Across industries and niches, entrepreneurs are confused and stalled by the ever-evolving marketing monster. Here are the 5 areas you should focus on in your 2020 marketing plan. They are all about who you are and how you show up for your tribe. Which tools and strategies you should use, we’ll figure out. The right strategies and skills are important, but what I have often seen is that a tendency to strive to become professional ‘corporate-like’ brands instead of making the distinctive and unique qualities solopreneurs naturally have the very cornerstone of the business. In the 2020s, the human-centered approach ought to be the pivot of marketing strategy, and that starts with showing up as a relatable human.

1. The happy customer is your best marketer

Distrust, discomfort, disrespect and a sense of overstepping boundaries arise in many of us when exposed to traditional marketing. This nasty gut feeling is sparked when we remember the decades of lies told, secrets kept and information controlled by corporations alienated from regular people like you and me. We feel powerless when we realize that even legislation can’t protect us against sleazy and dishonest marketers. No wonder so many of us hesitate and resist marketing.

It is a fallacy. Neither corporations or marketing agencies have the power we tend to believe. The only truly powerful force in the marketing space is, in fact, the consumer. For more than a decade, we ignored the fact that two-thirds of the touchpoints during the purchasing process has nothing to do with company-driven marketing. Instead, it involves consumer-driven marketing activities, such as Internet reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family.

Even accomplished entrepreneurs tend to struggle with marketing and sales. Integrity issues, and a sense of incessantly changing rules and trends are stopping passionate people from successfully fulfilling their dreams and impacting the world in their best way.

In the affair of brand growth and incorporating modernist means, most of us, somehow, lose sight of the most principal thing - which ironically often is the very reason which we set out on the entrepreneurial journey for: Serving.

Marketing should be done for people, not to them. An honest desire of wanting to diagnose if the match is right will in the end make everybody happy. There is a right market for almost anything and there is no sense in a convincing-based strategy when there are other people out there who need exactly what you offer - delivered by exactly you.

Let’s enter 2020 with a more human approach and build your personal brand in a way that reflects you show up in your best way for the people who need you. In short: Produce amazingly happy customers that voluntarily will promote you.

2. Have real conversations

You might have missed this important point, but people talk to other people. The better part of the purchase decision-making process it out of your control as a marketer. People rely on input from people they know. But because we can’t fully monitor or measure this, we tend to just ignore these conversations with such a big inspire of the massive impact they have on our businesses.

How about you instead center your attention about conversations that will both enhance the value for your tribe and give them something interesting to say about you when you are not around? That requires real interest and real conversations. It requires you to show up.

3. Build a community

Provide shelter so people can pursue whatever they are looking to achieve. In the era of social media, and the number of people is joining the communities and groups that have interests similar to theirs is rising. As of this year, Facebook is strongly promoting Groups in TV ads - and even during the Super Bowl. The goal is to increase the number of group members from 200 million to 1 billion. But why certainly all that focus on community building?

Despite being more connected than ever, there were never more people who feel alone (47% according to Cigna) and lacking relationships with people to understand and support them. It is a fundamental human desire to want to belong somewhere, its primal human need that we all have.

Form a community. Show them that you understand what they are going through and you are ready to hold their hand and have their back. Take all those gloomy clouds off their heads and guide them. Show them they belong to you and you belong to them. But take it further and create a place they can participate in the creation of along with their peers. Make them feel they matter and they can participate with all of what they already are.

4. Meet your tribe offline and in-person

Even though social media lives are the fastest ways to grow your circle and interact with your people, there is an excellent opportunity to develop deeper relationships with a part of your audience by meeting them in person. Host workshops or attend other peoples events for similar audiences. Engaging in public speaking holds its own dignified place and instantly raises authority. However, they are also excellent spaces for testing new ideas and new material. Hosting online summits webinars or showing up live for a real conversation also sparks the sense of access to you. Make sure you show up as the person ahead of them on their path but still their peer.

5. Publish a book

Writing and publishing a book shows people that you have relevant knowledge and solutions to share and can instantly raise your authority in your niche. Share you models and frameworks but also your stories and how you became who you are today including mistakes and failures and how you overcame them. Be a real human. Readers will feel more connected when they read about your ups and downs and that you had a rocky journey as well.

You do not need to be an excellent writer and you probably don’t want a publishing deal either. There are various online mentors and coaches to help you with the self-publishing process. On this website, I offer a free course that will take you through that first step of getting an outline in place for your book. There is a very healthy clarification process involved in that in terms of what your business is all about and who you really want to work with.

Author's Bio: 

Hi, I am Malene! Author of 'Marketing Made Human: The Art and Science of Creating a Lovable Brand', Host of podcast 'Marketing Made Human' and passionate leader of my tribe.

I help consultants, coaches, speakers and authors build their personal brand businesses. I am a recovered corporate, former CEO of a self-publishing company in Peru and passionate traveler and Cuban salsa dancer.