Assumptions Kill Marketing Efforts Like Salem Villagers in 1692 (Got Inbound?)

Jen Saunders
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Halloween is almost a week away, and while werewolves and zombies may scare some, assumptions scare the living crap out of me; especially when they are made by marketers.

Assumptions are dangerous things to make. When we make an assumption we don’t take factual information into account. This means we fail to do our research, neglect talking to the right people, and botch the opportunity to fact-check our hunches. After a while, this behavior becomes habitual leaving no room for reason and marketers continue a practice with their blinders on.

Your goal is to grow your business and increase revenue. Making assumptions not only butchers your chance to deliver at a high level, it reduces you down to a logic that puts faith into attention-seeking little girls who bring doom and chaos.

In 1692 two little girls accused a woman of being in league with the devil. Then the accusations flew and 20 people were executed. Historians widely debate the psychological, chemical, sociocultural, organic, and economic reasons why these girls spread such lies, or why the village of Salem was on board to make assumptions over such idiocy and prosecute the innocent (until the Governor’s wife was accused; then the trials and executions stopped), but a few things that are not debatable is that nobody in puritan Salem truly understood one another, or the foundation of their own supposed beliefs, and they made hasty decisions without doing thorough research into the slinging accusations that doomed their own.

If you assume to know your buyers and how they view and engage your brand without doing thorough research to uncover the true nature of their pains, your content, SEO efforts, and branded message will fall short from reaching the right consumers likely to convert into revenue. You will be shooting yourself in the foot, stirring up drama that will come back to bite you, and you will likely have your own “profit loss blood” on your hands. The best digital agencies apply inbound marketing for business growth because it weeds out any room for forming assumptions by demanding marketers to know their buyers and run precise, customized content campaigns through a marketing automation strategy.

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Understanding Giles Corey and Sarah Good, Knowing Your Buyers

Had the people of Salem who sat on the jury come to understand those accused, they would have recognized some interesting similarities: most were of low economic status and therefore easy targets. Giles Corey was pressed to death in the field near the courthouse and Sarah Good was hung along with four other women. Her famous last words were shouted to the judges proclaiming, “ I’m no more a witch than you are a wizard, and if you take away my life God will give you blood to drink”.

Assumptions tore the village of Salem apart by drenching its identity in the blood of the innocent. Since 1692, the witch trials have been the only thing Salem has been known for (not what the magistrates, townspeople and clergy had in mind).

Anyone who can benefit from your products or services is an easy target, but in order to prevent their hanging and your loss of delighted customers, you must first understand where they are coming from and what their pains and intentions are for finding a solution. Go through your email history and look at the questions people ask about your brand, products and services. Send out questionnaires to past customers as well as people who decided not to buy in order to determine what won them over, and what lost them. Talk to your sales team; uncover the basic information on your buyers such as their age, family status, profession, income, hobbies, and other things that can be used to create buyer personas.

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Buyer Personas and Closing Sales Leads

One sure way to axe assumptions is to build buyer personas based on the data accrued from your emails, sales history, questionnaires and sales team feedback. Buyer personas are fictional identities built around real customers that help marketers write purposeful content directed to specific audiences designed to move them through a funnel using marketing automation.

Anyone who fills out a form requesting more information is a lead, and if set up at a high level they are recognized as qualifies sales leads. When you are able to pair the qualified lead with an appropriate buyer persona, you will stop making assumptions and will instead know just what their pain points are, and what content journey to send them through. If done on point, you will be executing one sale after another versus hanging your earning potential by the neck until dead.

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