Do the hard work to get good results
By Bob Martel/local columnist
The MetroWest Daily News
Today is Labor Day. Summer is over. Time to wash the beach sand and salt from your hair and get refocused on the remainder of 2010, time to revisit your marketing strategy and time to position your company for a strong start out of the gate in January.
It is time, as your Zen master would tell you (if you had one), to chop wood, carry water. In other words, it’s time to do the hard marketing work that will lead to your company’s increased prosperity over the next several months.
This begs the question, what is the hard marketing work on your plate? It’s actually not that difficult… so long as Obamanomics doesn’t knock you back a few more decades.
Putting our president’s business policies aside, what is really stopping you from taking your company where you want it to go? Is customer retention a priority? Lead generation? Cross-selling products and services or, perhaps, developing joint ventures with other companies in order to sell more to people who already trust either partner?
As you head back to the office tomorrow for your Q4 marketing meeting, why not take some lessons from marketing campaigns that appear all around you?
Here are a few thoughts to share with your team:
Why do people buy insurance from a gecko or a duck? Simple. A cute, funny little green lizard or an annoying talking duck would never lie to you. You can trust a fictional character, especially when they are so entertaining. What’s at work here? Madison Avenue is distracting your conscious mind and getting past the little gatekeeper in your head with a message about their products.
Same with the obnoxious nurse-looking customer service rep selling “boxes” of insurance. I am not suggesting you launch a similar campaign, but take a deeper look. Juan Valdez, Aunt Jemima, Betty Crocker, The Michelin Man, Kool-Aid, Mr. Peanut and Mr. Clean each crawled into your head for brand identity. What is your brand all about and how can you imprint its value in the mind of your customers?
Can you really hypnotize your customer and put them in a trance state so they will automatically think about your business and buy from you, refer you and sing your praises? The short answer is yes, indeed. It’s called top of mind awareness. No Jedi mind tricks required. Simply deliver high value, consistently. Of course, this one five word sentence leads to a very long discussion about why we buy, and how you can influence human behavior.
Very basic yet powerful marketing psychology is used on you every day to persuade you to comply and buy. Why can’t you ethically apply these techniques in your business?
For example, a local furniture store uses the principle of authority to sell mattresses with sleep technicians in lab coats and armed with clipboards. Why do doctors drape a stethoscope over their shoulder? To convey authority. Why do some companies give a free gift with purchase? You would be amazed at what people will spend to get a free gift.
Learn more about the psychology of marketing and build it into your programs.
Why do people buy Hondas from a cartoon character? Didn’t I recently see a Herb Chambers cartoon as well? Yes, Mr. Opportunity is knocking. He is holding cartoon press conferences within commercials, he’s dating a hot actress, and I predict there’s more to come. Soon we’ll be watching Mr. And Mrs. Opportunity with their kids, riding in a Honda Pilot. What’s up with the knocking on the glass anyway? Gets your attention. Those two knocks are programming you to visit the Honda dealer. Brilliant.
It’s called anchoring – and associating a positive thought with a sound is a powerful influencer. Sorry, but that knock on the glass is already installed in your cranium forever. It was April 1971 when cigarette commercials were banned on television. Yet can you recall the rest of the following slogan? Winston tastes good like a (tap, tap)…. (two words). How about another slogan? Plop, plop, fizz, fizz.
Anchoring a message with a sound or feeling is something you can do, too. Google it.
Are you selling the sizzle… or the steak? The features or the benefits? Do you know what it is that your customers really find appealing about doing business with you? Are you clear on the actual benefits that your customers believe they realize from your products and services?
All good questions as you put your business back in gear as your customers and prospects come off vacation, recover from “back-to-school” tasks and get back into the swing of things.
Have you paid attention to the Droid commercials or gone to the website? “Turns your eyes into captivated apertures of ecstasy. It’s not a better phone. It’s a better you.” A great example of the power of choosing the right words to communicate value in a way they would not otherwise imagine.
Selling the sizzle using transformational vocabulary can be life changing. Google the phrase, and read everything that Tony Robbins says about the subject.
By changing the words you use, whether in your marketing, in your interactions with people or with yourself can positively (or negatively) change your emotional state of mind or that of others. Words matter. Words trigger an emotion based on what images are conjured up.
I wonder if Droid users actually believe their phone makes them a better person. What language are you using with your customers? What about your customer service people or the people who answer your phone?
One more thing, and this is important as you kick around your year-end marketing priorities. As in any good relationship, success is the result of good clear communication and, of course, compromise. Managing customer relationships is no different than dating or a marriage. It’s still all about perceived value, sharing common values and ensuring good, clear communications, right?
The future is not here yet so you have to focus on the present client relationships you have, and those you want to strengthen. Things are seldom as they appear and the customer relationships may indeed be fleeting, yet if they are important enough to preserve, you’ll find a way to increase the value to both parties. This is the foundation of creating lasting customer lifetime value.
If you’ve read this far in this month’s column, this might be the gem. Send every customer a thank-you note and let them know how much you appreciate your business. Send a note to people who stopped doing business with you and invite them back. Marketing is easy when you are willing to do these high impact things.
I hope the above inspires action. I’ve prepared a report for readers, “Seven Marketing Obstacles You Must Overcome To Achieve Inspired Business Performance.” Yours for the asking by sending an e-mail with “Obstacles” in the subject line.
Bob Martel is a Marlborough-based marketing consultant, direct marketing copywriter and author of the book “How to Create All of the Business You Can Handle.” He can be reached at 508-481-8383 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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