The steps I took to become a great marketer in my field

What I Learned to Become a Great Marketer

Marketing is definitely not easy. As a humble marketer for a startup in Massachusetts selling herbal perfumes and essential oils, I witnessed the uphill struggle to make our startup known.  Even though we have carved out a considerable share of the perfume market, we still have to compete with many other perfume brands to make ours stand out.

Rising up from the ranks of marketing personnel, I have learned four things that helped our startup survive its birth pains and thrive into a blossoming perfume business. I have learned some things that great marketers do.

I learned how to be creative to reach audiences

It is not enough to merely blast out to the public, “Hey we’re here! And we have organic perfumes for sale!,” especially when you are just starting. To create a solid customer base, I found out that creatively reaching out to customers would involve delivering the right message to the right people and not the general public. This can make your business and products more relevant to individual concerns and sentiments.

Studying how humans behave and respond to communication has also helped my work. Using my intuition, I thought that we could promote our herbal perfumes by tapping into the ‘organic products are good’ craze.

Later, when my colleagues and I gathered enough data on our consumers’ behavior, we were able to develop the right messages to reach our target audiences. That is where I learned how target-specific storytelling skills can make a brand relevant to consumers at a personal level.

Maximizing available technology was also a crucial aspect of this process. I learned how to use blogs, email, social media, and websites to spark discussions about our brand and to engage customers into meaningful conversations.

Email marketing, in particular, has been a great way to test our creativity. This tactic has required us to segment our subscribers into common-interest subgroups, since not all of our subscribers have the same reasons for wanting to try our perfume.

For each particular group, we had to craft messages that suit them explicitly, and this strategy worked! No one unsubscribed us from their email accounts. Building and maintaining websites are also great ways to learn how to reach audiences creatively. You have to make your websites user-friendly and pleasing to the eye while ensuring that your content answers your customers’ questions and suits their needs.

I learned the importance of building relationships

After learning how to reach out to our audiences more effectively, the next thing I learned is how to keep their trust and loyalty to my brand. Every marketer knows how difficult and expensive it can be to find new customers while keeping your existing customers loyal to you.

According to business strategist Frederick F. Reichheld, a 5 percent increase in customer retention rates can increase profits dramatically. It can be expensive to acquire new customers, so it may be cost effective to keep the customers you already have. Invesp, a blog that specializes in improving companies’ conversion rates, estimates that attracting a new customer costs five times more than retaining the customers you already have.

For me, these statistics were a revelation.  Through constant feedback and communication with our existing and potential customers, I learned how to improve our services and our retention rates.  We offered discounts and perks to some of our most loyal customers to show our appreciation for them and build our relationships in the process. Engaging them online helped strengthen our relationships.

Of course, regardless of our marketing efforts, I learned that trust and loyalty are primarily earned and kept by the quality of our product. Of course, this rule also applies to other products, such as cell phones and automobiles.

I also concluded that our sales strategies should also be linked with product design and development strategies to make our products more responsive to customers’ preferences and needs.  In the process, I learned how our products could be designed to retain our customers’ loyalty and also why I should use the right strategies as part of the marketing process.

I learned to be a consummate strategist and a daring tactician

Coordinating the way we reach out to audiences, the way we deepen our relationships with them, and the way our product development and improvement respond to customer behavior all required me to be a consummate strategist.

Examining the interrelatedness of individual efforts and coordinating them to achieve our sales goals helped make me a consummate strategist. At the same time, I learned the importance of being a daring tactician who can capitalize on a potential opportunity or turn a problem into an opportunity that could translate into quick gains to buoy the overall business strategy.

For example, we observed that our customers were looking for essential oils made in Java. They heard that the oils could provide relaxation for stressed workers like them. Using these observations and information, we found a supplier in Java.  We sold the oils and they were a hit!

Nevertheless, I learned that it was naive to merely copy strategies and tactics that have worked for others. Like other fields, the perfume business has its specific quirks and conditions, with its set of target customers and market situation.

Marketers should develop out-of-the-box ideas to achieve their goals and improve techniques that have been proven effective by other companies. They can apply their ideas creatively and tailor them to specific characteristics of their businesses to engage customers and drive sales.

I learned to use data to implement and revise my strategy

Without the ability to gather and interpret data, we risk running our business blindly and dangerously. We would not know if we are progressing, stagnating, or declining. Additionally, data interpretation skills help us measure and identify more concretely our customers’ needs, motivations, and their way of making decisions. This information can help us guide our marketing strategy to help us gain and retain customers’ attention.

Thus, I learned that we have to be able to interpret data and understand what it means. From here, we can make the necessary tweaks to our overall strategy and marketing efforts.  As I already had a fundamental grasp of customer psychology, I was able to avoid merely playing with the numbers. This was because I had the background context to understand the profound implications of these numbers.

Conversion rates, traffic generation, consumer behavior, rivals’ performance—what do all these mean?  The data only made sense when I combined them with my understanding of consumer behavior. These numbers showed me how effective our marketing channels are. Which ones are successful, which ones are lagging behind and which specific marketing efforts are working, both online and offline.

I had to bring these disparate pieces of data together to form a single comprehensive analysis and assessment of our marketing situation. From there, my colleagues and I were able to make decisions and adjustments to our communications strategy. This would help to influence our customers to respond positively to our calls-to-action and buy our organic perfumes.

Nevertheless, I also learned not to bury myself in numbers.  Qualitative research also matters. It provides the contextual narrative for your numbers, especially the big digits. Using information properly can lead to success.


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About the Author:

Charles Watson can be found at Comerica Park in Detroit, Massachusetts during this time of the year.  While not taking in Tiger’s game, he has his pen to paper as the head writer for Sunshine Behavioral Health.

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