For the most successful marketers, the answer to this question is radically different from the ones’ who are less successful. The difference in the answers points out why some marketers only get “OK” results, while others get fantastic results.
In order to understand the answer (found at the end of this blog post), we first need to understand how marketing relates to sales.
What does a marketing person do compared to a salesperson?
While the majority see marketing as something disconnected from sales, successful marketers see the two functions as two sides of the same coin: marketing and sales work together and simultaneously on the same customer, with the aim to lead the customer through a very specific buyer’s journey. This journey starts with the customer experiencing symptoms and ends with the customer purchasing.
But while salespeople tend to have one on one dialogues, marketers practice mass communication:
Good marketing in different stages of the buyer’s journey
All customers will have gone through these four steps:
Symptoms: They experience a problem, whether they are aware of it or not.
Framed: When they become aware of the symptoms they have to put them in a context that explains the symptoms.
Connected: When they can explain the symptoms in a context, they need to feel confident that your company can solve them.
Customer: Only after having gone through all the steps above, they will buy your solution.
Good marketing continuously recognizes where potential customers are in the buyer’s journey and educates the customer in what they need in order to move on to the next step. So what does a marketer do compared to a salesperson to achieve this?
While the sales function achieves this through dialogues, a marketer does so by reading potential customers’ digital signals, communicating in a compelling way based on these signals, and informing the salespeople so that they can contact the right person at the right time.
What is marketing according to a great marketer?
The very best marketers answer the question “what is marketing” in four steps:
Understand exactly what symptoms the customer is experiencing before they have put the symptoms in a context (often even before the customer is aware of the underlying problems causing the symptoms).
Then help the customer understand these symptoms though an explanatory model that favours your own solutions.
Thereafter, position your company as the supplier that, based on this explanatory model, is best suited to solve the customer’s symptoms or problems.
Lastly, trigger a purchase, often in close cooperation with the sales department.
We will look at exactly how great marketers perform all these four steps and what they mean in practice in the next blog post.
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