Marketing has been taking some twists and turns over the years — with Google’s decision to discontinue Google Plus providing the only seemingly simple choice to marketers; removing a platform from a marketing plan. But the twists and turns have increased the complexity of simply speaking to customers about products or services. Instead of providing the traditional one way message to customers, marketers must now seek a conversation with customers.
But what conversations are meaningful? How do those conversations change branding and sales tactics?
A book that helps marketers understand what conversation they should be having with their customers is Conversation Marketing: How to be Relevant and Engage Your Customer by Speaking Human by Kevin Lund, a leading financial services content strategist and marketer. The forward is by Joe Pulizzi, author of Content Inc (We reviewed that book back in 2016 – here’s the review).
I received a review copy, and found the book to be a useful guide above mere social media tips to get to the heart of marketing.
What Is Conversation Marketing About?
The idea of a marking funnel is fast falling out of fashion and marketers are feeling the pressure to engage the customer as never before. Lund offers a number of chapters broken into themed sections.
In the chapter on Planning, for example, Lund explains the value of earning attention, telling a story, staying humble, and picking a party.
What I liked about Conversation Marketing
I thought the chapter Stay Humble was the most interesting and offered more five-star strategic tips than any ad hoc online post. Here Lund explains how suppressing one’s “id” makes needed conversations with customers more engaging and draws response.
“Killing the id is easy. Simply stop talking about you…To accomplish this, you tell stories — stories about life, not about you or your origin story, that resonate with your audience’s story.”
That recommendation spoke to me, as I did the same when I started my business. So you can see how Lund writes to his truth, speaking to issues that allow the reader to nod and share in understanding.
I also found myself nodding to Lund’s observations on analytics — there’s a light mention of Google Analytics, though no in-depth coverage on reports, dimensions or metrics. But Lund provides better information than many authors by noting how data should be examined.
“Data from one source, measured by one person, should throw up a caution flag….Understanding the data you’ve measured requires multiple data sets, collaboration, and the ability to challenge assumptions.”
Mentioning the subject of data usually generates more conversation than conclusion. But Lund found the right amount of description given the size of the book.
The chapter on telling a story covers a lot of tips which would be helpful not only in creating content but also in choosing the right personalization for digital ads. Lund cautions the reader about making content too long, a good social media tip given that posts can be boosted on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.
“Remember you’re dealing with short attention spans, particular online. It’s not a tome. It’s content using storytelling technique.”
Lund uses well researched details to support his views, such as this note.
“By 2019 content marketing projected to be a 300 billion dollar industry, with markers increasing their content spending 25 percent in 2018.”
I liked the master “cheat sheet” Lund describes in Appendix B, meant to tie the major points together. It’s helpful for small businesses and marketing agencies that need quick reminders.
Why Conversation Marketing
Conversation Marketing is a must read for marketing how-to. It’s one of the best business books launched this year. Lund strikes the right tone and simplifies the complexity in communicating online today. He truly helps both marketers and small business owners plan for better content and, even more noteworthy, for rising above the noise by gaining customer engagement with content marketing.