Marketing’s one true constant is its changeability. Advancements in technology, consumer behavior, and a million other factors can shift consumer behavior and make your current marketing strategy obsolete. Even today’s hottest marketing tip may become an ancient relic by tomorrow.
What’s the solution? Chase every trend until you’ve exhausted your marketing budget? Certainly not. Rather than treating each new marketing strategy as the perfect miracle drug, maybe it’s time to embrace a few basic marketing strategies that have stood the test of time.
Everything New Is Old Again
Understanding some rudimentary marketing techniques is not about taking an oversimplified, one-size-fits-all approach. It’s about investing in timeless tactics that will remain relevant in an ever-evolving field. And because you never know when the latest marketing fad will become archaic or even unprofessional, having that stable foundation is more important than ever.
Just look at the “black hat” SEO marketing tactics of the last decade. A few years ago, gaming the Google algorithm was a tempting way to achieve quality search engine optimization. Now these methods wouldn’t be effective — even if you managed to execute them without getting a black mark on your record. Currently, the number of online shoppers who go directly to Amazon is 10% greater than those who start with search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, so what once seemed like a surefire way to reach consumers has now become a distant memory.
Facebook’s uncertain future in light of the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal proves that even a well-established marketing channel could eventually disappear. Relying on the power of a single approach — even one that has lasted over a decade — could put you in danger if that well goes dry.
There are always going to be new trends, methods, and platforms changing the marketing game, but all of them stem from the same basic techniques that go into any good marketing plan. By using the following tactics, you can develop a strategy that survives the constant, day-to-day changes in the industry.
1. Boil Down Your Brand Message To Its Core Concept
When you’re passionate about your product, you could probably write a novel about how great it is. Unfortunately, no one’s going to read that novel, so keeping your brand message concise is the only way to compete with the countless other messages occupying your audience’s attention.
Greg McBeth, head of revenue at Node, suggests using simple, everyday words instead of complex technical jargon that only a fraction of your audience will understand. “Try summing up your product’s value proposition in 25 or fewer words,” McBeth advises. “If you can’t explain it simply, then you’re going to have a tough time selling it.”
A brief message may not be as fun to write, but given the avalanche of new content published every day, keeping it simple is a strategy that will never go out of style.
2. Stop Treating Your Audience Like A Monolith
In addition to a strong brand message, the key to marketing is understanding your customer’s wants and needs. But it’s easy to forget that your customer is not just one age, gender, or other demographic. Your consumer base is multidimensional, and not understanding each of these dimensions could be costly.
According to McBeth and his team, marketing leaders can’t afford to treat their total addressable market as one large, cohesive group. As a CMO, “your job is to go in and really understand the inner workings of your business and the people that are buyers,” says McBeth. “This is working smarter, not harder.”
When you try to appeal to everyone, you’re essentially appealing to no one. Defying this paradox should be your first step to understanding — and ultimately expanding — your audience.
3. Spread Messages Of Inspiration And Positivity
You know the old saying: “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar?” While consumers may balk at the idea of being compared to insects, it’s still true that positive emotions have it all over negative ones when it comes to inspiring customer loyalty. This extends beyond simply happy phrasing, encompassing the entirety of a brand’s identity.
Large corporations like Walmart have found success in recent years by not only communicating a positive message, but also by inspiring consumers through social outreach and sustainability efforts. “Had Walmart merely paid lip service to sustainability or continued to work with suppliers that eschewed eco-friendly practices, it wouldn’t have made much of an impact and might have cost the retailer credibility with environmentally conscious consumers,” says Peter Seligmann, founding CEO and chair of Conservation International and founder of Nia Tero. “Instead, it made sustainability a core policy and flourished because of it.”
4. Let Your Customers Come To You
Gone are the days of interrupting potential customers with ads, promotional offers, and dinner-time cold calls. These tactics waste time and money that could be spent trying to sell to consumers who are actually interested in your product.
Inbound marketing gets your message across to consumers in a much more palatable way. Utilizing your website or social media to reach consumers is far less intrusive than telemarketing, as it engages with users who are already online. This way, you’re not bombarding uninterested customers with reasons why they should try your product — you’re appealing to the right crowd at the right time.
Instead of calling up a random stranger, consider having your website’s visitors like your Facebook page to enter a contest. Rather than blindly spamming thousands of users with the latest offers for your product, try offering a loyalty card program for existing customers. It may sound counterproductive, but knowing your target audience is conducive to any marketing model. Annoying people, on the other hand, is a thing of the past.
Too many marketing leaders get caught up in trying to find the latest secret to accessing their entire market, only to see few to no results. So, the next time you’re tempted to jump on the bandwagon of the most popular marketing trend, consider how you can attract the right consumers with a more tried-and-true approach.
This article originally appeared on Forbes.