Thursday, November 13, 2014

Your marketing is boring your best customers

Too much marketing is boring.

Too many Facebook posts are preachy, company-centric, and they read as if the writer is more interested in fulfilling an editorial quota than in having a dialog.. Web sites are so jargon-laden that a potential customer has no idea what the company does.

Reality check: If you have stopped paying attention to your company's marketing message, chances are so have your customers and best prospects.

How does this happen? Here are the most typical reasons:

  • The marketing team doesn't understand the personality and culture of your company (or even worse, your company doesn't have consensus about its own culture)
  • Marketing is kept out of key discussions and can't speak authoritatively about the product (service, mission, purpose)
  • Marketing is shunted off to a side and never interacts with sales, with customers, with prospects
  • You are over-managing the marketing projects to the point where the team has no sense of personal responsibility
  • You don't have clear expectations about what marketing should be accomplishing
Marketing should meet a need, not just be "doing stuff." It is your voice, your personal interaction with customers, potential customers, and the larger community.

Don't be the pompous bore at the table who is mostly irrelevant and largely meaningless.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Are you fussing over the wrong things?

Marketers love to tout numbers, fiddle with strategies, show off results come up with quadrants and metrics and show upper management lots of data.

But marketing effectiveness isn't in all those good things. It's in what you do with the information you gather, how you apply it, how you put it to work to evaluate what you've done and modify what you are going to do. 

Collecting and dissecting numbers can lead to fussing over information just because the information is available. Don't do it.

If you look at a percentage of open rates in an email, look at the same percentage of open rates in the past, and put a written plan in place to test improving that open rate in the next mailing. If you look at how many people filled out a web form, compare it to the previous campaign, and decide if the form is worth testing again in the future.

Think about what you need to know to get better results. Think about the difference between marketing that preens like a child beauty contestant and real marketing that results in a return on investment.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

It's too easy to just change the battery

My watch stopped. I was at lunch with Josh and Dru, and looked down and my watch had stopped at 11:55.

I knew it was a simple battery change, a routine. Fixing it would eat up 45 minutes and $10. Simple adjustment. As a marketer, I'm always interested whether they will offer me supplemental services when I have a watch battery changed: polish the silver band, clean the inner workings, change the scratch crystal.

The next day I drove over to the watch repair shop. They opened at 10 a.m. I was there at 9:58. The repairman took the watch, and less than four minutes later returned it with a new battery. No upsell, and I was in-and-out. All this guy wanted to do was just change the battery.  And in fact, as the customer who had a busy Saturday planned, that's about all I wanted.

Watch is running fine, but it got me thinking.

Marketing is like that. It's expected that things will stop working. You can anticipate it and keep it adjusted all along the way. Or you can wait til until certain touch points, then do what needs to be done.

But real marketing takes place when you put in the work to do what really needs to be done to keep your marketing at the optimum level.  It's more than just a battery change.

 It's an examination of the entire process, what's working, what needs to be done to take it to a new level.  It starts with an attitude, a commitment within the company to  the ongoing work of excellence, and the willingness of all departments to periodically make sure everything is done well.

Too many companies give themselves excuses: we don't have time (money, resources) to really think about this right now. Next time.Next month. Next year.

Is it time to get real? 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

How to write an effective testimonial

Case studies and testimonials can be a great asset to a business, but not if they are too vague or too detailed.  Here is a format I created for a nonprofit climate that has stories coming in from multiple locations and staff.

Writing an Effective Testimonial

·         First sentence:  Who, what, when, where, why

·         Second sentence:  Provide color/background/conflict

·         Third Sentence: Explain how Campaign helped

·         Fourth Sentence: Share the result/impact

·         Fifth Sentence: Wrap it up with a conclusion

·         (Optional: include a quote given by the member/participant)

Example 1:
15-year-old Jay came to [name of program] in September, 2011 because a friend told him it would look good on a college application. Jay was a C student but first generation in this country and had hopes of being able to get a scholarship to San Jose State when the time came. He couldn’t afford the cost of the program, but because of donors like you, the staff assured him he could attend.]    By this year, Jay has pulled his grades to a 3.5 average, and wants to become a lawyer, on his way to becoming President of the United States. He’s starting by running for youth governor this year. We have dozens of great stories like Jay, people whose lives are touched every time you make a donation. Watch for Jay in the future. One day, you may be voting for him!

Example 2:
Martha is a 50 year old woman whose doctor diagnosed her with [disease] who contacted [the branch or field office] in September, 2013 asking for advice on [a specialty of the organization.]  She wasn’t hopeful that she could really make a difference in her own life, wince she had a lifetime of bad habits that were making her feel worse. She also wanted to take part in a counseling program where a one-on-one counselor could help coach her, but since Martha didn’t have insurance she wasn't sure how to pay for it. Because of [fund raising program name] the cost of the program was covered by donations. Within the first 3 months, she had reached the program goals of [outline the results] and is is now attending monthly maintenance classes.  Her doctor told her she’s lowered her risk [or diminished the severity of her disease]  by 58%. She’s shared her success with everyone in her family, and because she is aware of how important it is to eat right and exercise, now has a weekly plan in place for her children.