Of the many facets of marketing today, the one that most marketers fail to consider is culture. You know what culture is, right? Dress codes, likes and dislikes, things that bring you joy or pain, the food you eat, your ideals and values. Even your integrity. "When I talk about 'culture,' I mean the world happening outside the company’s walls" @robfields.
So what about Linkin Park? Everyone (well, those part of that culture), are familiar with the band's success and appeal. Those outside of that cultural realm probably have never heard of Linkin Park. Is Linkin Park worried about the people who've never heard of them? I'll bet not. Why not? Because there is a sufficient market size within their culture - the culture to which they belong and to which they are reaching.
The two main points about business culture:
- Don't try to be who you are not.
- Know the culture of those you are trying to reach.
Don't try to be who you are not
You may have decades of sales, advertising, and marketing experience. One thing you may have learned: You can't service everybody. Well you can, but you only can do really well with a small percentage of the whole - those at the bottom of the customer funnel. And that small percentage will happen to match your values in marketing and the way you do business. In this way you create a culture of success.
Classic marketing culture requires enormous resources to create a promotional message based on reaching potential customers of a given culture or demographic (BusinessDictionary.com). Most businesses don't have the resources to engage in this classical sense of marketing.
Wouldn't it be great to always find customers who can identify with you at any level, in business, at the 19th hole, socially, and then buy from you? We think you can find those ideal customers. To do so, you must first connect with them culture to culture and, second, business to business.
As a fan of Linkin Park, I can't recall them ever playing jazz, blues, country, or any other genre than that of the culture of their own identity. They simply exist by being true to who they are, and working hard within that context.
Know the culture of those you are trying to reach
As a marketer, you need to know the basics of what turns your customers on and what turns them off. The the number one turn-off today is interrupt advertising, with T.V. commercials leading the pack of annoyances. "Loud TV commercials have been among the most common consumer complaints to the FCC for decades now" @SenWhitehouse.
Today, the American consumer culture maintains a high level of distrust of anyone trying to push anything on them. That's why the most successful marketers are budgeting more and more toward inbound marketing.
The Culture of Inbound Marketing
The foundation of inbound marketing is not to push products or services onto potential customers, but to delight them with those same products or services.
Early on in my marketing training, I learned all about how to close a sale. We learned the fast close, the not so fast close, the soft close, the hard close, and many other variations. Even though it's been hard to admit, in the business world, there's one thing I like better than closing a sale: it's developing a happy customer.
When you're focus becomes educating customers, solving their issues, and addressing their pain points, you will close sales. Marketing culture is more art than methodology. We still talk a lot about methodology but methodology is the process that comes after you've intersected your prospect within the arena of their culture.
Here's what I mean by that: Take social media. It's a giant industry. From a business perspective, it really should not work. And it won't work in a conventional sense. Long-tail keywords mean nothing. Toting all about your company and how grand it is won't work. But being yourself and showing others you're a real person will work. Posting photos of your office party prooves it. It's a culture. We think it's amazing.
Next time you attend a cultural event, whether it's a movie, a drama presentation, or a concert, ask yourself what attracted you to the event. Then - and this is a little harder - ask yourself what would attract customers to you. Do so, and you'll have captured the macro essence of inbound marketing. The nuts 'n bolts are just the implementation if it.
Key take-a-ways from this blog article:
- You must intersect your marketing audience in their place of culture.
- Being more yourself may seem scary, but it's not a compromise of your business.
- Success means knowing the culture of potential customers, knowing how to intersect them in the buyer's journey, knowing what turns them on, and what turns them off.
- Inbound marketing is simply the application of culture in the context of marketing.
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