It seems everyone these days is talking about Marie Kondo, the Japanese organizer/author whose cleaning philosophy revolves around efficiency, editing, and empathy for the things which we surround ourselves.
Come to think of it, those three items are also hallmarks of great marketing, so we decided to take a closer look at how we might incorporate some of her methodologies into our work. Prepare to have your marketing ‘Kondoed’!
There are so many tools available now that can help in team and project management that it can be a bit overwhelming. Here are some tips for choosing the marketing technology you need to be effective:
- You don’t need every tool. Identify what is most important for you and your team to accomplish, then be selective and optimize that framework to address the needs of each client and your team.
- Similarly, don’t try to tackle everything at once. Kondo suggests working with categories. So, for instance, examine processes one at a time. Is this process as lean as it can be, while still delivering the results you expect? What steps, if any, can be eliminated?
- Digital asset management is another area ripe for running out of control, and quickly. It’s both a blessing and a curse to have access to so many folders, documents, and images. Especially when you consider that, according to the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), 80% of the items we keep aren’t used often enough to take up the space that they do. That means without strict adherence to filing, naming, permissions, and archival, your team will almost certainly lose sight of the trees in your digital forest. If possible, start with a standardized system; if things are already a jumble, it’s worth taking the time to sort and organize appropriately.
In Marie Kondo’s world, editing could very well be synonymous with “de-cluttering.” But either word works in relation to cleaning up strategic communications.
Use these tricks to craft clear, explicit messages for all types of writing:
- Marie Kondo advocates for selecting only items which spark joy. In the same vein, examine your text for filler material that doesn’t add value, incomprehensible phrases, passive voice, and negative statements rather than positive ones.
- When working with her clients, Kondo often finds that nostalgia keeps someone holding onto something that has outgrown its usefulness. You’ve probably heard the adage, “kill your darlings” in the context of writing. In the editing process, it’s important to examine whether a turn of phrase you like is relevant and meaningful to your message. If it isn’t, let it go.
- One of the problematic parts of editing is seeing what’s not there yet. In the same way identifying what works and doesn’t in your closet, you’ll often be able to see better what’s missing in your copy once you have removed the deadwood. As Kondo suggests, discard first, then organize what remains.
Customer focus is more critical than ever today. Your customers typically respond better to customized, personalized information that answers specific questions and offers solutions to problems they may be experiencing.
Here are some ways to incorporate empathy into your daily work routine:
- Put yourself in your customer’s shoes as you develop new communications and processes. Who is your audience, what do they want to know, and what is the easiest way to transfer this knowledge to them?
- User experience can have an immediate and dramatic effect on whether or not a prospective customer will stay on your website, answer your call to action, contact you – or disappear into the ether. E-consultancy claims that 64% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with their site visit will go somewhere else to shop next time – and that may be a low estimate. So when designing websites, landing pages, emails, and other customer-facing elements, ruthlessly examine the details to make the experience as seamless and satisfying as possible for visitors.
- The world is changing fast. Sometimes it feels too fast to some of us – and if a customer is in that category, it’s imperative to listen to their concerns. Try to identify what makes them resistant to the change you are suggesting – it may remind them of a past failure, or there may be something in their business cycle that this change would negatively impact. Once you have a better handle on the rationale, you’ll have a better idea of what solutions to suggest. Also, if it’s possible, choose solutions that will allow your client to dip their feet in the water before making a full commitment.
Does this exercise make you feel as if you’re breathing a little easier? The result of incorporating efficiency, editing, and empathy into your routine should be a marketing process that sparks joy – in both your team and your customers. Good luck!
Nicole Hudson is an engaging thought leader in marketing strategy development, branding, demand generation, content marketing, SEO, social media, storytelling, social selling, marketing technology and lead generation. Her firm, Inbound Lead Solutions, focuses on sales, communications and marketing alignment with B2B companies, franchising, professional services, keynote speakers, authors, and consultants. Hudson’s marketing strategies have been recognized by Franchise Media Group in two consecutive years with Star Awards for social media lead generation, and by a Dbusiness Magazine award in 2016 for Marketing Consulting. Her work has been featured in multiple LinkedIn case studies on SEO, content marketing and lead generation. She published a book collaboration with Bulldog Reporter (Infocom), The Advanced LinkedIn PR Handbook. Hudson has developed social media strategies for three national television appearances: Be the Boss, Shark Tank and Undercover Boss. Nicole is a member of the International Franchise Association, Detroit Women in Digital, and AMA Detroit. She is a board advisor for Mother Honestly, a collective of women CEOs, executives, investors and career professionals; and a board member and marketing chair for Community Home Supports, a Detroit non-profit. Hudson is a recurring columnist in Career Mastered Magazine and a regular keynote speaker, content contributor, and trainer on sales, marketing, and communication topics.