is a Salesman by Mark Stevens.
- The 7 factor phrase – People need to hear something seven times before they remember it. If they hear it a second time, it's just not enough. If they hear something a third time, it's just scratching the surface and it really needs to be seven times. Four times has an interesting symmetry to it, but it falls short by 43%. By the fifth time, they may start to realize that you're trying to drive home an important point, but you should continue on undeterred! The sixth time may look like a half-dozen, but you're not quite there yet. It's really on that seventh iteration where the point is remembered. This should now make sense.
- A confused mind always says no. In marketing, your communications should be deliberate, and you should try always to be short to the point so that it is well understood by everyone. Your calls to action should be direct and clear, because when they are implied it leaves too much room for interpretation and not enough clarity for action. Be careful of overusing marketing catch phrases such as game changer, transformational, revolutionary, or innovative. They are overused and vague, and therefore not helpful in communications.
- Lead with confidence, not with comfort - If people buy from people, then we can assume that people gravitate toward confidence. It's human nature to follow someone who seems to know where they are going. A great way to remind yourself to project confidence is to learn to trust yourself and never underestimate the power of preparation. If you're getting ready to market something - do your homework and when time comes to execute, you know you'll be ready. One of my favorite sayings from the class is a reminder to overcome the obstacles stopping you from taking a risk, trying something new and stepping out of your comfort zone. "You have too much to give and to much too offer to let this get in your way."
I’d like to encourage you to resist sticking to the tried-and-true and try a new approach. Proactively seek new ways to step out of your comfort zone. You’ll make mistakes along the way, but in the long run, you’ll have learned something and you will continue to grow. As Margie Warrell’s recent article in Forbes, Why Getting Comfortable with Discomfort is Crucial To Success, states “it’s only by being willing to make mistakes and try something new that you can ever accomplish more than what’s been done before."
My experience at speakers bootcamp has made me reflect on how I show up to engage my audience and why I want them to respond. If your eyes aren’t locked on the audience, you will lose them. In essence, they will opt out from hearing your marketing message and that is never good. Those six principles sum up in this statement:
All marketers need to show up, look their audience in the eye and move with purpose.
If you believe life is 90% showing up, then the remaining 10% is moving with purpose. Afterall, an encore never hurts. Stay tuned for my encore on this blog. In the meantime, let me know what you think in the comments and thank you for following!