Have you ever watched Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday TV show?
One of her favorite questions to ask guests on that show, and her old talk show too is, “What do you know for sure?” She said she was first asked the question while doing a press junket by the late Gene Siskel, of Siskel & Ebert movie critic fame.
Her answer? She said the question threw her and she had to go home and think about it for two days before coming up with an answer. The following are some of the hardcore beliefs the media magnet holds dear.
- What you put out comes back all the time, no matter what.
- Love yourself and then learn to extend that love to others in every encounter.
- Love doesn’t hurt. It feels really good.
The running theme in all of these beliefs is we pretty much all want the same thing, and that is to be heard and cared for. We want to feel like we matter. So what does this have to do with content marketing?
The 3 Legs of the Selling Stool
In sales, a time-honored diplomatic expression is that people do business with those they know, like and trust. These are the three building blocks of the sales stool – and it all starts with knowing; forging a relationship.
In marketing speak, this might be thought of as knowing the demographics of a target market, eg, their age, sex, education level, income, marital status, etc. This is the easy, topical connection. In order to forge a deeper, more lasting connection, you must take it a step further and learn what moves your customers on a deeper level.
- What causes do they care about?
- What dreams are they harboring?
- What keeps them up at night and wakes them up in the morning?
These are the things that that they honor, that are important to them on a more personal level.
When you take the time to understand what these are, you’ll build a relationship that can sustain your business for years.
So how do you to this? How do you start to understand your customer on a deeper level?
Before you can genuinely connect with anyone or anything else, you must first know yourself. By having a defined set of values, you attract those with like values.
- What does your company stand for?
- What are its core values?
This should seep through seamlessly in all of your marketing efforts – from the content on your blog to the composition of your packaging.
Starbucks is a great example of this. Their mission is “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
This is not only reflected in how its CEO describes the company (“we’re in the people business servicing coffee“), but also in the many charitable causes they devote time and assets to.
Don’t Assume, Ask
Most companies make decisions based on data. The target market is age, so they’re into this. They’re single, so they’ll like this. They’re college educated, so this is what they want. It’s smart marketing. Data reveals a lot. But it doesn’t tell the whole story.
Remember, to forge a deeper connection, you must dig deeper and one way to do that is to ask.
On your blog, in your newsletter, on your social media accounts, keep a running dialogue with your customers. Straight out ask them what’s important to them. Some of the answers may surprise you.
Making the Connection
Every company has a story to tell, and it’s so much more than “We sell X.” The connection is most often found in the simplest ways. A great example of a brand that illustrates this is Tide; yes, the laundry detergent.
Since Hurricane Katrina, via their “Loads of Hope” community program, they’ve provided clean clothing for families in the midst of chaos. They explain it this way,
“Tide believes in the power of clean, and for our friends going through times of crisis, clean clothes can make a difference.”
They heard, they cared, they made the connection. What deeper connection can you make with your customers today?