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Marketing 101: Learn to Operate in Realities, Not Abstractions

While re-reading “The One to One Future”, by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, I came across a quote that validates the concept of agile marketing. Peppers, who I actually had a chance to speak with last week, states the need to “operate in realities — not abstractions.” This is an important quote for marketers to take to heart, because as marketers, we tend to live in the world of “I think”— and too often, what we think is wrong.

In our last SFF (Subscribers, Fans, and Followers) report, “Marketers Are from Mars,” we broke down the difference between what marketers think consumers want, and what consumers actually want. The study revealed an eye-opening disconnect between the two. This is the basis of Don’s quote: the abstractions we live in are so often wrong, and a great marketer doesn’t build campaigns based on feelings, but on facts.

So how do you get the facts? It’s actually very simple.

If you want to operate in realities, you have to create an idea, test it, and change it to match the market’s response. How do you measure response? By using the most underutilized tool in the entire marketing toolkit: the telephone.

During every speech I give, I ask marketers to raise their hands if they have ever used the phone to reach out to a prospect. Unsurprisingly, I’ve yet to have a person raise their hand. Most marketers feel this is the job of sales, and the phone is their enemy. This is false! The easiest way to validate current ideas is to call people. Call the prospects and customers who engaged with your campaign, and get their thoughts on it.

Consider asking the following questions:

• Was the content helpful?

• What did they take away from your content?

• Did it provide the information they thought it would?

• Was it valuable? What would have made it more valuable?

• What can you do better next time?

Once you start to build your campaigns around the realities of how people are reacting to them, and remove yourself from the equation, your marketing has the chance to be impactful at an entirely new level. So the lesson for the week? “Operate in Realities, not Abstractions”. Thanks, Don!