Tuesday, November 21, 2023
I was asked about the best marketing communication tools at a recent event. The question could literally be boiled down to which media channel should I be using to acquire customers. Truth of the matter is, it’s not which you use, but how you use each one.
Now I do recommend using more than one -- and in a perfect world, you should be using all, but since someone asked I gave the following answer:
Let me tell you about a thing called marketing noise. That's a catchall term representative of the tremendous amount of marketing going on all around us.
Marketing Noise includes: billboards, car and truck signs, bus bench signs, displays, and signage in stores, flyers stuffed in bags, under windshield wipers, direct mail brochures packed in with purchases, brochures in with credit card and utility bill statements, radio commercials, TV commercials reduced from 60 to 30 seconds, telemarketing, personal selling, cable TV shows that are really commercials, ads in magazines and newspapers and on and on.
Now the average adult consumer is presented with more opportunities to spend money today in one eight-hour period than he was during 30 days just a decade ago, increasing almost exponentially every decade.
There is a mammoth amount of marketing noise bombarding the consumer vying for his discretionary income and his credit. In business-to-business marketing the same basic situation exists, although there is usually less cold call selling going on today than at any time I can recall. There is much more business-to-business marketing taking place.
There is a mammoth amount of marketing noise bombarding the executive manager and business owner. Then, within all that marketing noise, there is all the direct competition in your particular field - competitors who grow more sophisticated and aggressive by the minute, not only competing for new customers but also attempting to take away your present customers.
What are YOU doing about it?
Your best strategy is the Top of the Consciousness Principle. This principle says that you will do things to get and remain on the very top of the consciousness of your customers and clients.
McDonald's, for example, has done that most successfully.
I did my own little informal survey using a word association game. You know, I say a word, you say the first word that pops into your mind. I say tree, you say shade. That sort of thing.
Buried in my list was the word hamburger. Guess what? Nearly 40% of the people said McDonald's. The others answered with words like bun, ketchup & cookout, but only a few mentioned other fast food restaurants.
McDonald's dominates the consciousness of the fast food customer, and it's for that reason more than any other, that they continue to prosper while companies like Burger King and Wendy's struggle.
McDonald's has sustained this top-of-consciousness position with a sophisticated and admittedly expensive multimedia approach; TV, radio, magazine, sweepstakes, contests, characters like Ronald McDonald, jingles, distinctive locations, sponsorship of charitable causes, different campaigns aimed at different age groups and so on.
Actually, the only thing McDonald's does not do well is use direct marketing. If they ever add this to their marketing mix, they'll permanently destroy some of their competitors.
You have to find ways to command the same type of position in the minds of your customers, your clients, and prospective customers/clients in your marketplace.
You can do so by imitating a multimedia example like McDonald's, but there are also direct marketing methods perfect for this purpose.
One of those is a 10-to-12x Contact Program directed at customers and targeted prospective customers.
In such a program, you directly contact and communicate with those people at least 10-to-12 times during the year, not including their visits to your place of business or their routine transactions.
In doing so, you might use birthday cards, seasonal greeting cards, postcards, newsletters, catalogs, special offer mailings, telemarketing, personal sales calls and ad specialties.
I’ll go into detail on the strategies I prefer to use for a 10-to-12x Contact Program in the future.
I particularly like the use of a Customer Newsletter as part of this contact program. I’ve taught doctors to use it for their practices. I know printers, clothing stores, beauty salons, and restaurants who use this method. Hotel chains and airlines have picked up on this technique in connection with their frequent traveler clubs. It's a perfect strategy for accountants and attorneys, and any company selling through dealers, distributors or retailers should use this method.
I also like the use of Personalized Thank You’s to build customer loyalty. People like to be appreciated. It's a very simple thing, yet so few businesses today do anything to say thanks.
We recently tried a new messenger service for the first time. The next day, the messenger service delivered a nice flower and a little crystal vase to OUR office with a thank you note. I think that’s brilliant! The next time we need a messenger service, I can assure you that my secretary is thinking of them.
Direct Mail is a great way of increasing the frequency of spending by customers and/or the order size from said customers. You can also use direct mail to motivate customers to purchase slow-moving items in your stores, come to your restaurant at a slow time or stay in your hotels during the off-season.
Here are some simple ideas to carefully consider.
In business-to-business marketing, many companies make the huge mistake of having all their contact with their customers go through the sales representative. This leaves the customers vulnerable to theft.
If the representative jumps to another employer, it also leaves too much opportunity for negligence on the representative's part. So regardless of the layers of distribution between you and your customer, you should establish some direct link.
The owner of a restaurant can do that by coming around and chatting personally with the customers. The chief executive officer of a large company can do it with a newsletter and maybe a hotline telephone number.
Here are some of the ways that direct mail can be used to communicate with established customers.
Tomorrow we’ll focus on new customer acquisition through direct marketing. However, the points we've discussed in this message are extremely important. I've rarely seen a business that could not increase and improve through increased direct marketing to present customers.
Now here's a real marketing secret, and it is a true secret. Most companies make a critical, crucial error in this area. I've personally made this error many times.
Here's the secret: When marketing to establish existing customers, you should still tell your entire sales story every time. Do not make the mistake of assuming knowledge on the part of the customer. Do not take shortcuts with existing customers and do not feel that you are boring them by telling the same story repetitively.
If you have quality service, guaranteed price or other advantages, point them out each and every time you deliver a sales presentation. Business owners desperately need to place a new, higher value on the customer. If your business is not performing as well as you would like, it's a message you should listen to.
Also communicate with your customers and you'll do more business.
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Here are 10 tools you can utilize today in your marketing communication to acquire more customers:
Every one of these tools must be used with intention. Measure everything. Test everything. As I always say “If it doesn't make dollars, it doesn't make sense.” If you want more info on this, you can join us at nobsletter.com