Marketing from the Beginning & Never Ending
Authenticity and transparency describe the common message from the FiberConnect 2023 panel, Messages Matter: Crafting Go-to-market Plans for Fiber Broadband. Moderated by Kim McKinley CMO of UTOPIA Fiber, these concepts are central to effective marketing strategies today.
McKinley, who is also Board Secretary of the Fiber Broadband Association, shares some of the key takeaways in the above interview. One of the primary messages from her and the panel is the importance of being genuine and showcasing one’s true self to the audience. Authenticity fosters trust and builds lasting connections with customers.
Another crucial insight is about the evolving role of marketing. Contrary to the perception of some that marketing is merely a tool for customer acquisition, marketing is an ongoing journey. It begins even before a project takes off the ground and persists long after its completion. This notion mirrors the philosophy of global brands like Coca-Cola, which, despite being an industry leader, continues to invest heavily in marketing, underscoring the fact that the process never ends.
The dynamics of marketing strategies shift as markets mature. Initially, the focus may be on creating awareness and establishing the brand. As the brand becomes established, the emphasis transitions to acquiring customers and enhancing their experiences. Later, the challenge becomes reinforcing the brand’s value proposition and consistently delivering value to the consumers.
Local Is Key
McKinley highlights the essence of local communication, underscoring the significance of resonating with local communities. She shares an anecdote about a customer service interaction that demonstrates the value of personal connection in an era where individuals often feel reduced to mere numbers.
While a company might have internal marketing expertise, the scope and scale of a robust marketing strategy often demand external help to understand local markets. As such, she stresses the importance of hiring local PR agencies to complement internal teams.
A good communication channel provides a way for customers to help inform future product direction. McKinley cites examples of their product evolution in working with their city partners to develop fire detection and air quality monitoring as part of its Smart Cities Innovation Lab initiative.
One of the innovative ideas from the panel is the concept of creating mock testimonials. These generated kudos can guide a brand’s strategy towards its vision of the future.
McKinley points out that broadband is an enjoyable business. She recounts a recent personal example where one of UTOPIA’s marketing managers created a calendar and associated video for her birthday that was enjoyable and memorable.
In summary, brands don’t need to adhere to a staid image; they can embrace a fun persona, creating genuine, enjoyable interactions with their audience. Whether it’s the inception of a brand or its ongoing journey, the key lies in being authentic, resonating with the audience, and most importantly, enjoying the process.
- 00:21 – McKinley reinforces the concept that marketing needs to be in the room with engineering from the beginning of the process.
- 01:13 – Different goals over time means shifts in the marketing strategy
- 01:58 – Marketing also helps bubble up new products over time. The communication is local.
- 02:53 – Local PR agencies are a way of extending the communications channel on a community-by-community basis.
- 03:19 – Mock testimonials are a good way of defining what you want your company to look like in the future.
- 03:44 – Have fun, which is easier to do when you are authentic and real.