September 21, 2023

Digital Marketing Education

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How the Army taught me to be a better marketer—5 key lessons

Think of how the Sears catalog was basically the first Amazon, a place where you could order a refrigerator, underwear, a fly swatter or anything else. It stuck with what it did and never evolved. Though human nature can encourage us to stick with what’s working, businesses and brands require evolution to succeed.

Listen to consumers

The most careful listeners you’ll ever meet are Army recruiters; how else do you get people to sign? Brands need to find the compelling intersection of who the brand is and what people want. In that way, they can keep what makes the brand great, but change in ways that are consistent with the brand’s truth.

A brand’s story is what makes it unique and different. Use analytics to identify your unique selling proposition, which is the one thing that sets you apart from competitors. Using quantitative and qualitative tools, brands can discover their strengths and weaknesses, and determine how to leverage them to highlight that advantage.

Make your customers evangelists

When brands motivate consumers to become evangelists, they become the best communicators. A Nielsen study found that 92% of consumers believe friends and family over any kind of advertising. In the military, and with so many products and experiences, passionate word-of-mouth is the greatest way to create believers and buyers. Once I had total buy-in into the military, I excitedly told friends and family about my experience.

As a soldier, I learned the necessity of change and adaptability. Granted, brands aren’t literally fighting battles, but they are contending for the hearts and minds of passionate consumers. 


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