Thanks to our 24-7-365 digital connections; marketing is everywhere and it happens all the time.
It is our website, social media interaction, the way we answer the phone, our actions at the golf course, and how we drive down the interstate. It is how our products are designed, packaged, and sold. It is the ease of ordering and/or returning products, the way assembly instructions are organized and presented as well as the way we respond to customer complaints/needs. It is the locations of our offices/stores; in people we hire, fire, and promote; as well as the actions we support or condone – both privately and publicly.
Because of this; marketing can no longer be relegated to an isolated department that produces politically-correct, well-rehearsed, and legally compliant messages.
We should instead take a broad, systemic approach to first understand what marketing is, then what to do about it. I offer an overly simplified definition to encapsulate all current marketing opportunities as well as some that are not yet available.
Marketing: The sum of all our communications; including those that are intended, assumed, formal and informal.
Marketing is not a skillset. It is a mindset. That is why most policies either don’t make sense, or don’t work.
Rather than engineering materials and campaigns of sterile content filled with key words that will be meaningful to members of discreet audiences; there is a better way to communicate messages that actually resonate with people. Start by building and meticulously maintaining an environment that supports your growth desires – your leadership, all employees, products, processes, etc.
To do this effectively, your organization must go through the process to specifically define its own values. Values that matter to the absolute life and health of the organization. Values that will inspire ideal activity by everyone.
The most crucial aspect of business operations is not what you do, or even how it is done. The most critical aspect is why it is done. The why refers to the inspiration, or underlying purpose of all our actions. This why is how people connect with actions or policies, and therefore express them personally (as opposed to mechanically).
Rather than making a policy about what can or cannot be said about the company, instill in your people the natural desire to say things that resonate with company values. This culture can then be easily adopted by employees as well as by current customers. What’s more is that the culture will be reinforced in tweets, posts, reviews, and even conversations at backyard BBQs. The more natural the setting and conversation; the more impact it will make on people.
Over the last 10+ years Zappos.com has built an incredible brand by exemplifying ten core values. Their policy regarding social media has always been open, allowing employees to say what they feel necessary to say whenever they want. This, and other leadership efforts of marketing transparency has assured that employees and customers are loyal advocates of the brand and constantly help drive traffic to their website.
Here are Zappos 10 Core Values
1. Deliver WOW Through Service 2. Embrace and Drive Change
3. Create Fun & A Little Weirdness 4. Be Adventurous, Creative, & Open-Minded
5. Pursue Growth & Learning 6. Build Honest Relationships With Communication
7. Build Positive Team & Family Spirit 8. Do More With Less
9. Be Passionate & Determined 10. Be Humble
Do you have or know your company’s core values?
What do people say about your company when they are off the clock?