I sat down with Maureen Jann of SuperDeluxe Marketing to discuss her passion: ensuring her own personal mission aligns with her clients’ passions when designing a marketing strategy. Learn how to market to marketers and use a client’s aspirations as the basis for forging a strong relationship.

The following is a transcription from an audio interview

So Maureen, what is your mission, and what are your passions? What are you passionate about?

It’s a lot of fun to talk about. I have a personal mission and a professional mission. My professional mission is getting customers to where they want to go, and that goes beyond marketing. It’s really about giving them the freedom to live the life they want to lead, because I deal with a lot of small and medium businesses, and they’re just trying to do a great job for a company they believe in.

One of the first questions I like to ask them is, “What are your larger business goals? What do you really want out of this? What are your personal goals?” It’s more than just marketing. It’s about having marketing serve their business strategy, and ultimately serve the person behind the business strategy to help them lead their best life. The mission for my business is helping customers get what they really want out of life through their business goals.

What really drives me is what drives my customers a lot of the time. It’s really about being free to make the choice of the type of business I want to work for, and the type of work I want to do. I’m passionate about choosing the right customers, and making sure that we work well together, and we both get a lot out of the relationship. I have a very strong partnership bent on the way that I talk to my clients, “I may not get this right for you on the first try, but we’re gonna work together to make it right.” From a business perspective, that’s a big part of it.

From a personal perspective, I am passionate about great shoes. My favorite shoe company is Fluevog because they’re weird, and they’re colorful, and I love them. I’m also passionate about craft cocktails. I do love myself a beautiful, old-fashioned.

I am lucky to have some incredible people in my life, from family to friends. I am just a lucky gal, so I am also passionate about spending time with them.

When you’re talking about your customer’s passion, do you mean in terms of their business goals, or more aspirationally related to where they want to go as a company and what their brand really stands for?

It’s a combination of all of those things. When you are forming that kind of mission and vision, it should be some sort of intersection between the big meaningful things for your customer and the way your business can achieve them, or help them achieve their goals. Not just their professional goals, but their life goals.

Nobody will care about your product and service if they can’t put it into context. You really need to create a connection that’s genuine and heartfelt, and whoever is representing that intersection in your company needs to be truly empathetic and genuine. They need to understand the core of that message in order to be that person who can deliver it to both clients and prospects. You can’t fake it, this is a BS free zone.

How do you go about finding the right clients, and how do you go about actually developing the strategy that intersects both your mission and your customer’s passions?

When you can figure out what really motivates your customer aside from revenue and bonuses, and you can connect with them in a place that is in people’s hearts and heads.

Finding a really genuine connection is like making a new friend. You’re not gonna be able to BS your way into a new friendship, but you can get to know them, and understand their pain, and their processes. And when you know that your customer just wants to be great at their job, and they want to be able to home and eat dinner with their family, or go hiking on the weekend without stress, or retire before they’re 80 (good luck to all of us on that one). That’s when you really get to the heart of how you can help them as a business.

There’s a couple of really amazing examples out there. A perfect example that you’ve probably seen is REI. They have this whole opt-out side campaign that eschewed the whole standard, “I want to buy crap that I don’t need for the holidays.” They threw away the eating, and the drinking, and the buying junk, and what they did was encourage people to go outside to enjoy each other, which is the heart of the holiday.

They wanted you to be together. And where are you gonna be together? You’re gonna be outside. And what do you need to do to be outside? You need to buy gear. They did a phenomenal job of that intersection between understanding their customer and what drives them. And the core of being outside is having those experiences, and then you layer the holidays over that. And then you have this moment of being outside together with people you love.

What a phenomenal way to overlap your business mission with struggles your customer is having, or the things that they’re passionate about. The campaign went gangbusters, and they’re doing it again this year. I think we’re gonna see a lot of press around it again. Having them close on a holiday, or a black Friday, “Get out of here. That’s crazy,” right?

I think all marketers kind of need to have a little bit of that energy, and that willingness to think outside the box, especially with the market being as saturated as it is. With that in mind, when you are talking to your clients, how do you find that perfect intersection between your passion and their mission?

When clients are trying to find that space between their passion and their customer’s passion, and how to serve that effort, you really need to know the customer really well. It’s the first and most critical step to understanding what you can do for them and how you can really serve them as a client.

What is their story? What motivates them? What gets them excited? What gets them up in the morning? Where do they work? Do they have a family? Do they have hobbies? You need to know all that stuff.

An example is that I had a client, and it was a real estate brokerage. We sat down to map the personas of their best customers, and we started talking about recent deals, and their customers’ situations.

We had eight or nine different customer profiles. And we started looking at: Who were those best customers? Who were the most fun? Who were the most profitable? Who were the easiest? Who were the lowest hanging fruit?

We boiled it down to a few audiences. What started to emerge was this idea of the forever home. Customers wanted to put down roots. They wanted to feel stable, and safe.

What also became clear was that the three groups that were the most profitable, and the lowest effort, were also the ones who had come out of several life changes. A divorce, or blending existing families. For them, the idea of stability was a new start in a new home.

Of course, homes reside in communities. As part of my client’s mission towards being active in local areas, they invested in huge charitable efforts to help those in need in the community they were promoting.

It was a really interesting experience to go through this process with them and see the process of marketing and community action go together.

When you’re leading, or when you’re helping your clients figure out how to lead a potential client through the whole funnel, what sort of ways would you be tailoring your messaging starting from all the way from the top of the funnel right down to ready to purchase?

It’s going to be persona dependent. In a perfect world you create one of those funnels for each one of your personas, that way you can tailor that message all the way from their first touch on, maybe a Facebook ad, all the way through the content that they’re consuming or converting on, and then that conversation while they’re between sales or marketing.

Just ensuring that if you have a concept, a passion, a mission concept that sort of ties all of those personas together, and ensuring that that message trickles down in a way that’s really relevant. Positioning the messaging through the funnel in a way that directly impacts or addresses the challenges that those customers are having, such as divorced versus newlywed.

You’re going to see different messaging go through those people. I think it’s just making sure that you have a really clear strategy that serves that larger purpose in a way that’s genuinely meaningful to each of the people you’re serving.

Let’s say you have a client who has three different main audience demographics. Do you help them to differentiate their messaging, and how do you make sure that the type of content and the type of tactics you’re using are actually going to reach all of those different audiences?

I have an example from that same real estate client. The first set of personas we targeted was actually for a group that was outside of our area, and my client was trying to get new customers to move to their development. So we ended up creating personas for the type of customers that they wanted to bring in from a related metropolitan area. So what we did was, we worked with them to help basically boil down the two or three different types of people that we thought would be best suited to come and live in our community that would enjoy it the most.

The people we wanted were looking for more space, and they wanted to own instead of rent. You couldn’t do that in the Seattle area where we were nearby. We got an opportunity to actually create this three-pronged strategy that helped them drive these new customers to the marketing campaign that we put together for them.

Basically, the idea was our folks at the brokerage would take them on a tour around the community. What better way to convince somebody that they want to live here than to show them, right? We combined content marketing, social media advertising, and event marketing to create this multi-touch, multi-attribution process to ultimately lead them to conversion.

What was especially exciting about this is that they had tried it once on their own, and it didn’t go well. We had this benchmark of, “This isn’t gonna work.” What we did was basically boil our audience down to healthcare and technology workers, and then subgroups of people who enjoyed the outdoors and some people who didn’t. We actually had four personas that we had created Facebook advertising strategies for.

We did a cross-section of their job titles, their interests, outdoorsy versus non-outdoorsy, and their potential home-buying behavior. Facebook’s targeting helps you get very narrow. Those Facebook ads took the potential buyer to blog articles that were tailored for their particular interests or their situations, and with a call to action that invited them to register for our tour that we were doing on the side.

And it was really, really exciting. We also used those event systems, like Eventbrite and Meetup to also be advertising to their communities. At that point, they went from having no people to go on this tour to about 15, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you think about what a long tail process buying a home is, it was very impressive.

Ultimately, eight self-selected prospects are in the process of being nurtured towards the deal at this point. But all of that went through this more complex, more efficient, and buyer behavior-driven type of content marketing and social media advertising marketing strategy.

With this whole idea of surprise and delight, can you think of one really good example of a strategy that you offered to one of your clients that really surprised them and really drove amazing results?

One of my clients is actually a digital marketing agency, and I had actually worked for them full time for a while before I went off on my own.

We were trying out webinars. You’re like spending 30 minutes or an hour on a webinar, and then you get four people show up. What we did was take that webinar content that we were working on and turned it into something we like to call micro-lesson: five minutes-or-less lessons that you could consume while you’re at the doctor’s office, or while you were waiting for your bus.

On social, they go crazy. And that was a really exciting point for my client when we all figured it out, that that was a great space. It was a good attempt at a content re-use, and it also did wonders for the brand. It was great.

I was able to bring my experts together with the marketers in a way that was easily consumable and helped build trust for our brands, and also was actually quite a bit of fun.

Right. I mean, I’m sure they were super happy with that. And like you said, a lot of the strategy these days, especially with the advent of video, is just trying to make your content as digestible as possible. If people are watching, I think that’s pretty much an instant win.

Yeah, absolutely. And the other part about that is it becomes one end or the other, especially with the things that are pressuring us via the SEO perspective. You’re going to have itty bitty content that’s easily consumable and very user experience friendly, or you can have long-form content. And there doesn’t seem to be a lot of in-between right now. It seems to be one extreme or the other.

Thanks so much for speaking with me today, Maureen. I have one very important question to ask you before we sign off, which is, what’s your favorite flavor of ice cream and why?

My favorite flavor of ice cream is a Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. It has to be that brand because all other cookie dough is powdery and crappy. I am not a big fan of those, but Ben & Jerry’s does an excellent job. It’s delicious. It’s a naughty indulgence, but at least the pints are small so that way you can’t do too much damage in one sitting.

 

Maureen Jann is a compassionate and straightforward marketer who is energized by helping businesses grow. She is currently the Founder and Managing Director of SuperDeluxe Marketing, a marketing, content, and thought leadership strategy agency on the outskirts of Seattle. Before tackling the challenge of marketing to marketers (how meta!) she spent the last 18 years helping organizations build high-performing marketing departments. Maureen has a Bachelor of Art from San Jose State University and her side projects have earned her an MBA from the school of failed startups. A frequent guest on podcasts and panels, she is passionate about unusual shoes, crafts, and good beer. Maureen loves exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her daughter, husband and pug dog.