We don’t need to tell you again that customers make the world go round in marketing. It’s a very common theme for marketers to put their customers first and focus on making their experiences the best they can be. If you don’t put this as your main focus, you’re going to see your marketing efforts go to waste. How can you be successful if your customers are engaging with your content or your campaigns? Everything you do needs to be centered around your target audience. It’s pretty much one of the golden rules of marketing.
This is something Andrea Uhl made very clear when we were talking to her. She believes putting customer experiences first is the best way for effective marketing and something everyone should be focusing on in 2021. 2020 changed the ways consumers think, so they need more empathy from those reaching out to them more than ever.
Therefore, in today’s Rediscover Marketing, we’ll be putting the consumer first and looking at how you can too. As well as this, we’ll provide you with insights from Andrea on many other topics surrounding marketing.
Andrea Uhl is the co-founder of In Creative Company, a free-formed agency with a community and collaborator membership base. They help clients who specialize in graphic design, illustration, animation, and web design. Anything visual is brought to life, such as Instagram stickers and content that needs a visual finesse. In addition, the company loves making things branded with beautiful colors.
The In Creative Company has a strong team that has joined the space and made it a reality. Andrea and her co-founder started it by creating a community of creatives who wanted to network, expand their knowledge, collaborate, and just have stronger inspiration and communication pathways. They created the community so people could come to their events and have the educational experiences they have been craving.
The company has a slack workspace for inspiration and support. They also take on collaborators to work on projects with them which is under their creative company umbrella. When a collaborator is working on their projects, they are under contract with the company. Andrea and her team do all the invoicing and CRM so the collaborator can focus on what they love most which are the technical skills. Andrea believes the company helps freelancers scale and it helps people get experiences to diversify their portfolio in ways that they may not have had the chance to before.
They also help with networking and helping the younger junior designers and writers because they have to work hard to get these experiences. Using a fully comprehensive approach when it comes to the way they work, the collaborators have a strong support system while they can work on what they love.
When asking Andrea what she was proud of her team for achieving, she told us she feels really blessed to have such a wonderful team because they focus on communication. On a daily basis, they will communicate within their slack workspace, and they try to be super creative and consistent with creating a safe environment for everybody.
Andrea’s company and herself are very LGBTQ-friendly, so they want people to feel like they’re heard and they are the ones who can offer that space. Especially if you’re an artist, those spaces are extremely valuable, so they put an emphasis on the importance of consistent and authentic communication. They went beyond the usual discussions and developed a comprehensive communication platform full of insightful and inspiring channels.
Andrea believes the overall 2021 theme for effective marketing and growth is understanding your customers as a person and not a data point. You need to always look through the customer’s perspective.
Don’t let the customer become an afterthought; put them in the center of all decisions. This will make it personal for the customer’s experience. Take the time to build empathy with the customer and also include diverse viewpoints and embrace inclusive designs.
Data review is important and always needed to be discussed. Since Andrea and her team put communication as an emphasis, they like to invest their time in formal and informal training covering technical skills but also mindsets in the community by building events.
One of the events she feels speaks directly to this is the company’s co-working wins event, which is a monthly meeting. They all discuss their successful projects and how the project was accomplished from start to finish. It lets everyone in on it no matter if they were in on that project or not. Those experiences of collaboration can help everyone.
How Andrea and her team use data to steer their marketing happens is a process. First off, if the facts are clear that a marketing initiative isn’t yielding results, it’s important to be decisive and take action. It’s good to allocate resources to proven growth options or new initiatives that promise a better return on investment. This is a crucial leadership discipline, even if it means saying goodbye to an ad campaign and having to create another one.
Andrea always likes to have good data as a crucial factor of her decision base, and she always values speed over perfect insights. She doesn’t wait for perfect data. Instead, she uses the data she has to make a thoughtful decision, and then she builds it vigorously. Andrea measures the results, earns from the evaluation, and then pivots or perseveres depending on the new data.
She recommends always looking for new opportunities around you, and using the build-measure-learn model allows that type of agility. Andrea uses the build-measure-learn model in many aspects, especially when it comes to data and where to go in her marketing, depending on what the data states.
We asked Andrea about her opinions between social media and SEO in marketing and what she believes is more important. She believes both are important and work hand in hand since social media indirectly influences the factors that impact search rankings. Social media has the potential to drive quality traffic to your website, but it won’t directly boost any SEO rankings. However, it provides opportunities for content marketing and link-building efforts that will help boost organic rankings.
In addition, using alt text features on social media images can make for a better user experience and can also add SEO benefits. Along with implementing image title and file naming best practices, including alt text, it may also contribute to image SEO.
Every business has a unique value proposition that dictates who its target audience is, and resources available for marketing and priorities will fluctuate throughout the year. Therefore, if you’re just starting a business and needing to pick either social media or SEO, start by working on a strategy deck before deciding where to allocate your funds. Understand what social platform your customers reside on and what their motivations in life are, among other things. There must be a strategic analysis of the target audience and their consumer habits.
These insights will determine whether to prioritize SEO, social media, or a combination of the two. With a clear understanding of your potential customer’s activity, think about the potential gains, possibly between social media and SEO. Always ask yourself which aspect of the customer decision journey your business needs help with most.
Andrea also gave us some insights on how leaders should approach their planning efforts going forward in 2021. She stated that overall, successful leaders in 2021 should break down internal barriers. Planning efforts for growth is a team sport, and all leaders must actively seek out ways to encourage collaboration, communication, and connection. Make it easy and encourage your team to celebrate their wins. Create a comfortable environment for everyone to feel safe to make suggestions and always be open to listening and learning from everyone on the team.
Towards the end of the interview, we asked Andrea if she had any last key points she wanted to make. She said when it comes to having a good company culture, it’s something that every business should focus on. If your team and clients feel that your company has a good culture, it’s a place consumers want to buy from, and they will notice it. Some things to create a good company culture are having transparency, having trust, and being honest with your employees. This will make everything shine, and all the other things will fall into place.
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