Incongruent marketers lack continuity in how they position themselves versus what they actually deliver. It's usually not intentional, but there is often a disconnect. Click to learn if you are an incongruent marketer and how to figure it out.
Is there anything more disingenuous in marketing than the “bait and switch?” We’ve all fallen victim to a click bait title, or gone into a store based on an offer that in the end wasn’t “as advertised.” There are companies that unfortunately hold inauthenticity as a corporate value and make their money preying on the uninformed.
But there is a more insidious form of the “bait & switch” marketer that we all as marketers need to understand. It’s what I call the incongruent marketer.
The incongruent marketer is a brand that has every intention of delivering the promise of value communicated in the selling process, but does not. So the intent is pure, but the execution is failing; often without the brand realizing. Content serves as the record of evidence as to whether you as a brand are delivering and supporting your product or service in the way you promised. Unfortunately, we see incongruent marketers that do not.
We have done plenty of posts and podcasts that detail the storytelling arc we suggest you use when thinking about structuring your brand story in your marketing and sales. These represent the first 6 points on the 8-Point Arc.
Points 7 and 8 help brands understand if they are offering continuity in their experience and advancing their brand story.
Point 7 on the 8-Point Arc is Activate the Hero. In Activating the Hero, we process all immediate post-sale and onboarding material to compare against sales/marketing material.
Point 8 on the arc is Fulfill on the Promise. In Fulfill on the Promise, we process all post-delivery and onboarding material to compare against sales/marketing material.
For example, in the Fulfill on the Promise chart, we can see a brand that demonstrates a completely different storytelling profile post sale versus pre-sale. Pre-sale (in grey), the brand positions strongly as a thought leader that will be consultative and insightful in helping the buyer achieve value. Post sale (in green), the brand becomes very tactical, trying to drive the client to usage without any attachment to value.
This is evidence of an incongruent marketer.
So, how do you know if you’re an incongruent marketer? And if you are, what should you do?
1. Determine if you have a problem. As they say, the first step is admitting you have a problem. Go to the source. What is your net promoter score? Do clients feel they realized the value they were sold? Does your customer brand perception match your market brand perception?
2. If you have a problem, get alignment and acknowledgement. If you’re an incongruent marketer, it’s not a simple fix because it’s not just your problem to fix. You now have to get leaders of the groups responsible for delivery and support to agree that the problem exists—and align on a desire to fix it. This of course includes the C-Suite.
3. Start with the story. Your brand story shouldn’t end with purchase. Think of your marketing/sales content as a chapter in your brand story. Once you bring a customer on board, a new chapter begins. The same storytelling arc can be applied, the hero is the same, and it’s just some elements of the story have now evolved.
4. Iterate. Don’t try to solve everything at once. Introduce little changes over a period of change and continue to measure the effect (see #1).