“There is no such thing as ‘soft sell’ or ‘hard sell’. There is only ‘smart sell’ and ‘stupid sell.’” – Charles Brower
In this era of high technology advances, high technology success stories and high technology hype it is very easy to overlook the fact that the basics of marketing haven’t changed except to become more important in the high stakes game of technology.
Customers and investors have to be gained and retained. Customers, employees and investors need to be communicated to, educated and satisfied. Customers, employees and investors need to be motivated and stimulated. Communications need to be clear and easy-to-understand. The need to create and maintain high awareness among customers, employees and investors is key to business success.
“No living being is held by anything so strongly as its own needs.” – Epictetus
Common Sense Marketing Basic #1: Where are we located? Are we user friendly?
If the idea is to get more people to communicate their needs or concerns to you as well as to drive them to interact with your website, blog or Internet “whatever”, then an emphasis has to be taken to ensure communicating with you is easy. You have to be sure that electronic addresses (e-mail,/website/blog, etc) are known to the targeted audience and not easily forgotten. You also have to avoid the trap many businesses fall into who are in love with the Internet; they fail to supply mailing addresses and phone contact information on their site. Millions of business people prefer traditional ways to contact you as a primary form of communication.
Exposure of your various contact addresses should be incorporated into every format of communication that reaches out to your target audience be it your advertising, stationary, website or the promotional products your sales force gives away at trade shows.
“You cannot create experience. You must undergo it.” – Albert Camus
Action Step: Review your website, stationary, business cards with the question, “Am I making it easy for potential customers to contact me?”
Common Sense Marketing Basic #2: “Knowledge Is Power” Marketing
Information that enhances the knowledge base of the recipient is appreciated and key to establishing a valued relationship. Workshops, newsletters, white papers, webcasts, webinars, trade show seminars are tools when created from the perspective of the audience the sender benefits greatly.
“The peculiar value of news is spreading it while it is fresh.” - Mahion Pitney
Action Step: Brainstorm with your team on how you can educate your customers. Also, ask your team if they ever had feedback on your company and evaluate how you can use that to your advantage.
Common Sense Marketing Basic #3: Benefits – The Only Reason for making a purchase.
People buy a product or service because of benefits perceived that they will receive from doing so. I see too many advertisements, as part of the marketing mix, that fails to communicate this basic truth. It doesn’t matter how creative your advertising is if it doesn’t deliver benefits to the customer. Focus on benefits, benefits, benefits and then more benefits. Just be sure they are for real. Promote your competitive edge in the marketplace. Highlight your difference from your competitors, promote your position as being an innovative and a leader.
“Sell Solutions, Not Just Products.” – Klaus M . Lesinger
Action Step: Review ALL of your marketing mix as if you were the customer. Do you know what benefits you will get if you buy your product or service?
Common Sense Marketing Basic #4: Continuity is the Marketing Strategy’s key characteristic.
Whether you are the latest high-tech firm that is the darling of Wall Street, a start-up or one who is been around a long time, you have a need to communicate to three basic audiences on an ongoing basis.
Customers: Successful firms communicate no less than 4 times a year to their customer base and establish ways for that base to be able to communicate with them easily, with the assurance of receiving at least an acknowledgement that their message was received. This can encompass but not be limited to -
* Prospecting/lead generation efforts
* New product/services/pricing/policies introduction information
* Relationship building activities/ Customer feedback
* Gathering input on level of customer satisfaction, i.e. surveys
Employees: Your most valuable asset arrives in the morning and leaves in the evening. Be sure to nurture it in as many ways as possible including -
* Providing adequate training and materials
* Supporting your sales and customer service staff
* Utilize motivational programs to encourage personal commitment and constructive suggestions
* Keep them aware of changes in policy, procedures, pricing, products, services, etc.
Investors: If you rely on the cooperation of lending institutions, stockholders and other financial resources be sure to communicate -
* Awareness of corporate activities
Whatever your company provides the fact never changes you have a need to gain and retain customers, keep employees and investors happy and all of that is marketing … is marketing … is marketing.
“Cutting prices is usually insanity if the competition can go as low as you can.” – Michael Porter
Action Step: Seriously ask yourself if you are communicating with your customers, employees, and investors as well as you can. Have an honest break out session with key employees, or yourself if you’re one person show, to help you with this.
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We hope you have found these thoughts helpful in stimulating your own thinking Remember the following holds true for any company that wishes to build a successful corporate marketing environment.
Know and practice basics | Be open and accepting of change | Think BIG | Think outside the box | Do it, don’t talk it to death
The right programs for the right reasons deliver the right results.
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Leslie R. Wolff’s mission is to reestablish a lost factor in business … commonsense! It is the foundation on which Smart Thinking is built. Les is CEO of The Smart Marketing Group, a proactive marketing Visionary & Strategy Think Tank. He can be reached at 866-334-5004, firstname.lastname@example.org, Skype: Smart Marketing or www.smartmarketingroup.com
Leslie R. Wolff, CEO and Chief Integrated Marketing Strategist, Smart Marketing Group P.O. Box 32017, Philadelphia, PA 19146 | 215-334-3432 | Fax: 215-334-2434