A couple weeks ago, I was honored to be asked to participate in a panel discussion on web design at MIT and hosted by WebPub (itself housed in MIT’s IS&T).
Modeled after the popular interview show “Inside the Actors Studio,” “Inside the Designers Studio” focused on designers’ perspectives on the web.
In addition to myself, the panel included Tammy Dayton of Moth Design, and Chris DeFrancesco of Alphabetica Design. Our combined experience covered a wide range of working models (from our own multi-disciplinary studio of 16 strategists, designers, and technologists, to Alphabetica Design’s collaborative approach that includes local team members as well as partners around the globe) and an equally diverse client base.
Topics included web trends and follies, worked approaches, client interaction, aesthetic and technological interactions, and our online pet peeves.
It was a friendly, enlivening, and enlightening conversation. I hope you’ll take a peek, and perhaps even continue the debate!
Whatever else can be said about marketing–and people have a LOT to say about it, to be sure—at heart, it’s all about making connections, and creating relationships. But it’s also a numbers game—the more opportunities for connection you create, the greater the chance of building the relationships that matter most.
In the not-too-distant era of marketing via “product, place, price, promotion,” this meant casting a wide net of monolithic branding in hopes of netting the ideal customer catch. While that approach can be successful, it’s inefficient. The 4 Ps only allow you to show one side of who (or what) you are—which leaves you with just one audience to speak to.
But what if you could show all the sides of who you are—and in doing so, connect with many more types of potential customers? You’d probably never settle for a single dimension again, right?
If you want to paint the fullest picture possible for your audience, you need the Five P’s of Modern Marketing.
Your purpose is the core, the thing your products and services give dimension to.
If the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company thought it was in the mining business, not the innovation business, we wouldn’t have Scotch tape, or Post-Its… or 3M. Focusing solely on products or services, can mean missing the bigger picture—and failing to adjust to the marketplace’s ever-increasing rate of change.
A solid understanding of your broader purpose not only helps keep focus on what you do best now (the core of good business and branding strategy), it allows you to adapt to what comes next.
In this socially hyperconnected world, your customers are the most critical component of your successful marketing strategy… yet the 4 P’s don’t acknowledge them at all. Old school marketing strategy is all about, well… you. But the reality is that your brand exists in your customers’ heads and hearts—not your headquarters. Your strategies need to reflect what they value, and how that differs among customer personas.
We’ve learned to look at demographics—but what about motivations? Think, for example, of all the different reasons people buy Apple products: innovation, style, features, quality, function, status. By accommodating that range of motivations in their design and marketing, Apple successfully develops products that appeal to multiple demographics.
Motivation-based customer personas help you not only find new markets for current products, but also develop new products that your existing customers will actually want to buy.
Your products (or services) give your purpose shape and form. You can add dimensions to your products—and thus opportunities for new connections—in several ways. Starbucks did it by adding product lines to build out its purpose as a “third place” destination: in-store and instant coffees, snacks, and soundtracks—even a satellite radio station!
You can also alter the form of your offerings. Car companies are masters at this (and why most have sedans AND coupes AND minivans AND trucks…), but even a “service” company like Weight Watchers has extended its model to accommodate its customer personas: traditional and “At Work” meetings, as well as online options.
In addition to adding to, or tailoring your products and services, you can adjust how you present them to the marketplace. Your content and your concept (language, style, etc.) can be shifted to better resonate with customer motivations.
While few organizations have the resources to create completely different presentations to target different personas, the more diverse an approach you have, the more opportunities for connection you’ll create. Airlines and hotels, for instance, adjust their advertising (and offerings) depending on whether they’re talking to business travelers or families.
In all cases, the most successful “presentation” strategies move far beyond traditional “promotion.” They move from selling features and benefits to offering ways to address your customers’ needs—and values.
Your presence—both physical and virtual—provides context for the other Ps and, quite literally, is where connections happen. Physical presence includes both where you are, and what your surroundings look like. Krispy Kreme used to select locations just far enough away to ensure purchases that made the trip “worthwhile.” Apple extended its design sensibility to its glass-fronted flagship stores. Ralph Lauren, J. Crew, and Thomas Pink all “scent” their stores for multi-sensory brand presentation.
But presence isn’t limited to the physical anymore. Opportunities for adding dimensional presence occur in all the places people interact with you. Kodak—another company that saw its purpose (“imaging”) as bigger than its products (film, anyone?)—has four blogs, each with its own persona-defined purpose and presentation, in addition to a whole section just for scrapbookers. They also have multiple profiles on the platforms where their diverse community congregates: Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube.
The key is to be matter where it matters to be—and to present your customers with what they’re looking for where they’re looking for it, in ways that will genuinely engage them.
The marketplace isn’t monolithic, and neither are you and your brand. To increase your chances of creating more—and deeper—connections, you need a marketing strategy that’s as multidimensional as the marketplace you’re targeting.
How could 5 P Marketing change how you do business?
This post originally appeared on TalentZoo.com.
With an impressive regional presence, multiple venues, three choruses, youth orchestra, a mix of classical and contemporary presentations, innovative on-stage presentations, education programs, Grammy® Award-winning recordings, tours, and more, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is the definitive American orchestra for the 21st century—ambitious, creative, and on the rise.
But the very breadth and depth of its endeavors––and the different ways in which it was compelled to communicate with its various fans, audiences and constituencies––often made it hard for those whose support and interest were critical to the organization’s ongoing success to “get” it.
A new brand program––strategy, messaging, design, and training––was rolled out to coincide with the League of American Orchestra’s annual conference, which this year was hosted by the Atlanta Symphony.
Following a presentation on the planning and creation of the new brand program, I met up with Charlie Wade, Vice President of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, in the seats of Atlanta Symphony Hall to add some personal reflections to both product and process.
Now that you’ve heard a little bit of their story, take a look at some of the key pieces of the Atlanta brand program below:
The Atlanta Symphony’s master brand identifier system includes variations that help people to understand the scope of the organization while providing important parts of the organization with their own recognizable marks.
Because the brand system provides “approaches” and not “rules” for visual expression, the variety of communications created to market concerts, bolster fundraising, and promote educational initiatives can be tilted appropriately for different audiences and goals.
To advance the organization’s presentations of contemporary music, we developed a related presentation brand that evokes the two amphitheaters where concerts are performed.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this discussion — coming soon!