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The Best Marketing Communication Tools

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

The Best Marketing Communication Tools

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?

Top of the Consciousness Principle

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.

Top of the Consciousness Principle

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.

10-to-12x Contact Program

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.

Send a Customer Newsletter

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.

Include Personalized Thank Yous

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.

Use Direct Mail

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.

  • ​Most businesses invest too much in chasing new customers and too little in doing additional, repeat business with their existing customers.
  • ​The satisfied customer is a predisposed purchase, both more of something and something that is different.
  • ​It costs less to motivate a known customer to purchase again than to acquire a new customer.
  • ​Customers are only fickle because a new competitor is paying more attention to them than you are.

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.

  • ​To introduce new products or services.
  • ​To give advance notice of and explain price or fee increases.
  • ​To offer special discounts or premiums.
  • ​To provide useful information.
  • ​To give recognition to top customers.
  • ​To announce seasonal sales.

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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10 Tools to Utilize in Marketing Communications to Acquire More Customers

10 Tools to Utilize in Marketing Communications to Acquire More Customers

Here are 10 tools you can utilize today in your marketing communication to acquire more customers:

  • Direct Mail: I'm not talking about your grandma's postcards. This is a targeted missile system that delivers your message right to the doorstep of your most likely buyer. It’s got to be irresistible – a headline that slaps you awake, an offer that you'd be a fool to ignore, and a call to action that's as clear as a bell. And remember, track everything. If you don't know your numbers, you might as well be burning your money.
  • Copywriting: This is where the rubber meets the road. Your words are your sales force. You're not just jotting down features; you're selling outcomes, benefits, the dream of a better life. You need to understand the deepest desires of your market and how to tap into them. Use stories, metaphors, and make damn sure every sentence leads them closer to whipping out their wallets.
  • Strategic Multi-Step Marketing: This isn't a one-night stand; it's a courtship. You're building a relationship, nurturing leads through a carefully crafted sequence of interactions. Each touchpoint is a deposit in the bank of trust, and with enough investment, you'll see the return.
  • Educational Marketing: Here's where you give to get. By providing genuine value, and educating your market, you position yourself as the go-to expert. This isn't about selling; it's about leading with value. Seminars, reports, books – these are your tools. Teach them something they didn't know, and they'll come back for more.
  • Personal Branding: You are the figurehead of your business. People need to know you, like you, trust you. Get out there. Speak, write, be seen. Make your personal brand synonymous with excellence in your field.
  • Networking: Your next big break could come from a conversation at a conference, not just a clever tweet. Never underestimate the power of your network.
  • Books and Published Articles: These can be your best friends in the marketing world. There's a reason they call it 'authority'. That prefix 'author' isn't a coincidence. Publish your expertise, and watch your reputation soar.
  • Targeted Online Marketing: This is your 24/7 salesperson. But don't spray and pray. Use surgical precision with SEO, targeted ads, and social media to reach the audience that craves what you're cooking up.
  • Mastermind and Coaching Groups: Two sides of the same coin. Surround yourself with the best, and your mind will stretch. Teach others, and solidify your expertise. There's gold in those hills, both in the learning and the earning.
  • Referral Systems: This is the ace up your sleeve. Create a system where your customers are your evangelists. Incentivize them, make it easy, and for heaven's sake, follow up. A referred customer is a pre-sold customer.

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

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