Uncertainty. That word bounced from headline to headline upon ringing in a new year, a new decade. An unpredictable economy, an upcoming presidential election, trade tensions across nations, geopolitical unrest—2020’s fate was anybody’s guess.
Did anyone guess a global pandemic? Neither did I.
Marketers are all too familiar with changing strategy for a shifting economic landscape. But this time it’s different. It’s not about getting customers to open their up wallets. It’s about avoiding a foot-in-mouth reputation.
Marketing teams across the globe are speechless, frozen with uncertainty on how to proceed. Should we ignore what’s going on? What if we stumble on how we address the situation?
The stage is lit, the mic is turned on, yet no one is stepping up to speak. Now, more than ever, is the time to take the stage—nay, share the stage—and bring voice to this situation.
The Time for Mindful Marketing is Now
We’ve been approaching marketing all wrong for years, perhaps our whole careers. We have viewed our customers as dollar signs, not as people. And now when our consumers are exposing themselves as being humans with feelings and wants and needs, we are silent with shock.
Your buyer personas are no longer relevant. It’s time to talk to real humans in real time about what’s real.
Our customers each have a story, craving to be heard. We can choose to walk away or to listen. We can choose to ignore them or embrace them.
Chances are, your customers can’t spend money at your business today. Your company may be closed to them. Restrictions or fear may keep them from traveling to see you. That doesn’t make them any less your customer. That doesn’t make them any less essential to your business.
It’s time to be more mindful of your customer’s story. It’s time to treat the customer-buyer relationship as a relationship. It’s time to have a conversation in the present.
Because when this is all over—for everyone’s health and safety, hopefully sooner than later—your customers will remember your response not to the situation, but to them.
What is Mindful Marketing?
Mindful marketing is caring so greatly about the feelings, wants and needs of your consumer today—no matter where they are in your funnel or in their customer journey—that you act first in their best interest over yours.
Mindful marketing starts by talking to your customer, not at them. In mindful marketing, we hear not what we want to hear but what is actually being said. A mindful marketer considers the current needs of customers based on real interactions before responding in sincere ways to their situation.
No assumptions, no predictions, no gimmicks.
The goal of mindful marketing is to provide value to your customers without resorting to disingenuous tactics. Mindful marketing is achieved by upholding these virtues:
- Empathy: Do I understand how my customers feel? Am I showing compassion for their current circumstance? Am I providing the support they truly need?
- Authenticity: Am I being genuine with my customers? Do my actions reflect my sincerity? Do I provide honest information and resources?
- Significance: Am I providing true value to my customers? How can I make a difference in their lives? Am I really helping out my customers?
How can you start being a mindful marketer? It’s time to go back to the basics.
Answer Their Questions, Not Yours
Brands can no longer get by on copy/paste statements. Take the time to listen to your customers and reassess what matters now. Be brave to tackle today’s hard questions that mean something to your customers.
Start by reviewing the online behavior of your consumers. What are your customers saying on social media, forums and review sites? What terms are they most searching for online? How are they currently spending their time?
Now it’s time to connect with your customers. Send out polls and surveys, host online chats or virtual meetups, call up customers and have a conversation—there isn’t a shortage of ways to find out what’s really on the minds of your consumers.
How you deliver those answers depends on your industry and the customer. Videos, blog posts and podcasts may resonate better for those at the top of the funnel while user guides, members-only chats and newsletters may be more impactful for loyal buyers. What matters is that your content delivery best resonates with your audience for the questions at hand.
The conversation doesn’t stop because you answered a question. More questions are asked, more feelings are conveyed, more needs are expressed. And just because one form of content delivered well doesn’t mean it will the next time around.
What matters is that you keep listening with your full attention, that you keep empathizing with their situation, that you keep responding in ways that bring value to their personal lives.
What matters, especially now, is that you make your customers matter.