Marketing: You’re Doing It Wrong

Chanel didn’t become Chanel by writing “your fall must-have list,” it became Chanel by being Chanel: independent, forward-thinking, and unafraid of what everyone else was saying. You can do that too.

I’ve been a business-to-consumer (B2C) copywriter for seven years. In the last year, I’ve taken on more of a role as a marketing consultant because of how much a copywriter needs to be involved. From a marketing perspective, copywriting is much more than just writing words. You need a copywriter to write the all of words on your website, the words on every button on your site, the product descriptions, and every word in your marketing activities, whether it’s a tiny blurb in a magazine, email marketing or writing a commercial.

Copywriting, at a very basic level, is communicating with your customers about who you are as a company. The first step in having a successful business — the step that most businesses have the hardest time with — is knowing who you are, not who you want to be.

Companies can learn how to do this by having an identity. By knowing who they are. By having something to say.

Since I started consulting for ecommerce businesses in September of last year, I’ve read every marketing email I received, listened to audiobooks about ecommerce, read articles about how to attract, retain, and keep customers coming back, went to a Tony Robbins seminar and learned how to replace my expectations with appreciate, argued with friends about what it means to be authentic online, purchased over $500 of items from Amazon, and helped my clients make a combined total of almost $100 million in revenue.

Basically, I’ve picked up a few thing or two about copywriting for businesses while seeing marketing departments (and companies) flounder while their competitors get more funding, more press, and way more sales.

Businesses don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing or who they are doing it for.

I’d love to blame every marketing department for this problem, and sometimes it is, but the problem usually starts at the top. The people pulling the strings are unable to communicate the company’s mission, perhaps because they don’t even know what it is. In marketing speak, we call this a “value proposition.” Sales happen depending on how you present your value proposition, and the words you use.

If you don’t understand what you’re doing, how can anyone in your company understand what you’re doing — but especially your copywriter, who is responsible for writing the words that tell the world who you are.

Historically, a lot of business-to-consumer marketing is heavy on transactional, impersonal copy — “here’s why you need this!” instead of “this is who you are or who you want to be, and we’re going to help you get there.”

Somewhere between billboards and 140 chargers, we forgot how to communicate.

Sadly, I’ve seen this a lot; it trickles down from executives or business owners who are scared to take a risk with marketing — their products or services are selling, so why should they take a chance and do something risky? What they fail to realize is that risk get more people talking about their business. That’s what marketing is supposed to do.

Along with all of these other problems, many businesses don’t know how to trust their employees.

Many executives and managers say no to every change, every system, every new design, every new campaign — and then their teams give up.

People get burnt out. People leave their jobs. Or, worse yet, they stay at the job they hate because they don’t have to try anymore. You won’t make much forward progress when you have a company full of disgruntled employees.

Here’s my advice to Marketers, Managers, Executives, and Founders of companies:

Be self-aware, and remember that customers are people, not numbers. Connect with them and the sales will follow. Learn who they are. Talk to them. Listen to them. Inspire your customers and help them achieve their goals (whether it’s completing an outfit with a new handbag, proposing marriage, or redesigning their home).

Brands can project who people want to be. People should look to your band for inspiration. As a brand, you can define people’s ideas. You can go so far as to ingrain yourself into vocabulary by defining new words (“Google it”).

Let’s figure out who you are before we try to market to your customers. Stop thinking about them as customers and start thinking about them as friends and family. Focus on your strengths and what you’re naturally good at. Encourage your managers and employees to do the same. Sit down and have regular brain storming sessions with your teams. No judgement, just snacks and ideas. Promote from within. Teach your employees. Be passionate. You can’t sell something if you don’t believe in it.

You can change the world with your company. You just have to know who you are first.

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Fashion writer, luxury resale expert, and personal essayist. www.beccarisaluna.com www.coffeeandhandbags.com

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Becca Risa Luna

Becca Risa Luna

Fashion writer, luxury resale expert, and personal essayist. www.beccarisaluna.com www.coffeeandhandbags.com

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