Chris Brogan on the Marketing Strategies He Swears By

Are you looking to improve your marketing strategies to help grow your business but aren't sure how to go about it? A top expert gives his insights.
June 28, 2017

As a business owner, you may be looking to attract more customers in order to grow your business. There's a wealth of good marketing ideas and tools out there but it all can take time to implement. And it may take you away from all the other work you have to do.

What's more, marketing in today's rapidly-changing environment is becoming more complex. For one thing, the internet has had an impact on conventional marketing practices. What do you do, for example, when buyers view a product in your store, but end up buying it elsewhere online?

To answer this, and other important questions, I was pleased to interview marketing expert Chris Brogan about his marketing strategy tips for business owners. Brogan is the CEO of Owner Media Group, a company that offers business strategy and skills. He is also a professional speaker, and a New York Times best-selling author of nine books.

What role do emotions play in the buying process?

Emotions drive a lot of our purchasing choices, whether or not we admit it. Let's say you're buying servers for your data center. You're worried the boss will think you're stupid if you choose wrong. When you shop for a new car, it's a blend of “What does this car SAY about me" and “What can I afford?" There's so much emotion involved.

Our own emotional and mental past issues strongly influence our efforts at marketing.

—Chris Brogan, CEO, Owner Media Group

Business owners need to be wary that their marketing is too bland, too “middle of the road," and too “get everyone I can." You've got to have a perspective. Either you're selling to the high end or the low end. But you're almost never selling to both. You're offering bang for the buck or you're selling quality.

I believe I heard you say once that the way we may think negatively about ourselves will also impact how we negatively market ourselves and sell our products or services. I found this intriguing. Can you please elaborate?

Our own emotional and mental past issues strongly influence our efforts at marketing. Maybe you worry that people think you're stupid. I've used this twice because it's a very common one I hear. You'll overwrite your marketing materials, meaning add too any “big" words. You'll complicate things needlessly to show people you're really smart and complex. It's stuff like this that messes up our real intention of helping people with what we sell.

There's a lot of talk these days about the changing nature of how customers buy. What is your advice for business owners in this area?

Business owners need to stay really married to the customer's needs and buying process. Take something like “showrooming," which is happening in retail these days. Someone browses your shop and then buys online. Help the showroom, and then give them every reason in the world not to [buy online] with your service, your add-ons, your other benefits.

For instance, you might offer an installation service that an online vendor doesn't. You could offer add-ons like accessories to whatever they're purchasing, classes, maintenance contracts. If someone is competing against you by just selling a product, what service can you add to augment the offer?

What are some of the components required for setting up a core marketing system?

We have to build around the basics of buying: awareness, research and evaluation, decision, purchase, experience around the sale and potential referrals. I call this ARE/DPER in my Simple Marketing System course. How will you earn someone's awareness? What can you give them to help their research and evaluation? I'm looking at video. I'm looking at simpler evaluation tools. And I'm sticking to 30-year-old email marketing as most of my core methods right now.

The concept [of ARE/DPER] is to check your marketing and sales processes to find where you're strong and where you need help. Do you do enough to earn a prospective buyer's attention? Do you provide useful materials to help a buyer evaluate you versus the competition? How do you help a customer decide? And so on. Just walking yourself through the buyer's journey with this map often uncovers areas where you can improve your marketing.

Any advice you can give on what metrics to track when evaluating  marketing efforts?

My favorite metrics are revenue and customer/user/subscriber numbers. Beyond those, I'm tracking velocity (how fast can I deliver what I sell), friction (how can I remove any of the friction in the buying process) and shareability (communication and the ability to reach internal and external sources of information around what I sell).

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