This blog post is brought to you by guest author Clive Astin, of Middle8 Media.
Recently, Wendy asked copywriter Clive Astin to write a guest blog around the topic ‘What does making conversations count mean to you?’.
Clive is an experienced journalist, PR specialist, and copywriter producing regular informative copy for his clients.
We hope you find this take on the importance of conversation insightful, coming from a different industry perspective than our own.
If you have questions about the blog, or want to get in touch with Clive, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with Clive on LinkedIn. Please mention you read her guest blog on the WAG website 😊
Making Conversations Count – From the 90s Onwards
“Making conversations count” is the very essence behind forming meaningful relationships between your brand and all those who interact with it. Well, it should be, in my humble opinion. So when asked to write a short blog, keeping this strap-line in mind, I jumped at the opportunity. I pondered how to get my point across without sounding like a marketing handbook, and I realised that the best way to do so would be to refer to the era when I began University, because I believe that’s when the real shifts towards relationship marketing were happening. Social media was new, ‘content was king’ (well, beginning to be) and a Red Bull and vodka was as ‘cheap as chips’ at the Student Union bar (so I hear).
When I attended one of the UK’s top-ranking universities (I can’t remember its name at this moment) back in the late ’90s, the overall ideology behind Marketing was shifting away from the mere closure of a transaction, more towards a realisation that brands needed to nurture long-term relationships with their target groups. As I mentioned, social media was in its infancy, ‘glocalisation’ was an emerging paradigm (we loved those new made-up terms back then – true though), and relationship marketing was becoming more and more the focus of study.
As the media proliferated, we were exposed to more and more commercial messages each and every day. They soon began to form a ‘noise’ that we learnt to subconsciously filter out. Then, after selling millions of really annoying, yet universally adopted operating systems and complementary programs, someone coined the term ‘content is king’ way ahead of his time (I’m not even saying his name). We might make a purchase decision for a low-cost, low-risk and fast-moving-consumer-good because of a digital advert, but for higher-value products, and certainly, for services, consumers want more information and more assurances before they commit. That’s where content, conversations and relationships come in. If a brand can position itself as the educator, the trusted source of information, a friend even, customers will be more inclined to turn to them for information and reference. When they’re further down the buying decision-making journey, that brand will be front-of-mind (the first you think of). Anyway, pretty obvious stuff, I hope.
So, drawn-out decision-making journeys, and of course, repeat purchases, all require a relationship comprising trust, with credibility between the brand and the target group. And this is why ‘making conversations count’ is a really important mindset to adopt. “Tadaaaa!”
One last cliché, I promise, but this one is truer than ever: People buy from people. They prefer to buy into a brand with personality, a story, a meaning and a vision, and you’ll only convey those elements if you start making conversations count. Understanding the characteristics of your target groups, their roles, objectives, problems, and communicating that you have the solution to said problem. Following ongoing research into your target groups, through listening to them and their wider market group’s discourse and current affairs, you can produce content from articles, to blogs, newsletters, to case studies and beyond, all of which engages, educates, informs, convinces, and entertains: content that can be subsequently discussed and debated across social media, networking, calls and more.
I’m Clive Astin of Middle 8 Media. You’re very patient to read this far. Click here to visit the Middle 8 Media website for more information.