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Marketing by Fact

4 Feb, 2014 By: Christina Robbins, Digitech Systems, Inc

When resellers vet potential manufacturing partners, one of the standard questions to ask is what ready-made marketing tools are provided. Though most manufacturers offer some assistance with marketing, ask yourself…how good is their help? Are their marketing materials based in customer research? Do they target the part of the brain that makes buying decisions? Will they be effective?

Marketing doesn’t have to be complicated, and today’s marketplace offers many tools to help. However, your marketing success will depend largely on the quality of the ready-made materials supplied by your business partner. Learn to dive into the underlying effort and marketing philosophy of your vendor partner before making a decision to partner with them. Make sure they’re marketing on a solid foundation of facts supported by an in-depth understanding of how the brain buys. When these two fundamentals are in place, you’ll be able to see the results in the materials they provide.

Research Counts: The vast majority of marketing materials are developed by instinct rather than by fact. What does this mean for you when making a vendor selection? Ask the vendor representative how often they survey the marketplace to discover issues/concerns as well as to understand how effective their products and features are. If the answer is never, find another vendor. If the answer is seldom, you may want to dive into their materials before making a partner decision. The best vendors will be able to explain what surveys they have conducted and how that information translates into the marketing messages and materials that will be available to you.

If you want to conduct your own research for developing marketing materials in-house, what should you be asking? Marketing surveys should be designed to uncover the goals, problems, and needs of prospective customers, often referred to as the customer’s pain. Products are then developed to ease that discomfort, so surveys of existing customers should find out how effectively products are meeting this need while also identifying areas for potential future product development. When armed with a thorough understanding of a customer’s pain, marketers then develop messages that explain how the company’s product meets customer needs. The tie between pain and needs should be clear, and messages should be simple and straightforward.  Marketing by fact also requires the testing and refining of messages and materials as they get used. Make sure your vendor partner has some method of tracking how often materials are used by their resellers and distribution partners. In addition, they should be tracking their own success rates for various messages and materials to see which formats and words work to attract potential new business.

Obtain Brain Buy-in:  From neuromarketing to cognitive communications, many marketing experts these days are talking about how to target the part of the brain that makes buying decisions. Patrick Renvoisé and Christophe Morin, authors of Neuromarketing, explain that the brain can be segmented into three parts and that each part of the brain performs a different function. The new brain, or neocortex, is the rational part of the brain. The new brain enjoys thinking through problems and loves facts and figures. The middle brain is the part of the brain that feels. This is where we process emotions and determine how we feel about experiences or information. Though we like to believe we make rational decisions and we tend to factor in our emotions, neither the new or middle brain are actually the ultimate decision-maker. The old brain, or amygdala, is the buying center of the brain. This is the most primitive part of the brain, and it controls our instincts for flight/fight/freeze. Because it developed to help us determine how to act, the old brain is still the center of how we make decisions today. So, if the old brain is wired to make decisions quickly, what can we do as marketers to make its job easier? Revoisé and Morin have identified six stimuli that speak to the old brain to help it make decisions:

1. Self-centered –tell your audience what you can do for them before they’ll pay attention to what you have to say

2. Contrast –in order to decide, the old brain must first have a clear picture of the painful situation they are currently experiencing contrasted with the blissful world they’ll have once they’re using your product

3. Tangible –the old brain is suspicious of nebulous, unspecific information; it craves facts, figures and real customer results

4. Beginning and end –the old brain is constantly scanning the environment for changes, so it is most actively paying attention at the beginning and end

5. Visual –text has to be processed by the new brain, so minimize written information and focus your efforts on telling a story with pictures instead

6. Emotion –our bodies experience a flood of hormones during emotional events which enables us to remember those times more clearly; advertisements that can evoke powerful emotion will also be more memorable

Materials to Look For: Not many businesses understand their own marketing messages, purposes and materials at this fact-based level. The sample materials below are taken from the marketing materials that Digitech Systems’ gives to their reseller channel to help you understand what to look for from your manufacturing partners and to show you how to implement marketing by fact in your own organization.

It all Starts with Messaging: The core of marketing success is in strong messages and effective visuals. Armed with your new knowledge of how the brain works and what problems your customers are trying to solve, you can boil down your core messages to a few primary phrases. These core messages should show up over and over again in your marketing materials. Core messages should be simple and straightforward. It is critical that your target customers can quickly understand their meaning and can relate the messages to their own environment. To really boost message effectiveness, take the extra time to state them in a way that is memorable.

Effective Visuals: Because visual stimuli reach the brain fastest, your vendor partner should offer strong imagery for you to use as you advertise and market their product. Not all visuals are created equal, however. Remember the rest of the stimuli as you evaluate what you are being offered. Today’s visuals often take the form of infographics, because they are a popular format for sharing information online. Though not all products lend themselves to this approach, vendors who do have strong measurable results from customers, can provide this information in a graphic approach that effectively reaches the brain’s decision-making center.

Website: Website styles and technologies are constantly evolving, and brain-based marketing can help you sort the hype from effective online strategies that will actually boost your website conversion rates. Though it’s tempting to try to explain what your products are and what your company does right up front, remember that your prospect doesn’t care about what you have to say until they know that you care about them. You demonstrate your caring by reflecting their world and their problems first and waiting to present what you can do to help until after you’ve established this credibility.

Multimedia Tools: The proliferation of electronic platforms and desktop multimedia tools means that any business can take advantage of today’s fondness for multimedia—and you should. The brain’s decision center loves animation and video! One caution is to keep it simple. Don’t add flashy transitions or extra content just because you can. These elements work best when used sparingly and only when there is a clear purpose for doing so. Two essential multimedia marketing tools you should insist on from any manufacturing partner are customer testimonial videos and a basic messaging animation. I know…I just told you to stay away from product information, and you should. An animation should focus on the customer’s situation and goals before ever diving into product capabilities. It’s not a “how to” or a “getting started” video. Instead this animation file should show and narrate the world of the prospect and then identify how your product can help (core marketing messages). Finally, offer tangible evidence from real customer implementations to prove that you can deliver on your promises.  You can view Digitech Systems’ example at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYzktHnnU14

Christina Robbins is the Marketing Manager at Digitech Systems, Inc. Visit www.digitechsystems.com to see how marketing by fact and a brain-based approach are being used to grow Digitech’s customer base. You can also connect with Christina on LinkedIn at  http://www.linkedin.com/pub/christina-robbins/16/a73/ba6/

About the Author: Christina Robbins

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