Consulting to Market

The key decent marketing, and to being a marketing consultant, is in understanding the balance of Internal Relevance and External Relevance. External Relevance is your brand in relation to what's going on the world at large and what's going on with your target audience specifically. Internal Relevance is the heart of your brand and the value it creates for your target customers. I've made this observation before, but I'm continually amazed by how many people get this wrong. Here's what it looks like when they do:

Getting External Relevance wrong are brands jumping on to holidays and trending hashtags with commercials, posts, or promotions for products that have no relation to the topic of the day. Not every restaurant should be making posts about St Patrick's day. Some shit just doesn't need to be sold on the 4th of July, no more so than on any other day. Just stop it already.

Getting Internal Relevance wrong are business owners and consultants that fail to understand the meaning of their goods/services as perceived by customers. You can work to shape that meaning, particularly by adding context. Telling the story of a business's founder, the history of a recipe, the philanthropic work they do, etc., all add context about the business and can be done to great effect. It is very easy to get this wrong however, and consumers today can sniff a whiff of bullshit through an ornate tin can. Modern advertising has groomed consumers to be experts at perceiving authenticity; fakers beware.

The balance is the work. Too many people avoid the actual work part. We're all guilty of it from time to time. Jumping to ambitious goals, to planning out and mapping the creative elements of design, video, content - all of that feels like the work we're being paid to do. It's not, not entirely. The real work is in doing your research in advance, in knowing your limitations and the limitations of the brand. The hard part is asking yourself and your team, "Do we have evidence that this is the best way to turn marketing dollars into sales?" Harder still is, "Are we the right team for this project?"

I've been meaning to write a new post for months... thanks for reading.