Fo’ Shizzle My Nizzle: The marketing language gap

28 07 2011

Ah. The Great Cultural Divide. And I’m not necessarily talking about geographical culture either.

Did you know that every business on the planet – whether it’s 1 person or 1,000 – has it’s own culture? It’s true!

A business culture forms from a way of speaking, a set of ideals, a way of doing things…

And where culture forms, language is hot on its heels. Your business’ language consists of shared lingo, attitudes, processes, interests, missions, experiences and more. It’s a way of communicating that is unique to your company and to your industry.

And when your customers speak that same language, the results are… magical.

Unfortunately, many business owners lose sight of a maxim that’s as true to marketing a business as to personal self growth: “This above all: To thine own self be true.” They warp their cultural language to conform to some ideal market they want to target.

Guess what. Capital N – O… NO!!

It’s not the market that defines the culture, but your culture that should define your target market.

Think of it this way – a Porsche dealer would hardly use mommy talk to promote it’s 911 GT2 sports car. And you sure as shootin’ wouldn’t hear street slang used to market a Ford Aerostar minivan. Each of these cars has its own micro-culture, and to market them any differently would be a disservice to all involved.

When you try to be something you’re not, be prepared to be called out.

Please don’t misunderstand me. There is an element of genius in being able to adapt your communications to make different customers feel welcome, special and comfortable. But the point is this: Hold true to the core culture that makes your business the unique success that it is.

This Week’s DMT Challenge

PART I: Take a look at the website home pages of some of the corporate giants – Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, NASCAR, McDonald’s, choose-your-own. Look at the colors, the images, the content and the layout. These are companies that have spent bookoo bucks and quality time defining the culture of their company. Do you think their websites succeed in getting the right message across?

PART II: See if you can define some cultural features of your own company or the company you work for. What’s your company mission? How does your staff interact with customers? How do they interact with each other? What’s the dress code? What are the most popular topics of conversation?

PART III: Now take a look at your own website – or any other marketing materials. Again, look at the colors, the images, the content and the layout. Do they communicate what you’ve defined above?

Incidentally, for those who are curious, “fo’ shizzle my nizzle” means something along the lines of “Most definitely, my African American brother.”

Is DMT Artistry the “bees knees”? Fo’ shizzle my nizzle. Let us prove it to you.

Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com

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Snooping (Respectfully): A Marketer Must-Do

18 05 2011

Market research doesn't have to be nosyFor this blog, you’ll need your binoculars, tape recorder, telephoto lens, phone bug and… just kidding.

All you REALLY need for some good, old-fashioned dirt-digging is your computer, your common sense and your courtesy. Here’s the deal…

Knowing where to advertise is half the battle when you’re making your marketing decisions. And deciding where to advertise starts with an understanding of your customers’ interests. What do they read, watch and do? Where do they travel, relax and work? When do they buy, daydream and socialize?

The answers will give you important clues about where you should lay those marketing dollars.

You can pay an arm, a leg and a first-born child to have demographic and target market research managed by professional firms. And if you’re on your way to Fortune 500 status, this may well be a viable and valuable option. But, if you’re a smaller company with a budget to match, there is another way.

So, let’s start our respectful “snooping”, shall we…

Lay It All Out There
Let’s start with the most forthright fountain of information – the customers themselves. Asking well-thought-out questions with total transparency makes people feel comfortable, excites an eagerness to help and provides you with just what you need to know. Questionnaires, surveys and “how did you hear about us?” at the cash register are excellent places to start.

Do the majority of your customers read the Sunday paper? Then that’s the perfect day and place to advertise your kite repair service!

Do they spend week nights on Facebook? Post your pizza coupons!

Travel the highways on their work commute? Get those hand-brewed coffee billboards up!

Working Social Media
Savvy marketer that you are, you’ve been on Facebook (or Twitter, or LinkedIn, or…) for ages, “friend”ing your wonderful customers, and building up “likes” on your business page. You’re posting great information regularly. But are you “listening” as well as you “talk”?

Your customers’ comments, the pages they “like”, and the causes they support are valuable nuggets of marketing information. A runners’ shop might notice that their fans are all raving about a particular race. Perfect! It will receive the shop’s full support – advertising and man-power – next year. Maybe you catch your customers quoting regularly from The Wall Street Journal. An ad there could be worth it’s weight in gold.

This is non-creepy, perfectly respectful information gathering at it’s finest.

Participate
Through friendly chats and social media, you’ve learned about events, shops and restaurants that your customers totally “dig”. Now go the next step.

The ones that pop up regularly in these conversations are ones you should consider visiting. There may be marketing options there, OR you may be wise to advertise where they’re advertising OR a visit may inspire some zany and wonderful marketing ideas. Just be creative!

Understand that I in no way condone underhanded, disrespectful or illicit acquisition of information.

So, rather than private eyes and magnifying glasses, think in terms of honest curiosity. The information is there. See what you can discover!

“Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.” – Zora Neal Hurston

Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com