All too often, I think people really overthink their marketing strategies and tactics. They come up with these really complex marketing plans that feel too clinical or transactional that don't think about real life. It ends up feeling awkward and inevitably ineffective.
Great marketing is about building a great relationship between a brand/business/org and the customers. Prior to the digital age, this was done offline. Growing up my dad and I would go grocery shopping together. We got to know one of the sample ladies really well. That relationship helped her sell a lot of product.
Fast forward twenty years. The principals till hold true. Great marketing is still about building great relationships. You have to really care about your customers.
What's different? The Web enables you to build relationships with audiences at scale. You can have meaningful interactions with A LOT of people that are mediated by social networks.
When I wake up in the mornings and page through Facebook and Twitter, I'm looking with the eye of how I can affirm, serve or add value to the people that are in my network. This may be a simple as a fist bump emoji or something more complex. They're all meaningful interactions.
In the age of social media, you can interact with your audience early and often... like a normal relationship. I talk to my wife, family, and close friends more than once a month. Yet, too often brands who want a relationship feel comfortable emailing their audience more than once a month.
When people think about marketing, they get all nervous and anxious and forget that in the end it's just about building relationships. They start doing things online that'd feel really uncomfortable in an offline relationship. STOP! A relationship is a relationship regardless of whether it's online or offline. Start marketing like it.