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Tribal marketing: How to engage your audience

Through tribal marketing you'll find your brand a cult following, like that of a football fan following his/her team. Here's how you can replicate that loyalty.
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While the tools of modern marketing are incredibly powerful, customers are becoming ever more “marketing-phobic”, screening out all but the most personally-relevant messages. So given that the huge majority of marketing is a complete waste of time and money, how can you engage your audience and create a community of clients who are ready to buy what you’re offering? By unlocking the power of tribal marketing.

Here’s an excerpt from my Sunday Times bestselling book, RESULTS: Think Less, Achieve More.

People are increasingly seeking out individuals, companies, charities and communities that genuinely share their values and worldviews. As a result, purpose, authenticity and transparency are becoming crucial – and here’s the thing: You can’t fake authenticity. In a time of 24/7 social media and smartphones, people are going to see the real you whether you want them to or not, and this presents a huge opportunity.

The spread of the Internet and social media has meant we all now have the power that used to be reserved for politicians, media and captains of industry. A teenager with a smartphone can command an audience that used to be reserved for only the most popular TV shows. Leading management thinker Peter Drucker famously said that a business has two core functions that create results; marketing and innovation.

If marketing is a way of multiplying your ability to sell something, you can think of tribal marketing as a way of connecting with, engaging and giving value to the people you want to serve; a tribe who resonate with your worldview. When you use tribal marketing and have a highly engaged audience, it becomes more straightforward for them to “buy” what you’re offering. This is the case whether you’re a student looking to promote club nights at your university or a CEO who wants to engage colleagues and stakeholders.

Jamie Smart

Jamie Smart

Tribal marketing leadership

Who are a group of people you/your organisation would love to serve? (Hint: they may be a group of people you’re already well-acquainted with; people whose values and worldview you share and understand.) Entrepreneur, author and marketing philosopher Seth Godin explained that “a tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.”

Becoming the leader of a tribe puts you in an extremely influential position. Through tribal marketing you will gain their attention, loyalty, time and money on an ongoing basis if (and only if) you continue to show them that you are worthy of it. And how do you show them you’re worthy of it? By being worthy of it. This means…

  • Understanding their worldview and genuinely caring about the people in your tribe;
  • Helping them solve their problems, achieve their goals and get the results that matter to them;
  • Being honest, authentic, transparent and trustworthy; and
  • Being courageous, true to yourself and doing what makes sense to you

You can show you’re worthy of being the leader by leading by going first and giving value to the people you’re here to serve. Whether you’re the CEO of an FTSE 100 company, the leader of a high-growth SME or a transformation professional working with a select group of clients, there are certain audiences that it’s critical for you to connect with. Each person lives in a separate reality; a thought-generated perceptual reality they experience as an actual reality.

“Getting” your audience’s perceptual reality puts you in a powerful position to connect with and lead them. The more you’re able to create value for your audience in a way that’s honest, authentic and transparent, the happier they’ll be to give you their attention, their trust, their loyalty, their money and their time. So what audience or group of people would you love to make a difference to?

Jamie Smart is a Sunday Times Bestselling author, speaker and executive coach. His latest book RESULTS: Think Less, Achieve More is out now published by Capstone. You can learn more about how to engage your tribe and get bigger results by downloading the first two chapters of RESULTS for free at www.JamieSmart.com/instantresults 

Image: Shutterstock

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