A Simple Articulation of The Marketing Roadmap

Recently, I spoke to an exceptional marketer. He explained the strategies & tactics behind great marketing simply & clearly. Marketing’s methodology can often seem abstract and intangible, so it helps to have a simple & versatile framework.

He mentioned that our world view largely shapes how we operate & what we spend our time on. We feel & take action largely in response to the narrative that we’ve formed about the world around us. Great marketing starts with this. Craft a compelling narrative that people can relate too. Align with their understanding of the world. Paint a picture that bridges their current state of affairs with a better future & outcome. In economic terms, this is called a gap analysis. Good marketing either helps champion the customer to solve a problem in their own life, or directly solves that problem for them. In either case, the future is brighter.

The conditions that drive receptiveness of this narrative might be complex. Different components of the narrative will resonate more or less across certain customers. This complexity & broadness is why we test, adjust, reiterate, and expand. We can later focus on a subset of customers to drive deeper demand over time. This is a concept called "customer personification", and has been coined many times over by Hubspot, Shopify, Buffer, and hundreds more.

The most simple route could be just asking yourself a question:“Right now, what do we understand about the people we're trying to help”. By asking this question, we can identify the more specific pain points that are affecting those people.

An example of this framework in action can be found in Nike. In 1988, they launched their slogan “Just do it” as a way to appeal to both athletes and the general population. They emphasize positivity & taking action. If you’re just starting, or if you’re nervous or unsure; just do it. Things improve substantially when you take action.

They have executed on thousands of campaigns since, but their “equality campaign” embodies the notion of narrowing and expanding a market narrative over time. Nike emphasized Ideas such as “equality has no boundaries” and “we can be equals, everywhere”. By doing so, they’ve appealed to the socially conscious athlete.

Lastly, these messages must be distributed across multiple channels to maximize reach. Search, social, speaking events, field marketing, etc. Ultimately, these initiatives should lead to higher demand that is later reflected in a company's bottom line.

I like this framework because it’s versatile and can be used as a starting point for developing demand across many verticals. It combines strategy & tactic in simple, actionable terms. An organization must create a compelling narrative for their product or service. If they fail to do so, the offering will drive only transactional demand. Exposure will dwindle. Interest will taper. Momentum will fade over time.

Thanks, to all the great mentors who have helped shape the narratives in my own life, as these stories have led me to fall in love with the craft.

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