Too Much Information

Ever wondered if you are saying too much to your customers? Giving information that just isn’t needed?

On a recent trip to Portugal, my flight was slightly delayed. As the airport bus took us across the airfield to our plane, many passengers observed that the jet was a white-label charter, not the carrier we had booked with. Obviously due to some difficulty, the airline had drafted in a replacement aircraft.

After everyone had taken their seats, the pilot announced that “there will be a slight delay getting airborne, as we have an issue starting the engines – we are awaiting a generator which will be used to get us going”. Worried faces erupted all over the place. Some people giggled, most looked terrified. In a field such as aviation, so many customers fly because they have to, not because they want to. Passenger comfort is of paramount importance. To the nervous flyer how comforting is this message? Did it need to be communicated in this way?
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Video Killed The Radio Star

Video is everywhere nowadays – you no longer need a massive budget to shoot an ad and pay for prime-time TV slots. Even if you did, nobody’s really listening – most of us are so busy, we record what we want to watch and then sit down at a time that suits us – fast-forwarding through all the ad-breaks.

In today’s world, you can compete with the big boys simply with a creative idea, hand-held video equipment and the power of YouTube. The Internet allows your idea to spread like wildfire, creating impact to the people that actually do care about your message.
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One Step at a Time

When creating a demand generation campaign, how much do you focus on the next step, rather than the product or service itself?

I see too many e-shots, direct mail pieces, even telemarketing calls that focus on trying to get a yes for the product, rather than a yes to move forward.

My background is B2B software sales. In this market, it’s very rare that you can sell a solution in one hit. It takes time. Time to gain momentum, to earn trust. This is where I see so many making mistakes – trying to sell the full solution in one go – talking about how they can reduce operational cost, increase efficiency. Every bland piece of marketing sounds the same – and guess what, they all get very limited results.

Instead, try selling the next step. A complimentary workshop, a breakfast briefing, a webinar, or better still a select lunch where a real-world client will share experiences of working with your product. Offer something of value first. Make it engaging. Get it right, and no doubt the sale will follow in due course.

People Love an Underdog

It’s a given that businesses are always striving to be number one. To gain the most market share and be seen as top dog. How many times have you lost out to a bigger competitor, or the so-called market leader? What if being the underdog was actually a position you could capitalise on to become bigger?

Back in the early 1960′s, Hertz was the clear winner in the car rental business, with Avis one of the underdogs. Instead of moaning that they are on a downward spiral, Avis made the decision to market the fact that they weren’t the dominant leader. Avis launched an honest, open and believable campaign simply called “we try harder”.
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Wearing Your Badge

For some reason, a random trip to McDonald’s back in 1997 sticks in my mind. I was working in my first job at IBM at the time and had popped out for a quick bite at lunchtime. A group of us had ordered and we were happily chatting away over our burgers and fries. A bunch of lads in their early twenties came into the restaurant. They were talking in real loud voices, their conversation littered with swear words and bad taste jokes. At one point a member of the public asked them to curb their language – only to be greeted with a barrage of abuse. It was at this moment I noticed all of them were wearing IBM security badges.

The number of organisations I see that still view marketing as brochures, case studies or slide decks amazes me. In Jason Fried’s book “Rework” he makes reference to the fact that marketing is everything that you do as a business – This is so true. From the way you answer your phone, to the way you support a customer, to the way your staff behave in public – it’s all a reflection of your brand – it’s marketing.
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Hit and Hope

My Dad is a very competitive guy. As kids he never used to let us win. It probably explains a few things about the way I am now. Snooker was one of his favourite games; I never used to have much patience for it, still don’t. He used to call all my shots “hit and hope”. Me blasting the cue ball around the table for fun, him cursing and calling it a “fluke” on the very rare occurrence I actually potted one.

How much hit and hope do you do daily? How many appointments are you simply “fluking”? It strikes me so many firms fail to use intelligent, targeted marketing for their offerings, instead opting to shout to the masses hoping something sticks. I’ve witnessed it firsthand. Companies buying in bulk lists, getting salespeople to cold call on the off-chance that someone might actually allow you to appoint them. Internet, phone, TV, radio, the medium doesn’t matter. What matters is the audience.

How relevant is your message to your audience? Are you wasting time on generating generic noise, shouting about stuff that nobody really cares about?

Think about how annoying junk mail is through your door, or worse still a badly timed cold call when you’re watching the football. Think about who really needs your offering and then work out a marketing strategy that’s timely, creative and above all relevant. Forget hit and hope. It’s not sustainable.