People. They’re at the heart of everything we do.

Posted on Thursday, February 2, 2017

Whether you’re B2B or B2C, effective marketing has to start with being H2H (human to human).

It’s probably the question I get asked the most by our clients, “How do we break through the clutter?”

It’s a very valid question. On average, we’re all subjected to around 4000 marketing messages each day. Our natural ‘blah blah blah filters’ narrow that down to less than 100 that we can actually recall. This is good and necessary for self-preservation or it would drive us firmly mad.

However, to us Marketers it is not such good news. That’s a lot of competition for our prospects attention when we know they are only going to recall 2.5% of them. Because that wasn’t depressing enough, there’s another grenade-shaped stat to throw on the fire: we are twice as likely to recall ads we hate as we are the ones we like. So, take the hated ones out and we now have a 0.85% chance of someone liking and remembering our marketing.

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 Apparently, according to some enlightened university researchers, there’s the same 0.85% likelihood that the person sat next to you today is wearing animal-print underwear. That’s not a good thought.

So how do you break through the clutter? Our 3-step process…

The answer is quite simple, though not easy to execute. You have to remember that the age-old marketing cliché of ‘people are just people’ is true. I mean, you have to truly remember it and put it at the centre of all of your thinking – not just mutter, ‘Yeah, everybody knows that!’ and then carry on what you were doing before.


Step 1: Market to People, not Demographics

Warning, controversial statement coming:

Demographic marketing, on its own, is dead.

It's the way of the blanket DM'ers and spammers. Because no demographic data tells you WHO people are, just WHAT  they are. Demographics are a good and necessary start, but it's only 50% of the story... that's why it's rare marketers get conversion rates of more than 2-3%.

But when you introduce H2H principles to that, standard conversions go up to 10-15%.

Why? Because all of a sudden you are able to give people what they want, in the way that best suits them as a human being. You stop selling to them - and you start to help them buy. And that is the single most powerful thing you can do in a sales or marketing strategy.

That’s why we take the time to understand your target customers before we start working on any creative or a comm’s plan. It’s the single, most powerful thing you can do to increase ROI.

Step 2: Create Personas

The first step in working to H2H principles is to create Personas for all of your key customer groups. How to do that will be the subject of many other blog posts as it’s not a quick process, but it is important that we all understand what a good Persona is and why it’s so crucial.

Every competent marketer strives to understand the needs of their customers, so it is natural that marketers have taken to using Personas. But are they really all that useful?

Personas are one of the least understood and most misused tools in marketing today. There are some good ones and we’ve also seen many that are not fit for purpose. They are just half-thought-through ‘vanilla’ representations of people based on assumptions not data and fact.

A good Persona is a fictional character that accurately represents one of your target customer groups, but it is not a list of demographic features. They have a name, a personal life, fears, ambitions, motivators and emotions – just like all of us. For effective marketing use, Personas are the representative stand-ins to base customer journeys and messaging around. They should allow you to make crucial decisions for how your marketing should take shape, by clarifying the exact needs of your audience.

Step 3: Use your insight to give the people what they want

Whenever we humans buy anything, in our personal or professional life, we ask ourselves a very simple question: “What’s in it for me?”

Sure, it’s probably not quite as structured or formal as that, but we all feel a need to justify our decision. We have a list of questions/ worries/ wants that need to get ticked off before we’re ready to buy.

That’s what our old friend demographics doesn’t cover. The emotional side of buying. The role our brain plays in making the decision.

But, thanks to our Persona work in the previous step, we now know both what those questions are and how to best answer them.

Imagine being able to give your designers and copywriters that information in the brief! It’s the closest thing you’ll find to a marketing magic bullet.

A little story and the single, key takeaway you should remember

Did you know that Stephen King writes all of his novels to one person? It’s his wife. He calls her his ‘ideal reader’, and encourages writers to have one of their own.

King is well aware that hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people will read his latest book. But he also knows he can’t think about impressing all of them at the same time, so instead he focuses exclusively on his ideal reader. He knows her well, knows her tastes, her preferences, he adores her and ceaselessly wants to impress her with his writing prowess. 

That, of course, is not why (or the only reason) he does it. He does it because it’s a sure-fire recipe for success and sells him a tonne of books.

It’s because human beings can truly empathise with only one person at a time. That’s what your marketing needs to do – speak to one person at a time and focus on their wants, their needs, their buying behaviour.

The most powerful marketing hones in and focuses on an audience of one.

No tool will serve a marketer better in overcoming the information overload we all suffer from in these days of mass marketing than the well-proven path of concentrating on your audience as human beings.

That’s why people are at the heart of everything we do here at Miramar: it simply delivers our clients a far better ROI than anything else.

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