Why your clients prefer new marketing

Why Pub School

There’s a lot of confusing talk around ‘new marketing’ so we thought we’d stamp our style on it to try and make it clearer. Even if it’s flavour of the month at the moment, at heart, it’s still sales and marketing. Just sales and marketing wearing different clothes, and talking in a way that’s easier on the ear and far more popular with your buyers.

New marketing requires different skills from those of the traditional approach. Potential clients just don’t want to be sold to anymore, in fact pushy selling hits the wrong note these days.

This was in my Twitter feed today.

“Uh oh, sales guy has just emailed with the words “discount available if you sign up before the end of the month” – red rag to a bull.”

Your audience won’t accept the old-style hard sell. Cynicism is epidemic.

“Really annoyed now – tempted to stop the whole sales process. I hate people trying to use sales tactics on me.”

We want to make up our own minds, thank you very much.  Kanye West of all people summed it up supremely in a recent tweet:

“Don’t ever try to sell me on anything. Give me ALL the information and I’ll make my own decision.”

Just hand over the information and we’ll do what makes best sense to us. The Internet gives us access to all the information we want. Your job is to provide us with the information we’re looking for and make it easy for us to find you.

If you want to please your clients and get success from your marketing today, you need a different approach. Wrestle access to your services away from a small sales pool, and spread news of them far and wide. Shape your messages differently, put together something solid that proves your business credentials, and engage more.

Here’s Valuable Content’s quick guide to ‘old’ marketing vs. new marketing, and our take on why the new style works so well.

‘Old’ marketing non-essentials

  • A flashy website filled with sales spiel.
  • Costly press advertisements.
  • A glossy brochure.
  • Pushy salespeople.
  • Begging the trade press to write about you.

New marketing must-haves

  • An engaging website that potential clients will easily find.
  • A social media presence that makes connections.
  • Great word of mouth recommendations.
  • Trust building proof of your word.
  • A stack of valuable content for use at every step.

Both the ‘old’ and the new style are trying to attract the attention. Both ways try to make your message memorable and sell your products and services. It’s the shift of focus that makes new marketing a better proposition for business owners. Getting to grips with how your clients think, understanding their needs, being clear about the problems you can solve for them gives your business an advantage.

And starting is not that hard. It just means listening, asking questions, and more listening. Take the spotlight off your services, and shine it on your clients. What problems are they grappling with? How can you help them?

Use this knowledge to create the kind of services your clients want, and build your content around it. New style marketing never underestimates the intelligence of your clients.  So if you’ve done your homework and your offer is right, there will be no need for the desperate ‘sign up now’ calls.  Your clients will come to you.

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  1. Sean McVey

    Hey Sharon,

    Thanks for the post; you make some great points.

    I wanted to add that it can be so difficult to pinpoint which new marketing strategies are right for your company. The options are limitless. We are currently conducting research to see which tactics are working for generating leads to websites. Is it Twitter? LinkedIn? SEO? PPC? Video? The list can go on. So where to start and where to focus?

    I’ve interviewed a number of top experts for the study and it’s very interesting how they view these different online marketing methods. One will love Facebook and hate YouTube. Another will support banner advertising and dismiss webinars. However, there is one online marketing tactic that each and every expert so far has touted as most important (and I mean every expert). They all say that the most important aspect of generating leads through a website is PRODUCING CONTENT THAT PEOPLE WANT TO LINK TO. So your last bullet point of “a stack of valuable content” is right on point.

    For all of you web owners out there that are not consistently writing useful and educational content….Start Now! It is the foundation of your lead generating website. Period.

    Keep up the great posts!!!

  2. Sonja Jefferson

    Nice on Sean and that’s really good to know!

    For any professional service owners or marketers, here is the link to the research Sean mentions:

    Survey – What’s working in professional services marketing?https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HIN-Web

    I know he’d be interested in your view (and I’m fascinated to hear the results).

  3. Lee Frederiksen

    This is such a good analysis of the emerging psychology behind the shift to content based marketing. The interesting finding that seems to be emerging from the early results of the research study you cite above (thank you;-) is how few firms have really embraced and executed a comprehensive content marketing strategy. This means that the firms that do will have a strong competitive advantage…lwf

  4. Sharon Tanton

    Thanks Sean, I’m really keen to learn more about your research. It’s a fascinating area, and thanks Lee, for comments too. I agree that it’s the quality of the content that matters most – whatever channel you use to get people to your website – if they don’t like what they find, they won’t stick around. Just like Lord Sugar said on Apprentice this week, ‘it don’t matter what the packet’s like, or the design, if the biscuit’s crap, no one will buy it.’

  5. Ian Brodie

    I dunno Sharon. We all SAY we hate sales techniques. Yet most of us – myself included – respond to deadlines, social proof, authority, etc. All the stuff we’ve always responded to.

    In fact, social proof – what everyone else is saying, doing and buying – seems to be even more infuential these days because it’s more visible. Yet it’s almost the antithesis of “give me the information and I’ll make my own decision”.

    Marketing is changing, but I don’t think it’s a wholesale change from “old” to “new”. Especially as many of the things you listed in “old” didn’t work 30 years ago either.

    I think the shifts are more subtle. Many more clients are better informed. Some react against transparent manipulation yet others still “fall for it”. We’re in transition I think, with no dominant “one best way” yet.

    By the way, I’m intrigued as to why this post is tagged “Kanye West”? Have I missed a subtle pop culture reference?


  6. Ryan James

    Great article, but in my direct experience, it is not a matter of new or old marketing but actually about the necessity to truly understand the needs of your market place and how you succinctly meet these needs.

    In essence I think it is about asking the right questions and providing clarity of your message through your marketing – whether new OR old!

    Strangely, the ‘new’ seems to imply that ‘sales’ is a bad thing and no long necessary in the buying process, but I would argue that there is a greater need for traditional sales techniques… (not to be mistaken with aggressive sales techniques)

    Sales is an artform in asking the right questions, listening and truly understanding your client’s needs. There is an increasing tendency for people to avoid asking the most pertinent questions when it matters most, trusting that the client will find their own answers in their own time and good marketing alone will enable them to do this…

    The problem is, that no one has the time or the inclination to look for their own answers. Everyone wants fast answers NOW!

    What people want is absolute faith that you have the answer and understand their inherent needs. Whether you use a glossy brochure or a word of mouth to spread your message. Clarity of your understanding AND your message are both paramount!

    In my experience, buyers are willing to overlook the necessity for validation and credibility (often associated with ‘new’ marketing) IF they feel that their needs are succinctly meet and listened to.

    The problem with sales people offering discounts is not that these are old and outdated methods but more a case that they have failed to truly understand the client’s needs and further compounding their lack of understanding with suggestions that move them further away from the answer not closer!

    Pushy sales people have NEVER been the answer and NEVER will be.
    But marketing, whether old or new, will also completely miss the mark if you haven’t taken the time to understand the real needs of your buyer and simply fishing for a bite, in the wrong pond, in the hope that you get it right.

    I really appreciate your thoughts on the difference between old and new, and always value your insights and thoughts, unfortunately I think new and old are both flawed and trying to answer the wrong question!


  7. Sharon Tanton

    Hi guys, thanks for all the really thoughtful comments. I agree the shift between old and new style marketing isn’t cut and dried, and some things, like pushy sales men have always got people’s backs up. However they’re still around, like the original tweet I quoted that sparked this blog idea. Ian, you’re right that different buyers respond to different techniques, and Ryan, I totally agree that it’s understanding the real needs of your buyer that will determine how successful you are. It all comes back to knowing your customers inside out. I’d argue that marketing through content gives you the chance to target people in the way they like – by answering their questions in a helpful way and providing the information that they’re searching for – which in turn shows you as someone who really knows their stuff.
    Oh, and the Kanye West reference is the 3rd Tweet. “Don’t ever try to sell me on anything. Give me ALL the information and I’ll make my own decision.” I’d include social proof as part of the information – you’re right Ian, we do care about what everyone else is buying!

  8. Jim O'Connor

    Hi guys, I agree with a lot of what you are saying here. I just think the word “new” is very “old marketing”! Marketing has changed, that’s true, but I think there has always been a split between intelligent marketing and clumsy marketing. Years ago (1950s/60s?) Bill Bernbach said “most smart people ignore most advertising because most advertising ignores smart people.”
    Pushing stuff in someone’s face never worked very well in the past, and it didn’t work then. Things like brochures, direct mail, posters, TV commercials still work if you “do” them with intelligence and wit. But we now have new communication channels, like blogs etc, which are very useful for the “soft sell”…if you know how to do it.

  9. Sonja Jefferson

    Hi Jim. You make a really good point there. Perhaps ‘new’ and ‘old’ simplifies the point too much. However I do think something has changed. People’s tolerance levels are different now than they were before. Yes of course intelligence and wit have and will always work well (and there’s no better person than you to put some wit into marketing!) but we’ve all been marketed at so much – torrents of telemarketing calls, a flood of direct mail on the doorstep, adverts in every direction we look – that we’ve become immune to the classic ‘sell’ to a degree, as Kanye West of all people so clearly states. With this in mind, businesses need to find different ways to get their message across, and a different mindset too. This will never negate the need for good sales people as Ryan fears. It just means that, more than ever before, a laser focus on giving value to your particular clients. Just my view!


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