15 min read
3rd part in series: How to market with intention (if you haven't read the others, yet go back to the first blog about marketing your social value before your product value first)
63% of marketers say generating traffic and leads is their top challenge. (HubSpot, 2017). And, only 61% of marketers believe their marketing strategy is effective. (HubSpot, 2017). In this blog, you will learn one small change any marketer can implement to be more successfully immediately in connecting with their customers. And, step-by-step suggestions for how to get started.
Click here to watch this 7 second video before you read! It will make a lot more sense if you do :)
Oprah says that “Intention is about enjoying a new sense of freedom to be who we really are—ourselves, natural, and without a mask in our relationships, our work and our life. It takes courage, commitment and depth”.
This video above is of me and my dad in the South of Spain, right outside a little village called Ronda, built right on top of a huge, beautiful gorge.
Fun fact: the backdrop for my video above is also the backdrop for the new, totally adorable and heart-wrenching animated movie, Ferdinand. (go see it, seriously.)
My family and I had just arrived in Ronda after being bused around on tours and guides around the bustling tourist destination, Rome, just a few days before.
Ronda was a whole different destination. Tranquil in its natural beauty.
The second we arrived, my dad and I just couldn't wait to go explore around the beautiful rolling hills surrounding this village. We had no set agenda to make sure we "checked off" all the tours and sites on the "travelling checklist" my mom had created for our trip. There were no hidden intentions in the adventure we desired here in Ronda other than to please ourselves. To soak in the natural beauty of free, unguided exploration.
We didn't know our way around. We didn't know what we were even looking at. But, we literally felt like we were on top of the world in this video standing up among the rolling hills, the scattered country-side homes, and the roaming cattle.
We know now that we were looking out over a huge gorge that used to protect this ancient city from their enemies. This village is traditionally known as the "Eagle's Nest" for its position high in the mountains, far from any other civilization.
But in this moment looking out over these rolling hills, we were experiencing true authenticity. We were away from all of the external pressures that influence our daily decisions (like our very organized and punctual travel guide: AKA my dear mother 😁).
In this moment, we were masters of our own fate. We were masters of our deepest intentions.
I'm going to teach you how to look for your deepest intentions like we found in this moment. But you're going to be even better at it, because you're going to be able to recognize your deepest intentions on a daily basis, right in the crazy hustle and bustle of business.
This blog is going to teach you how to recognize your intention in your marketing. And through this one small change in your marketing strategy, you're going to be immediately more successful.
Here's a quick Emma Watson dancing GIF to get you fired up.
While I was writing this blog, I was thinking about how to answer this question:
What is one thing any marketer can do better to be more effective immediately?
Then, it hit me like a ton of bricks.
Actually, technically, Oprah hit me with a ton of bricks. Aaaaand, she had this look on her face when it finally clicked with me.
Oprah Winfrey is one of the most successful business women of all time and arguably has one of the most well known personal brands ever.
She’s a marketing queen. 👑
I’ve been obsessively listening to the audio version of her book The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations, a book about awakening your spirit, living with intention, discovering the power of forgiveness, and finding fulfillment, love, and connection.
The book was inspired by Oprah’s show, Super Soul Sunday, which features the most interesting thought leaders and visionaries on core topics like, intention.
Oprah explains intention like this,
I had recognized for a long time that I was responsible for my life, that every choice produced a consequence. But often the consequences seemed out of line with my expectations. That's because I was thinking one thing but intending another.
I wasn't aware of the consequences of my deepest intentions. My intention of always trying to please other people, for example, produced an unwanted consequence: I often felt taken advantage of and used.
After Oprah realized that so much of her problems came from doing things in life without recognizing her intention behind them, she made a change.
So I decided to become aware of my every intention in order to create a different outcome. That meant doing only those things that came for the truth of who I am—and only doing for others what pleased me to do.
Intention is at the heart of creating authentic power.Oprah's discussion of intentions with author, Gary Zukav, finally made me realize how simple the answer is to this question,
What is the one thing all marketers can do to be more effective immediately?
DUN. DUN. DUN…. another GIF for you...
To become more effective immediately,
All marketers need to consider their true intention behind their marketing before any interaction with their customer.
Oprah made me realize that the reason strategies like cause marketing (done right) have been so successful to help businesses do things like, better connect with their customers, increase their sales, shorten their sales cycle, and increase their retention, is because of intention.
Intention is first and foremost, about serving what your true self desires in all of your actions, but it can also have a profound affect on those who interact with you.
When you market with your truest intention in mind, like "I genuinely want to help this customer because it will make me happy to solve a real problem they have," your effect on others will immediately reflect that authenticity.
And that will not go unnoticed.
Because, most marketing today is missing intention. Most marketers wear a mask.
We put on our big flashy smiles in our marketing messages, but behind the scenes, we’re just wearing a mask, not truly recognizing our intention and whether or not it's positive.
We try to use clever wording and new channels to convince the customer to look past the fact that we’re just trying to sell to them….trying desperately to get them to pay attention to us.
Most marketing is fueled by our goals to convert more leads, win more sales, build a bigger following, get a bigger bonus…the lists goes on.
But when we don't realize that the intention we are actually releasing out into the world is one of these things, when we just market for the sake of business goals, our customers can easily see right through the mask.
They can tell that our intention is not to serve them, it's to sell to them.
And it's not working.
80% of marketers report their lead generation efforts are only slightly or somewhat effective. (BrightTALK, 2015).
Until we begin recognizing the true intention behind each marketing message we put out, and re-think if it is truly meant to serve our customers or our community, it will continue to be difficult to connect with our customers.
Beginning to recognize your true intentions behind your every interaction with your customer is a small change to make, but not always the easiest.
The best of the best marketers do this. Even Oprah.
When she finally understood the power of intention, Oprah changed how she operated all of her businesses and said to the producers,
Do not bring me a show idea- do not even come to me with the idea-unless you know what your intention is that you want to serve. How do we wish to serve our viewers, how do we wish to serve the public?
Let Oprah serve as an inspiration 😇 She thinks deeply about nurturing every single interaction with her viewers.
Nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads. (Demand Gen Report, 2014).
I challenge you: every time you go to put out a marketing message in the future, ask yourself: What’s my intention?
The best way to think about this concept is: Are you providing actual value (whether direct or indirect) to your customer?
Perhaps you are teaching them something through a blog or video
(A practice often used in inbound marketing. If you haven’t tried this strategy yet, you have to check out Hubspot after reading this blog)
Or perhaps you're raising awareness for a local cause that might affect them or something/someone they care about.
Both of these examples allow the customer to relate to, and most importantly, understand, your intention behind your message.
How to make sure you’re marketing with intentionTo work towards more effective and more enjoyable marketing for your customers, try to work these kinds of intentions into your future marketing efforts:
It can be very difficult for marketers to get these same powerful messages across with the traditional approach of “just talking about your product”. So, if you are questioning whether or not you are currently marketing with intention, revisit one of your most recent marketing messages and see if it lines up with any of these four intentions above.
Once you do start marketing with intention, it paves the path for this natural progression in the customer life cycle:
In this day and age, this natural progression in the customer life cycle is absolutely key to excel in the long term as a company.
If you want to get started with marketing with intention immediately, a really easy place to get started is through cause marketing, since the intention to help your community is already automatically built into this kind of strategy (if done right).
92% of consumers say they have a more positive image of a company when the company supports a social or environmental issue.
And, according to the Cone study, after learning that a company is socially and/or environmentally responsible,
To see what this looks like in practice, let’s consider a hypothetical scenario of a successful cause marketing campaign that masters the concept of intention.
Hypothetical scenario using cause marketing strategy to market with intention:If I were to choose a social mission to represent my company, I might choose Local Farming & Growing Sustainability.
Let’s consider the key elements that show the thoughtful intention behind this cause.
“My cause story: After living in Italy for four months during college, I gained a real interest in the local farming methods commonly practiced there that were aimed at growing only what you need in your local community to minimize food waste and maximize available farming space.
Since returning to the States, I’ve had a passion for sharing what I learned in Italy with my community.”
All of these key considerations together express a clear intention behind this cause marketing- that my hypothetical company actually cares about the cause we’re marketing and has clear action steps to make an impact.
If a customer’s first interaction with your company is built off honest, clear intentions, not to sell to them, but to provide true value to them, perhaps by making a difference in the community with them, your customer will give you a shot.
How YOU can bring intention into your strategy immediately by marketing for a causeI encourage you to start your cause marketing here:
But the key to inspiring your customers to take actual action is to make sure you’ve built up trust with them first.
The key is not to rush this process. A great business social mission cannot be built up over night.You have to build trust with your followers and customers. Show them you truly care and define a clear action plan to make your social impact.
Here are some final words from Oprah,
What I know for sure is that whatever your situation is right now, you have played a major role in setting it up. It is you who have created your circumstances. With every experience, you alone are painting your own canvas, thought by thought, choice by choice.
And beneath each of those thoughts and choices lies your deepest intention. If you are feeling stuck in your life and want to move forward, start by examining your past motivations. To recap, even if you just start by changing only one thing in your marketing strategy to be more effective immediately,
Recognize your deepest intention behind your every action and make sure to only do the things that come for the truth of who you are—and only do for others what pleases you to do.
I'll leave you with this video of me spinning on top of the world 🤗
CALL TO ACTION: Comment below your biggest challenge in marketing or cause marketing today and I'll try to reply back with some helpful feedback! Or one of our other fellow blog readers here might come to the rescue :)
About the author
Ashland is a passionate young entrepreneur with extensive experience in Sales, Marketing, Cause Marketing, Social Marketing, and Brand development. She is the founder and CEO of Because, a for-profit social venture startup aimed at empowering more businesses to adopt a social mission and market for a cause through the power of marketing technology. Through an easy to use marketing platform, Because helps you manage the entire process of finding, creating, and executing a successful cause marketing strategy to crush your business goals.
Share your story!
If you are interested in sharing your company’s story and social mission, Ashland would love to set up an interview to further her research and perhaps feature you in an upcoming blog! Your story could help inspire many others who are looking to pave the path in cause marketing.
She's also always looking to hear about challenges other companies are having with cause marketing, so even if you don't have a "success story" per say, she'd still love to hear it! You can DM her or email her at email@example.com
Join the team!
If you are passionate about the same or similar concepts described in this blog and think you have a unique skill-set to bring to the table (perhaps tech, marketing, philanthropy, etc.), reach out to Ashland to talk about joining the team!
#WomenInEntrepreneurship #CorporateSocialResponsibility #CauseMarketing #TheFutureOfMarketing #CSR #MarketingTrends #Intention #Oprah #SoulfulSundays #WisdomOfSundays