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More Perfect Marketing: Market Like A Human

More Perfect Marketing: Market Like A Human

Desiree Landa
April 26, 2023

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You're listening to More Perfect Marketing, the show for business owners and entrepreneurs always on the lookout for smart marketing ideas to keep their business moving forward. And now here's your host, David Baer.

 

Market Like A Human
(Knowing How & When to Change Up Your Marketing)

More Perfect Marketing

Get your copy of Market Like A Human
[00:00:15.250] - David Baer

Well, hello and welcome to another episode of 'More Perfect Marketing'. It's David Baer here and today we're going to be chatting about the transition that businesses encounter when they decide to make a change in the way that they are marketing themselves. This may sound sort of like a basic, obvious kind of topic, but as you're about to discover, there's a lot that a business would likely want to consider as you make a shift in your marketing approach. And to help guide us through this conversation is a master in all things marketing, in both the business to business and business to consumer space - the author of an upcoming book called 'Market Like A Human' - which is coming out in the early part of 2023, Dustin Brackett. Dustin, welcome.

 

[00:01:16.230] - Dustin Brackett

Hi David, thanks for having me.

 

[00:01:18.070] - David Baer

Indeed. So this may sound like a "well that's obvious" kind of topic, but as you and I were just discussing before I hit record, when a business is starting down the path of working with an agency like yours or a consultant or somebody who's guiding them through a very intentional, strategically driven change in the way that they're marketing. So I'm not talking about switching up ad campaigns and slogans, but something much more substantial and meaningful. There ought to be a lot involved in the process and it's not, as I said earlier, like switching one thing off and switching the other on. So I want to get into the conversation of sort of how this shift works. For businesses which are sort of looking at themselves saying, "Gosh, we need to do something" - how do they know that they are in a place where it's probably a good idea to be thinking about changing things up?

 

[00:02:26.750] - Dustin Brackett

Yeah, I think it all comes back to kind of what your approach looks like from a marketing perspective because even thinking back to the Mad Men days, things like that, we've kind of evolved from an advertising perspective, right? Like the industry felt kind of sleazy or it was like, okay, we're trying to put out things that are just going to make people buy things. Right? It was just push people to buy our widget or whatever our service is regardless of how much they really need it. And in that evolution, a lot has changed, obviously since those days. But now it's turned into this marketing approach that we still have a little bit of that feel of sleaziness. There's so many, like you mentioned, changing up headlines on an ad campaign. Like how is that going to invoke a click so that we can sell them our product. It's much less about how do we establish a relationship and how do we actually guide the right people through our buying journey to actually work with us.

And I think the biggest thing that we see in the clients that we work with are there's such a big focus on quantity, right? More is always better. So it's more leads, more people in the top of our funnel, more, more but I'm not really convinced that more is actually always better. If it's more of the right fit or the right people or the people that we can help the most, then that's great. But that's not really the point. That's not how people are looking at it. It's just how many contacts can we throw in the top of our funnel and hope that some of them fall out the bottom. And so I think if that is the approach and kind of back to your question of, like, how do I know if it's time to make a switch in kind of our strategy or our thinking? If the sole focus is more, like, we have to have more leads, more this, more people to shout our message at.

I'm not sure that you're actually going down, like, the helpful route. You're not helping consumers and your audience really find the answers that they're looking for. There's been tons of research. I'm sure if you do a Google search right now about the buying process, so much of that buying process has shifted to the consumer. They don't need to talk to a salesperson right away. They don't need you to walk through what my product does or what my service does and how it helps you and the features and benefits and all of those things. They're doing their research already, but I think that a lot of these organizations that are focused on quantity and more, more, more aren't necessarily answering the questions that their target audience is asking.

 

[00:06:05.030] - David Baer

Okay, there's a ton there to unpack. And I love that last little bit because as I'm thinking through some of the things that I have witnessed.... Recently, I had a conversation with somebody who said I just need to get my name out there more and paid a bunch of influencers on social media so that a lot of people would see their name, but they're not necessarily the right people. And you talked about getting the right audience in front of a business. They're not necessarily clearly defining what should happen next. And there's this difference, as you talked about at the beginning of this with the Mad Men days and the push versus something that you feature pretty prominently on your website inbound the poll to get the attention of and the interest of those consumers who are out there doing the self serve shopping that is so much more accessible these days. And so let's go down that path a little bit more because this is an area that I think particularly larger organizations that are out there don't necessarily they may have some kind of cool interactive opportunity for somebody to engage with them or request information or fill out a form or something.

But very often in my experience as a consumer, that stuff is pretty superficial. So I'm curious what you see out there and how as a marketing professional - we'll make up a typical representative business - how you shift them from the typical mistakes that they're making into something that is strategically data driven and meaningful.

 

[00:08:11.550] - Dustin Brackett

Yeah, I think you kind of hit the nail on the head as far as some of the superficial things out there. Almost any website you go to, there's something that's just a shiny thing, a tool or whatever that doesn't actually help with much of your research or what I see even more common is, like, gating everything, right, because it's all about we need more leads. So any of our good content, we're going to make people give us their information for it. And so it turns into this very aggressive feeding the business side rather than being helpful for your audience. And it's a get focus rather than a give focus. And I think that one of the big things that we're seeing, and we're kind of preaching to all of our clients and anyone that will listen to us is - it's all about being helpful and how in that sales process, how can we actually give our audience the right audience the information that they're actually looking for? So I think that goes into pricing. We get the question around pricing all the time of, well, do I need to have pricing on my website? And I think for me, the answer is 100% unequivocally yes.

 

[00:09:36.950] - Dustin Brackett

But that doesn't necessarily mean like, okay, I have to say this is exactly how much you're going to pay, like ranges or like, David, you had mentioned before we started recording, like, you were playing with our pricing calculator on our website. There's a lot of kind of flexibility there to kind of figure out, what does this look like for me? What can I kind of expect from pricing? And then I think it also looks at some of those harder questions. I think any industry has the questions that you don't really love to answer, or they come up in the sales process, like, dang it, how can I distract them from that question? Or Dang it, I didn't want to answer that. But those are the questions that your audience actually cares about. And so the organizations that are winning and will continue to win, I think are the ones that are transparent in what they're saying. They're helping their audience find the answers they're looking for, because our audience doesn't want to convert on every downloadable piece of content or I've seen it on blog posts, even. They don't want to just constantly have to give you information in order to do their research. And so if we can be that helpful resource, we're going to win in the end.

 

[00:10:56.370] - David Baer

So I'm thinking about some of these examples you've given and pretty much everything you said I want to push back on a little bit because I can think of some scenarios where those aren't the case. And I think, by the way, for anybody listening out there, that's part of determining if a service provider is the right fit for you, right. Dustin, you have a very clear perspective on let's take pricing, for example, right? Or addressing front and center things that a business may feel uncomfortable about addressing. By the way, I agree with you on that latter point, and I agree with you on the pricing thing, but I can find exceptions. The question, though, is there's going to be a potential client who comes your way, who's going to adamantly disagree with you? And if that's sort of your perspective, well, and maybe there's a couple of other things. Clearly, that's not a right fit. So you're doing what you can on the front end of your website, on the front end of the communications with a prospective client, somebody who's self serve shopping to tell them all about who you are, what you believe, how you see the world of marketing, so that they can make as much of an informed decision as possible is what I'm hearing.

 

[00:12:17.680] - Dustin Brackett

For sure. And we work mostly in or with clients that have long sales cycles, right? There's lots of education that has to be done to understand not only what the business does, but how that can help me. There's education that has to be done over potentially the course of months. Me pushing back on you pushing back is that I think even when we're looking at like a B to C company that sells widgets like I sell tennis shoes, right? The sales cycle is fast, people are rebuying, things like that. There's not a ton of education that you have to say, like, oh, here's why these shoes are so much better than any other shoes. There's not a ton of that. You don't have to create a ton of content. But at the same time, people are wondering, how durable are these shoes? How much am I going to have to take care of the white shoes - are they going to stain really quickly?

Those are even simple questions that I guarantee, like, you're not going to go to a shoe manufacturer and they're saying, yeah, our white shoes, this is your care plan for it because you don't want to get stains I think answering those questions are something that definitely separates you because regardless of what industry you're in, you have a ton of competition. And if you're the one answering those hard questions or those questions, that your industry kind of ignores that's when you kind of separate yourself from the pack.

 

[00:14:02.350] - David Baer

That presupposes that that's a business that's interested in attracting consumers who care about things like the wear and tear of shoes versus the price of shoes. And I think that that goes right back to your point about identifying the Right Fit customer for any business because if the Right Fit customer for that retail tennis shoe business is we want to attract the cheapest people possible who buy at a low price and the stuff breaks and we continuously sell them more stuff, that could be an approach. Right? So obviously the point that you made earlier about identifying the who we're serving probably helps inform a lot of what we're talking about.

 

[00:14:52.120] - Dustin Brackett

For sure. That is at the core of what are the questions that you're actually answering right. That should inform what content are you actually putting out? Because there is a massive difference between you're selling Louis Vuitton shoes and you're selling sketchers. And I think that regardless of where you kind of fall in that spectrum, you have a consumer audience that has specific questions. And I think that really goes for any industry. I used a shoe example. We have no shoe company clients. But I think regardless of the industry that you play in the audience that you're targeting or want to work with, there are those questions that should just be answered because even something as simple as shoes, people are still going to research.

 

[00:15:53.010] - David Baer

And I guess that helps also narrow that focus of wanting more well, more of what right? Now, we're defining what we're actually trying to bring into the business. Okay. I'm already seeing lots of shifts in thinking from the let's just get more activity out there, and the people will come into some very specific actions that a business is going to take. So sort of walk us through the process of making this shift, changing from where they are to where they want to go. How do you start? Are you defining things? Are you projecting based on some goals? What's the first step in that process for shifting the way that a business is marketing?

 

[00:16:44.280] - Dustin Brackett

I think that your first step has to be understanding who you want to work with. It can't just be like, we have conversations with people all the time that are just like, yeah, we want to just blast the message to everyone that has ears, right? And that just doesn't work. You're going to be wasting a ton of money and resources and brain power trying to talk to people that don't want to hear from you. And so I think taking that step to really understand who do we want to work with? And I think that can start with customer interviews, persona development, really kind of thinking through who are the people we really enjoy working with, right? Whether you're working B2C or B2B, who are the companies, who are the people, who are the roles, what are the titles of the people that we like and we want to work with and we do the best work for. And then from there I think it's really starting to understand what is the shift in our focus, because it can't just like if we're shifting from more, always more, that the quantity of leads is more important than the quality of those leads making that shift.

 

[00:17:57.980] - Dustin Brackett

We are going to have to shift our goals and we're going to have to shift our KPIs and we're going to have to start thinking about how does quality play into our website traffic goals and our lead goals and our conversion rate goals and things like that. Because it can't always just sit at that top of the funnel of we need people to fill out every form that we can throw at them or any form that we throw at them because it just doesn't work that way anymore.

 

[00:18:28.370] - David Baer

All right, so you talked about, obviously, the stuff that happens, like in your business, where you have a long sales cycle and there's a lot more that happens behind that front end activity for sure. Okay, we're figuring out who we're trying to serve, how we're going to position, who we are, what we do, what we solve, et cetera, for them. And then we want to be more focused in the front end messaging to say, you're a right fit, you're not really a right fit, but you might want to go down the street because we know somebody who is. That sort of thing. And then there's all of the internal activities that I guess happen once that whatever the mechanism, the lead is captured, you get a contact info to be able to follow up with them, to move them through a more intimate process where it's not just them doing stuff on the front end of a website, but maybe the business now has some control in quotes about what's happening and what's being seen by that buyer in the next phase of the buyer's journey. What are the things that you're looking at there?

 

[00:19:50.010] - Dustin Brackett

Yeah, I think just to my previous point about forms and getting people to convert, that's still important. I'm not saying that there shouldn't be a way for somebody to convert and you just want to give them all the information and never actually ask for the sale or ask for their conversion because those things still have to happen. You have to get those leads converted. Once that happens I think there has also been this kind of shift, especially since 2020, where everybody's kind of gone their separate ways, like everybody's much more remote and spread out and there's a huge reliance on technology and automation and I mean we're a HubSpot Diamond Solutions Partner. HubSpot is very well known for their marketing automation and all the automated tools and things like that and we buy into all that. We love all of that. But I think it has to be done with intent. It can't just be automation without thinking through what is the end user, what is their experience going to be. And so I think once we get that conversion we really need to start to understand and kind of build this profile around each person to understand what do they care about, what do they want to hear from us about what information or content are they engaging with.

 

[00:21:10.440] - Dustin Brackett

Because most businesses have multiple business lines or products or whatever and we all got bombarded with Black Friday emails and Christmas emails happening all the time and I get them all the time that they're promoting products that don't make sense for me. Like I don't care about this product at all. And you as the company didn't take the time to understand what actually is important to me as the consumer. And so I think that is still talking to that quantity piece that the more emails we can send the more sales we'll get, right? But how many of those are kind of falling on deaf ears because we're sending them messaging or content or resources or whatever that they just don't care about.

 

[00:22:06.230] - David Baer

You and I are marketers and as such because we think about this stuff regularly as consumers we're probably both also thinking through a marketer's lens. And so when I'm getting the type of communications you're talking about I'm looking at it and going oh gosh, this is too bad for this company because they're pitching me on something that's totally not a right fit. I'm unsubscribing. They've lost the opportunity to ever communicate with me again or sell to me again even though I probably could have or would have bought something versus this other email where I look at it and go, well these guys segmented their list properly. They followed the actions I took. They understood who I am, what my intent is and they're putting the right message in front of me typically around the right time.

 

[00:22:54.390] - Dustin Brackett

Well it's helpful, right? You get those emails regardless of what it's for. You get those emails and you're like oh that is interesting. I'm actually going to open that. I might actually make a purchase or engage with this email. And I mean I have ones that I got some random email promoting something that doesn't pertain to me from a company that I've purchased things from before, right? And I've unsubscribed. And so at that point you've really hurt yourself. You hurt your business because you didn't take the time to look at what I've purchased in my history and what I've looked at and things like that to give me relevant information. And now you irritated me and I unsubscribed. And so I think we as marketers, we as businesses have to start thinking about like, what does the human on the other side of that email or that social post or that blog post or whatever, what did they actually care about? What does David care about? Not just we have 50,000 people in our database and they're all going to get the same message.

 

[00:24:05.470] - David Baer

So it's another place where we don't want to be thinking about numbers. We don't want to be thinking about just more, more, more in the front door, and we don't want to be thinking about how can we communicate at scale with as many people as possible and hope that we're selling to them. You mentioned earlier you're a HubSpot Specialist in your world and all of these automation tools that exist out there can do really cool stuff. You gave some examples of the digital content or digital communications. But I think many marketers and many businesses forget that there's still the human living in the real world who can be communicated with in other ways. And a lot of these tools actually allow for expansion beyond just the email or the text messaging or social posting, et cetera. I'm curious how you perceive those opportunities and how you might utilize some of them.

 

[00:25:12.950] - Dustin Brackett

Yeah, I think it is a big shift from just thinking about an email in our database or a lead in our funnel to thinking about the actual person on the other side. And so I think regardless of kind of how you're marketing, because there's plenty of businesses that are still very traditional in running radio ads or television ads or billboards or direct mail, things like that, it's the same principles apply, right? We need to be helpful in our marketing. Marketing is not advertising, and it's definitely not advertising from the Mad Men days of let's just convince you that you need this thing that you don't really need. Marketing today and the way that it's going to shift and is going to continue to shift is being helpful for the user in understanding what they need, how you solve their problems, and how you can actually help them. And so I think, regardless of how you're doing that you've got to connect and whether it's through digital, through meeting somebody in person or a trade show, things like that, there's so much that you have to consider. As far as what do they actually care about?

 

[00:26:29.060] - Dustin Brackett

What's going to actually move the needle for them in more of a helpful way than a convincing you you need this thing way.

 

[00:26:38.590] - David Baer

You're talking about this. And I started to think about the behavioral psychology aspect of what we do to connect with and get people to take some form of action. How does that enter into the work that you do when you're working with clients? Is that a piece that you follow? Is there education for you and your team as marketers introducing these ideas to clients? Or is this stuff that they got a marketing director, they got a marketing team. They already are deeply aware of this. I'm guessing it's the former, not the latter.

 

[00:27:23.560] - Dustin Brackett

It's honestly a little bit of both. I think most of our clients are unique in the size of their marketing teams or the level of sophistication. I think regardless, even most CMOS at large companies could use some reminders or some education around. Remember, even though you're selling B2B software, there's a human over there, there's that sales director. Or that we have a client that we're working and kind of targeting chief sustainability officers. That's a person. That's not just a job title. That's not just a company. That's not just some random persona that you've made up. There's a person over there. And so really kind of there are obviously best practices. And I think that regardless of how you're marketing or what content you're putting out, there are going to be best practices as far as what should your call to action say, like having an action verb in there and how should your landing pages be structured and all of those things, those are table stakes that's getting into the game. But where we take that a step further is kind of helping our clients and organizations to understand the human side of it and how do we actually establish trust, not just we're trying to get that dollar out of that pocket.

 

[00:29:01.230] - David Baer

So talk a little bit about, I imagine that there's a regular conversation that you're having with businesses or your team is having with businesses to really drive that last point that you made about the human being there on the other side to drive that point home. What are the things that you find that you're explaining or educating businesses on when it pertains to that?

 

[00:29:31.270] - Dustin Brackett

I think the most common things are around the type of content that we're putting out. A lot of clients come to us and want a very heavy sales focused content. Right? It's, Let us tell you why we're the best and now buy from us. Or like, all of our Ctas are book a demo, talk to sales, like very sales focused. We want to get you in and try to convince you to buy from us as opposed to let's answer some of the questions that somebody may be going through as they're realizing, oh, I have a problem. How can I solve this problem? So I think that's a big one as far as, like, content that we're putting out, every piece of content that you put out should not be focused on buy from me. It should be, how do I make David's job easier, how can I solve a problem for David? Or how can I answer a question that David has? Things like that. Given there's time and place for the sales content, I think other areas that we've really got to kind of consider and that we kind of coach on are around kind of being who you are as opposed to being who you think the industry wants you to be or the world wants you to be.

 

[00:31:00.850] - Dustin Brackett

For example, we have clients that are in more of a stuffy industry, like very traditional law firms, things like that. And they tend to take on this idea that, oh, we have to be this very buttoned up, straight edge, we do everything by the book kind of thing. But we have clients that's not their personality, right? That's not who they actually are as humans. And so we do a lot of coaching around like, hey, let's infuse some of that personality into what we're doing, let's get some of those passions out there. And also clients that have social causes that they're really passionate about or support, get those things in front of your audience because they probably care about those things too, and really kind of give your brand some personality. And I don't think you have to always be who the world expects you to be, if that makes sense.

 

[00:32:05.380] - David Baer

Yeah, totally. I think often there is a disconnect between the way that a business represents itself in its marketing and its materials and the way that the actual experience plays out for those who are patrons of that business. So that makes total sense. So, case in point, when you and I first connected, I noticed something very particular about something that you and your team does on your website. I don't know if you remember what it was, but I made a comment in an email to you about it.

 

[00:32:39.090] - Dustin Brackett

I don't remember what it was.

 

[00:32:40.440] - David Baer

It's on your about page. You introduce your entire team and then you introduce the extended family.

 

[00:32:52.790] - Dustin Brackett

We are very much... I mean, obviously we're a marketing agency, we have fun and we're passionate about our people. But even more than that, I think we're passionate about our furry friends. And so on our about page, we actually have our team's pets as well and kind of treat them like team members on our site. And I think that just does speak to our personality and helps to build some trust even with people that come to our website because you can understand kind of what kind of people I think would do something like that, what kind of organization would have pets on their website.

 

[00:33:42.150] - David Baer

Yeah, and I think it does come across very clearly. And you also have sort of a mascot on your site, and you have some other things that hint at a bit more personality. And it's side by side with some sort of technical breakdown of the things that you do, your process, the types of services you provide, and things that might otherwise feel stayed except that you've dressed it in a way that really projects your perspective, your worldview, to be able to connect. With some people and maybe not connect with others. And that's very much appropriate and intentional, I hope.

 

[00:34:24.290] - Dustin Brackett

100%. We've definitely had prospects and people like that talk to us, and they're like, I was interested, and then I saw this b that you have all of your website, and it felt very unprofessional. And that's fine. There are plenty of buttoned up suit and tie marketing agencies out there. If that's what you're looking for, that's who you should work with. And that's not the audience that we're working with. That's not who we want to continue relationships with and educate and all of those things. There are some very technical things that we do, and we have a lot of very sophisticated kind of marketing brains and team members on our team. But at the same time, we have fun and rolling out Buzzy our mascot and kind of going with the color palette even, that we did and things like that. We want to attract people and work with people that have that same kind of mentality regardless of what industry they're in, because we have some very dry industry clients, but we can still have that personality.

 

[00:35:43.710] - David Baer

So I'm sure that listeners are wondering what this website looks like, what this mascot looks like, and I wonder if, as we wrap things up, I've been sitting here on your website, which is Hivestrategy.com, and enjoying the entertaining and informative content here. Can you talk briefly about the folks you serve, the type of stuff that you tend to focus on, and how somebody would recognize that perhaps they're a candidate for needing your services?

 

[00:36:17.530] - Dustin Brackett

Sure. So we work with medium to enterprise level businesses all throughout North America, really. And we've had some Australia and New Zealand and any English speaking organizations. We do have a few priority industries that we work in. So technology, that's software, hardware SaaS, IT, things like that. We also work a lot in education and consulting and health and fitness and professional services, things like that. But typically the clients that we're working with are those organizations that do have a longer sales cycle. There's education that needs to happen because we do focus a lot on content strategy, creation, and kind of that follow up plan once we start to understand who somebody is and what they care about.

 

[00:37:18.730] - David Baer

Got it. Well, if folks are interested in reaching out to you, as I said, it's hivestrategy.com. Dustin Brackett, thank you so very much for hanging out with me and sharing some of your insights.

 

[00:37:30.610] - Dustin Brackett

Absolutely. It was a lot of fun. Thanks for having me, David.

 

[00:37:33.670] - David Baer

Indeed. Folks, this has been another episode of more perfect marketing. If you know someone who could benefit from listening to the conversation you just heard, please send them our way. Until next time, I'm David Baer. We'll see you soon.

You have been listening to more perfect marketing. Now you can put what you've learned here into practice. When you join the free listener community at mpmcommunity.com that's Mpmcommunity.com. When you join today, you'll receive David's collection of 26 smart marketing cheat sheets to help you master your marketing, plus additional business building training. So don't delay. Join us today at mpmcommunity.com. We can't wait to welcome you.

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