We Are All Marketers: How to Do it Right

In this book review, Zer0 to 5ive’s Alyson Kuritz features Bernadette Jiwa’s “Marketing A Love Story: How to Matter to Your Customers“.

It’s a simple concept, but oftentimes an overlooked one: in order to be effective in marketing, you have to see the world through the eyes of your customers. What do they really want? Why will someone really care about this? Bernadette Jiwa points out in her book, “Marketing A Love Story,” that the best marketing is accomplished by communicating how our ideas translate into value and solve real problems. She explains that if we find ways to authentically show people that we care about them, we have a better chance of mattering to them.

In the age of technology and instant gratification, where there are a dozen options for streaming TV, getting a ride or selecting a phone, delivering a positive customer experience is one of the most valuable investments a company can make.

The introduction of the book recounts her time as a bean counter for a grocery store. Often times while stocking shelves, she’d be approached by a customer needing help locating or reaching a product, but instead of helping them herself, she’d pass them along to another clerk as she had been instructed to do. She reflected on how odd it was that the store spent so much time trying to get people in and out, but not to offer the best, most memorable experience, to keep them coming back.

As the title implies, the book is divided up into a number of blog posts, or “love stories” as she refers to them, in three distinct categories: strategy, context and story. The brief pieces utilize real-life examples and analogies, making it easy to for the reader to consume and to read on to the next short story. In this blog post, I have highlighted one entry from each section that resonated the most with me and my career as a communications professional.


Life After Launch Day: Introducing the One-Page Marketing Plan

Jiwa compares launch day to giving birth. As a marketer who has helped launch many companies and products (and at the time of writing this post was very pregnant), I felt like she was writing this post for me. What do the two have in common? It’s quite simple, actually. You read the books, you take the classes, you have a 10 point plan for every scenario that could happen during 20 hours of labor, but what about the next 20 years?

Oftentimes organizations get so caught up in activities leading up to the launch that it’s easy to overlook the long-term strategy. She says “day one is easy to imagine – but what’s the plan for day two?” To succeed beyond the first 24 hours, she outlines the key elements that should go into every one-page marketing plan:

  • Why
  • Who
  • Difference
  • Price and positioning
  • Distribution
  • Platform
  • Promotion strategy
  • Conversion strategy
  • Growth strategy
  • Referral strategy
  • Strategy for increasing transaction value
  • Retention strategy


The Value of Asking ‘What If?’

“Because we’ve always done it that way” is a risky trap to fall into, and one that doesn’t often come with much reward. Jiwa reminds us of that with an example of Marriott testing a pilot program, which offered dining credit or loyalty points in exchange for each day without housekeeping.

Why would they do that? It turns out that each daily room cleaning costs Marriott at least $22. They began to explore ways that their residents could get more value out of that cost. What if they value privacy or “being green” more than a made bed? It turns out that they were onto something, and customers appreciated the option.

Jiwa explained that stepping out of your comfort zone feels risky because you might find out that all the hard work you’ve put in place might not be the best solution. However, not asking the question guarantees you’re going nowhere.


How to Tell the Story of Your Idea Using the Value Proposition Hack

One of the biggest challenges isn’t coming up with a great idea; it’s how to communicate the value of that idea to its customers. This is hard to do if you don’t have a place to start, so she developed the ‘value proposition hack’ for people to explain the value of an idea in a single sentence.

We do ________ so that you can do/feel/be _________.

We created ________ so you don’t have to do/feel/be______.

This ‘love story’ stood out to me because it was closely aligned with what we’re taught on day one of working at Zer0 to 5ive: Geoffrey Moore’s positioning model, featured in his book, Crossing the Chasm. Moore takes the value proposition hack a few steps further, and in addition to showing the value your company offers, also highlights what differentiates you from the competition in the market.

Whether you are someone with ten or more years experience in marketing and PR like me, or you’re an entrepreneur or a student, I highly recommend reading this book. It might serve as a refresher for concepts you’re already familiar with, or could open your eyes to a different way to position your company. Either way, it was entertaining, included tangible, real-world examples, and was digestible in a single train ride – always a plus!

By Alyson Kuritz, Director