Digital & Social Media

Getting to Know You: Creative Marketing 101

Getting to Know You: Creative Marketing 101

“Creative marketing” sounds good, and it’s an absolute requirement to stand out in a crowded field. But how do you actually accomplish it? Cathy Donovan Wagner, CEO of RetailMavens, studies the science of marketing. Below, her three top tips for marketing anything to anyone.

1. Introduce Yourself. People buy from people. They don’t buy from organizations or companies. So, it’s about letting them into your personal life, as much as you feel comfortable, but sharing yourself with them. That’s what’s so great about social media. I actually just got a client, who signed up for a $15,000 course that we have, through Instagram. Ordinarily, you’ll post a product or service that you want someone to buy and you’ll be doing something to promote it. What we have found effective is telling them why you like it. Not just listing all the features and benefits, but saying, “Listen, it does this, this, and this, but what I love most about it is this…” because that’s what people connect with. The other part of letting them know you is taking them behind the scenes with you. Whatever business we’re in, we get so used to it, none of it seems new and magical. But, to people on the other side, being at a trade show or a conference or even a picture of where you actually (work), that’s magical. It’s like letting them in behind the curtain. That’s the reason we love all those awards shows pre-shows – they have all those TV shows now where they are letting us see what happens behind the scenes, back stage. It’s the reason “People Magazine” sells.

2. Craft a story for your product. Stories sell. It’s something we hear all the time, but what I find is that people don’t really know how to make a story. So if there’s something you want to sell, whatever it is – a product or a service – you don’t just talk about the product. You talk about the person who created the product and how they got started, and what they wanted to do. Look at Toms: All they do is sell shoes. Well, now they’re selling coffee, and why do I go and buy their coffee? Because I kind of like their shoes. Their story has now become their brand. Whereas if you compare it to a makeup line, a makeup line is just a brand, that’s all. Stories really sell. I tell my clients, “Every communication should be a ‘GIFT.’” It’s an acronym. GIFT means “Genuine Information For Them.” I had a client the other day who had these amazing hiking shoes come in and she couldn’t wait to tell everybody about them. I told her that she should (compile) a list of great hiking trails in her area and then talk about the shoes. You wouldn’t necessarily think hiking trails would help the sale of shoes, but it’s what her people care about.

3. Create communities. My last point is a reflection of (new technology). There’s social media, where you may not even know the people you’re interacting with. Or, you can be sitting room full of people, where everyone is doing something on their phones, instead of interacting with each other. We have all of this access to all of these people, but think about how alone we sometimes feel. So what is more important than ever before is community. Creating community is paramount. Everyone – everyone – wants to be part of a community. So create one. I have a client who owns a toy store, not because she loves toys, but because she’s passionate about teaching parents to play with their children. So, when you start talking about that, talking about your mission and your passion, when you give people something bigger than themselves to be part of, they fall right in line. They want to be part of it. That goes for your team, your product, whatever. People get so excited about that. You also have to give them events that matter to their lifestyle that they can come to and bond at. An example of that is a dog store I know. The owner had a dog mom’s day for Mother’s Day where you could come and talk about your dog. You weren’t supposed to bring your dog, just come and be with other dog owners. These were women who didn’t have kids and whose friends thought they were crazy and they felt completely misunderstood. So these women came, (the owner) helped them be better pet parents and she created a community. Everyone was happy.


About the author

Maggie Sieger is an award-winning journalist and former Time Magazine correspondent, published also by Reuters, the Chicago Tribune, Entertainment Weekly, Realtor Magazine and Readers Digest, among others. She is the author of Deep in the Heart, the First 50 Years of Duchesne Academy. Sieger currently works as a freelance writer and media consultant in Saint Louis, Mo.

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