Category Archives: user experience

Successful Marketing – Here It is in a Nutshell

successful marketing in a nutshell

At the end of the year, many bloggers and/or self accredited experts put out their end of the year lists. These lists most often start with titles that entice readers to click through. Titles like, “8 Best Ways to Make Viral Content,” or “5 Biggest Marketing Trends for 2016.” As we have learned from digital marketing data collection, starting a title with a number provokes user behavior. And furthermore, the promise of unveiling information in a list is very compelling to users.

While I question the validity of the content in so many of these articles, I am guilty of producing similar titles (not here but certainly have in the past). But hopefully, you trust that the information I provide you leads to well thought out and proper marketing strategies and implementations. (Trust – we will revisit that issue shortly.)

I’ve looked at the 60 plus articles I have published (here on this blog and elsewhere) and I find particular themes for winning marketing solutions for the new consumer/client –driven world. There are 2 paramount evolutionary characteristics that have caused the need for marketers to morph their approach and tactical executions. 1) The consumers/clients control your brand reputation more so than you do. Brand position is reinforced and rejected by your target audience in full force and outcome. 2) Technology has changed allowing customers/clients to have a dominant role in brand marketing AND allow brands to market to consumer/client behaviors in a most accurate way.

Early in the year, I penned an article “5 Characteristics That Define The Future of Successful Marketing.” Successful marketing lies in a brand’s ability and commitment to

• Listen (to the target audience)
• Understand (their needs)
• Engage (on a personal and broad scale level)
• Deliver a great user experience
• Build trust

Listen, Understand, Engage

The key to marketing success is to truly know your audience. What turns them on, turns them off, and motivates them to take action. Think about it – your audience’s behavior literally says “Marketers – Be There When I Need You.” If you are there when your audience needs you, there is a very strong likelihood that the audience will support your brand with both purchase decisions and advocacy. You can only be there for your audience when they need you if you listen to them (by monitoring what they say about your brand and topics important to your brand), understanding their wants, needs, desires, and then engaging with them.

It is extremely important that your marketing communications are not old school broadcasting. You need to engage with people directly. Consider the recommendations defined in the article “Mastering and Scaling Personalized Marketing.”

Great User Experience

One aspect that truly makes a brand standout and win audience, customers, and advocacy is a great user experience. We look to create an emotional attachment between brand and target audience. The best way to accomplish this is to create an awesome user experience. Think about extending your product/service differentiation by providing an absolute stellar user experience. The user experience should consider every aspect of consumer/client – brand interaction. Interactions online, offline, experiential. Digital and experiential marketing should intersect. This is touched upon in the article “Here is Why Social Marketing is such a Vital Part of Experiential Marketing.”

If you are not convinced of the importance of a great user experience checkout “ROI (Return on Investment) of a Great User Experience and Social Marketing.”


Marketers can no longer make bogus claims. The general public is now the judge and jury via their communication proliferation using reviews and social conversation. In this past year, I really emphasized “Successful Marketing is a Matter of Trust.” In the referenced article, I highlighted ten ways to build trust. The end result becomes “In Brands We Trust, Or Maybe Not.” If you want to increase trust:

• Review regularly
• Show empathy
• Talk naturally
• Act fast
• Become the hub of the issue

Learn more about this.

Ultimately, you want “Magnifying Business Integrity to Market Brand Trust.”

Building an Audience

Remember, there is a slight nuance between sales and marketing. Marketing is really about building an audience. An audience that is queued up for sales conversion. An audience that continues to value your brand. An audience that becomes an advocate for your brand. There are “5 Keys to Audience Development” :

1) Monitor and listen
2) Engage
3) Find influencers
4) Have a content strategy
5) Use paid media

Social marketing is a key to audience development and “Understanding Social Marketing Means Understanding Audience Development.” But if you implement social marketing to build your audience, “Digital Marketers Should Start to Build Relationships Off of Their Home Court.” In this referenced article, I highlight the importance of engagement and audience development on social channels, forums, and blogs that are not your brands digital assets. Go where the conversation is happening and engage. Do not expect to have all conversations on your brand’s digital assets.

But marketing should go beyond audience development. Audience development is step one. Step two means developing something a bit deeper than an audience. Work to build a community. Community is a deeper connection than an audience. If you want to learn more about this see “In Marketing, A Community Trumps an Audience.” Here are some suggestions on “Building a Strong Community.”

Two other points I think you should consider to up your marketing game. The first deals with connecting with influencers to strengthen your marketing reach, perception, and overall reputation. Many think they can just find subject matter experts with a large audience to get them to push their brand. Wrong. My recommendation – “Stop Looking for Influencers, Find Great Partners.”

The second key point I want to make is that “Great Marketers are Perpetual Students.” Are you doing what is required to stay on top of changing audience behaviors and new technology? If you want to be successful, this is a must.

So there you have it – The Social Steve yearly summary. A summary that should help you to be most successful in the coming year. Not a list of unfounded trends. Recommendations you need to consider and implement. Make it a great year. Make it a successful year.

Make It Happen,
Social Steve



Filed under audience development, behavior, brand communication, brand marketing, brand reputation, brand trust, brands, community, experiential marketing, influence marketing, marketing, social marketing, social media marketing, Social Steve, SocialSteve, user experience, Word of Mouth Marketing

There is Something More Important than “Disruptive” to Win an Audience

Sometimes in the business world, people overuse particular words. I would put disruptive in that category. It sounds startling, super-advanced, and mind-boggling. In fact, disruptive sounds infinitely better than the three words I just used to describe it. I guess that is why people really love to use it.


There are only two companies that come to mind that succeed with disruptive offerings: Apple and Google. (I am sure you can name a few others.) Yes, disruptive offerings work for a slim few. But there are a number of other successful companies that are not necessarily delivering disruptive innovations but are realizing strong results anyway. Companies like Virgin America, Zappos, and Nordstrom.

What is it about these companies that make them successful with their target audiences? The answer is an outstanding user experience. I would argue that a great user experience trumps all other facets.

If we look at consumer behavior these days, we see a handful of interesting characteristics that drive brand preference.

1) The truth comes out. The reality is that consumers have such a strong and powerful voice. Brands cannot create a fictitious position. If they do so, if they misrepresent what they are about, the public will call foul. And the consumers’ word spreads.

2) People genuinely respond well to brands that show they care. If a brand delivers customer service or engagement that goes beyond expectation, the consumer starts to build an emotional bond to that brand. Repeated brand action of over exceeding expectation leads to strong loyalty.

3) Brand sharing continues to grow. This is true with regards to positive and negative aspects of user experiences. Now, it is more important to activate your audience to share positive experiences about your brand than to do other social marketing activities such as posting. (Yes posting is still important, but there should be greater emphasis on audience activation and communicating about your brand than the brand actually doing the communication.)

When I studied for my Master’s degree in marketing a number of years ago, academic marketing experts placed heavy importance on product/service differentiation to win a target audience. I am not sure that is the number one characteristic to win an audience these days. I would argue that if your product/service has parity with your competition, but you deliver a superior customer/user experience, you would win market share.

People have numerous decisions with regards to the brands they favor. Just look at any shelf in any store. Do a search on the Internet for a brand category. There has never been such an abundance of choices. So much competition. The best way to win an audience over is to genuinely demonstrate that you care about their business. Bend over backwards to make sure they know you are equally concerned about delivering excellence for them as driving revenue and profit.

I have made my argument that a user experience is more important than a disruptive offering. Your turn. Chime in. What are your thoughts and perspective?

Make It Happen,
Social Steve


Filed under brand marketing, brands, Social Steve, SocialSteve, user experience