Your ultimate party, who’s invited?

There is some sunshine up there, it’s just that every time I put my shoes on to head out it begins to hail.

I suspect that it is in some small part to do with the fact global warming is about creating unpredictable weather as much as it is heat.

Last month we dissected the monster, to help us understand when and how to reorder our website (and perhaps our brains). This month it’s about thinking outwardly, being more strategic.

You may have noticed a narrative to these monthly musings now, a twisting woodland path that is winding somewhere, the goal of woodland foraged mushrooms or an open field picnic is your choice alone. 

a woodland scene

But the narrative tackles somewhat linear steps wherever you may join the path, you most likely won’t step out into trying new marketing ideas without a change of mindset, you need to know (or already do know) to be bold in your choices and last month was about being organised in your approach. 

This leads us to this particular juncture, the strategy before the outreach.

If digital marketing is the metaphorical party then we have so far been working on our home, we’ve got into a positive headspace, we’ve decorated the place and set the scene, now it’s time to bring the guests back. 

The first thing to discover is where to look for the guests: the local library? College? or yacht club? – they all paint a picture of a very different vibe. None of those are the wrong idea, but the guests will have certain expectations that may be completely at odds with your vision – so, are you putting on a book club or a piss up?

its your party

I use the words “discovering guests” because so much of our work now is clarifying these details for our clients. We work with our client’s to uncover the different customer that arrive at their businesses, they are each subtly different and often have different needs and wants. 

And for ease, it is ever so tempting to cobble together various types of customers into one and use a generic message. So up goes our metaphorical generic poster at the College & The Yacht Club, and to our very mixed audiences, we also get a very mixed response.

Some are turned off by the poster, some turn up and don’t understand what they’ve been sold, and some (our treasured customers) think we are absolutely awesome.

(For those that come to the party, I encourage you to sit with each, understand them better and hear their needs, it will help you make the poster better next time.)

For some, the poster may have been the issue. Unlike an invitation, the poster isn’t exclusive, and therefore it may “not be for me” – incidentally this isn’t me saying “print is dead”, I don’t think it is, and that is too literal. What I mean is it may be worth considering that the poster is a part of the party, it is the outreach and the promise – what is yours?

“The Poster”, or advertising, sits at the top of the marketing funnel in the area where we are unknown to our potential customer. As we move down the funnel we see repeat engagements via touchpoints with us or our brand – eg. a newsletter article, a shared event, a brochure until all of a sudden this connection is considering a big decision.

Without getting too base, the big decision at the end of a party may not always be the finest metaphor for the right customer, but stick with me, whatever the goal at the end of your party, you are now taking your partygoers on a journey around the house.

Like any getting-to-know-you period, the success of this will require you to meet a set of standards you may not know, well sometimes it’s actually about not getting it wrong, isn’t it? 

I enjoy the platter of nibbles on arrival and although I might prefer orange juice, I am not going to be put off by apple juice – the host knew what they were doing. 

a table of appetisers and champagne

Alternatively, if the initial offering is a sit-down roast dinner and a pint of guinness then I am wondering if I made good life choices. 

(The touchpoints in our marketing can resemble this, they are often created insolation and over time where thinking has evolved leaving the offering and the party small talk, well, lacking clarity.)

If we manage to keep the chat going then we can step through the rooms, show off who we are, why you might like us, and then finally we need to deliver on the goods: The p…romise. What did we say on the poster to hook them along in the first place, what was the show-stopping statement?

Over promising. 

We know the result, but when everyone else is chatting big, what’s the alternative? Well, that comes down to saying something different, and for effect, you could say you’re a shark, but that may not resonate. 

(So how well have you been listening as you took your guests around the house? Did you get feedback? Ask what they thought? Notice what they liked?)

There’s a lot of different parties to be had, and if you’ve been in business a while, you’ve put on a lot of parties, which means there’s a lot of feedback to gather.

Perhaps it’s time to step outside for a breather, look at the poster, the decorations, the greeting, the journey and the promise then ask ourselves if we live up to our customer’s expectations, if we are true to who we are and if there are any bumps along the way.

Do you know anyone who may be interested in this project?

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