Ten unwanted guests at the marketing party

by Tom Albrighton 17 June 2010 Branding, Tone of voice

Modern marketing is a lot like a party. Work the room right and you’ll attract interest and new contacts. Fail to shine and you’ll be going home alone. Here are the ten marketing partygoers you don’t want to meet – or to become.

The egotist

The egotist holds forth interminably on his favourite topic, himself. He’s oblivious to the bored sighs of those around him, failing to notice them backing away towards the vol-au-vents.

Marketing moral: focus on the customer, not yourself.

The counsellor

The counsellor is full of unwelcome ‘why don’t you’ advice for everyone she meets – she’s the answer to a question nobody asked. Sadly, her ideas aren’t always that useful.

Marketing moral: expertise is becoming devalued in some fields (notably social media). Cultivating strong personal connections may work better than positioning yourself as an expert.

The geek

It's not a party if there aren't any vol-au-vents

The geek batters you into submission with an enthusiastic but crashingly dull monologue about his phone, computer or other gadget.

Marketing moral: don’t confuse technical features with customer benefits. Unless you’re targeting early adopters or gadget fiends, new technology does not sell itself.

The wiseguy

The wiseguy keeps the jokes coming even if they’re not appreciated, appropriate or even funny.

Marketing moral: humour doesn’t travel well and should be used with great care – are you sure you’ll get the reaction you’re hoping for?

The wallflower

The wallflower stands shyly on the sidelines even though her best friend could be introducing her to plenty of guests if asked.

Marketing moral: proactively cultivate and request referrals and testimonials; join the conversation in social media and see where it takes you.

The skinflint

The skinflint brings Liebfraumilch but drinks Moët.

Marketing moral: reciprocity is everything in modern marketing, particularly social media. You have to give something (of yourself) before you receive.

The butterfly

The butterfly is always looking around the room for someone more interesting to talk to.

Marketing moral: don’t neglect here-and-now customer needs in the quest for new connections or business, however exciting it might feel. It’s far easier to get an order from an existing customer than from a ‘cold’ lead.

The nervous hostess

The nervous hostess flits between conversations, asking everyone if they’re enjoying themselves (and the vol-au-vents).

Marketing moral: don’t over-regulate the social media conversation about your brand or content. Allowing criticism shows strength and confirms authenticity. Allow time and space for others to answer on your behalf; it will be more powerful.

The gatecrasher

The gatecrasher shouldn’t even be here at all but he never misses the chance to party, even if he doesn’t know anyone.

Marketing moral: don’t waste marketing spend on making a big splash when you really need focused exposure. Only relevant attention can be converted to sales.

The chatterbox

The chatterbox just won’t shut up!

Marketing moral: We can’t talk and listen at the same time; make time for learning and sharing as well as pushing out content. No one wants to work with a consultant or service provider who can’t listen.

So much for my list. Can you suggest more?

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