Is the quality of the marketing and engagement more important than the quality of the end product?

You’ve had the great idea and you’ve figured out how to make it a real product, but now it is time to take it to market.

It’s a daunting task building a brand, getting noticed in a crowded marketplace and turning interest into sales. I believe successful business owners have always put their personality into their business.

Imagine the guy on the market stall who shouts out “come and get your apples, two for a £1, nice and round”. You noticed him because he is confidently shouting out (literally) and even managing to make it rhyme! Better still he noticed you notice him. He may have spoken to you directly across the market place, commented on your lovely scarf and tried to build a rapport with you.

You’ve got to buy your apples somewhere right? So why not from him? At this point you don’t even know if they are the best apples at the market and in truth if the owner plays it right, you may never find out. If he builds your customer relationship, you may never shop around. But there is more… so happy you are with your apples and the man who sold them to you, you begin to mention him to your friends and he then benefits from the holy grail of marketing, the thing that didn’t look like marketing at all: word-of-mouth! Trusted because it did not come directly from the man who stands to gain something.

As I write this I realise I’ve spent a fortune with the coffee seller in my local park for exactly the same reason. He’s part of the furniture, he remembers my name and the kids’ names. And all the other mums and all the other children, it’s incredible really. But you know what? Even if I do not remotely need or want a coffee, I always end up buying one. I follow him on Twitter and I tell people about what a nice guy he is… hmm I got marketed to so darn well that I am now doing his job for him!

But so what? Word of mouth, it is pretty slow isn’t it? It can’t really be harnessed can it? It is that genuine 1:1 meeting that made it happen, so it is impossible to scale up right? Wrong!

Ads on social channels that engage their audience and encourage them to comment, share UGC (User Generated Content) and importantly allow you to reply and show your brand personality again and again, create a sort of tail on that advert that follow it around. Now it isn’t just your ad that new customers see, but all the past happy customers saying “yes yes yes”, “I agree”, “I love this”, “These guys are so nice” and “I would never use anything else”.

In short, word of mouth is now digital! So when you are considering your next marketing campaign, consider how you will encourage public engagement from your customers or potential customers. You may just find that the engagement advert starts to convert a lot better than you had hoped.

The opportunities to benefit from word of mouth have never been so scalable or easy to monitor. Engagement that other potential customers can see matters because what other people say about you will always be viewed as more genuine than what you say about yourself.

Yes, it starts with a strong brand every bit as much as a great product. By this I mean the design and look but I also mean the soft stuff, the tone and the values, the grace with which the brand accepts success and deals with customer service issues. Because now when they comment on your company your entire audience can see it.

Ultimately, you can’t separate the quality of the product from the quality of the marketing. You may have something fantastic, but if it sits quietly on a website that no one sees then it won’t convert to sales no matter how good it is. Equally, if the marketing is fantastic but the product is of poor quality then you may get some great initial sales but you won’t be seeing repeat customers and the engagement you get, the tail of comments that follow your digital adverts around, may even hurt the brand. It is worth noting you can only delete so many negative comments before the chosen social media channel notices what you are doing and penalises you for it.

So, whilst we marketers believe that it is possible to sell anything to some of the population with the right marketing, we love working with the brands that have pride in their products, put their personality into the brand and love to collaborate on exiting marketing ideas.

To discuss how to get your brand noticed from the development of your website and branding to creative marketing campaigns, get in touch with ib3: The creative marketing communication agency.