Brand Edge On

A friend once described the Platte river (near Denver, Colorado) as a mile wide and an inch deep.

Your brand might be like that.

You have a choice to make:

  • Maintain your broad coverage
  • Dive deep into a select audience segment.
  • Try a little of both

The broad brush

Your target may be portrayed in broad brush strokes at the beginning. Most entrepreneurs believe that broad appeal will get them the most customers.

Maybe.

More often the broad appeal helps those who will become their best customers/clients find the company, product or service. That gives the appearance of a brand that works. But if you don’t regularly probe the information your customers/clients are willing to give you the profiles of your best purchasers will not be revealed.

Edge on

How can you tell? The rule of thumb is that the more niched you are, the better off you’ll be. Generally, that is true. To evaluate your situation, look at the depth of what you know about your client base, the percentage of your sales that cluster in one group, initial and repeat purchases as well as the estimated life time value (LTV) of the individuals as well as where you want to take the business.

The more carefully you describe your avatars, verify them with market research and, over time, add details to their portraits the better you will understand the kind of people that can make you successful. If you’re well-funded, that research can be done by a specialist firm. If you’re little guy, under-funded, or a start-up you may have to do personal interviews to get a handle on that better picture.

What works? I’ve been successful with all three of the choices. More successful with a deep dive. Most successful with the combination and carefully watching the metrics.

Deep Art

The more detailed portrayal of your ideal customer/client the greater the probability of enhanced profits. True, there may be fewer. But each will be worth more in most cases. Repeat purchases are the primary reason as well as a tendency to accept higher prices. The fact that you have found them and are personalizing your approach establishes a large emotional difference from competitors. It makes your brand unique.

Detailed knowledge of two or three groups can not only add to your profits, it can extend the life of your business. A financial planner might open the doors and quickly find that her primary customers are Baby Boomers but that they are referring their children who are in the cohort known as Boomers II or Generation Jones born between 1955 and 1965. They, too, refer other youngsters, born between 1966 and 1976 (Generation X).

The planner may find that Generation X is significantly different from the older clients. But her only way to build the business long term is to understand the differences, speak their language and make the picture familiar to them.

The cohorts are often put into “Buckets.” You could easily identify the three noted above. But the Brand oriented planner will take it a step further using automation software that allows you to “tag” each contact with a full array of ways to sort them into segments within the groups. Here are just a few:

  • Demographics (Age, sex, income, education, housing etc.)
  • Psychographics (Observable personal behavior)
  • Engagement (The degree they respond to your offers)
  • Purchase Behavior (purchases, repeat purchases frequency, recency)
  • Satisfaction (Reviews and testimonials)

Wade in

Keep track of what you learn about your customers/clients. The depth of your knowledge will impact the value of your business every single day.


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Jerry Fletcher ThinkinigJerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development for independent professionals on and off-line.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com
DIY Training: www.ingomu.com

The Registration Plus of the Personal Touch

Late today I got a call from a young man striving to get the same sort of business levels here in the Pacific Northwest that he and his wife had been enjoying in Texas. I agreed to meet with him and immediately turned to my files to see if there were tips I had passed along in articles that might help him.

This was first posted in 2013.

Bill got right to the point. He asked, “You’re the expert at on line marketing how can I put my half of the seminar attendees in their seats?”

“Back up,” I said. “Your half?”

Bill explained, “I’ve worked out a deal with a client to host a seminar and they will put 10 people in the room and I have to provide the other 10. I’ll present and they will host the room and the lunch. It’s a win-win if I can get those other seats filled without having to buy the room.”

“Buying the room is a theater expression for providing free tickets to an event to fill the room so it looks like it is a hit.”

“So,” I asked, “Why are you buying me coffee?”

He reviewed his plan to send out e-mails to his list of connections that had opted into his newsletter and even showed me the rough outline of his message.

Bill got a blank expression when I asked him, “What is the subject line?”

He was so wrapped up in the message that he forgot that you have to get the e-mail opened. There are two things people look at before opening an e-mail:

  1. Who it is from
  2. The subject line

The more personal the message appears, the more often it is opened and the easier it is to accomplish your objectives.

I told Bill, “If you have to put 10 people in the room the process they are going to go through is:

  • Open the e-mail (Open rates from a Newsletter list are good, up to 50% but don’t count on more than 20%)
  • Read the offer. Reject you, look for more information or register (Rejections—80% at least. The measure here is click-throughs)
  • If they look for more their options are to reject or register. (About 20%, with luck will register).”

Bill, who is a numbers guy said, “So if I hear you correctly, if I went out to 100 people only 20 would open the message. A best 4 would look for more information. Of those maybe 1 would register.”

“Right, “I said, “so the number you go out to is critical. With those analytics you need to go out to 1000 to get your ten. BUT I can increase our odds. Put their name in the subject line and you get a 15% to 25% increase in opens.

Do the math. That gets you 40 opens, 8 click-throughs and 2 registrations per 100 e-mails sent.”

Bill said, “Thanks, with the personal touch it now seems possible.”

How you handle the click through (CTA) to more information and the page which that delivers can also increase your odds but the single most important factor is getting them to open your message. Personalizing does that.


Jerry Fletcher Keynote in ColombiaJerry Fletcher is a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development on and off-line. He is also a sought-after International Speaker.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

 

 

Deja-vu Testing for On-line Success

The Marketing lunch bunch“It’s not a new idea” Kate said, “So don’t try to take credit.”

Rick groaned, took another sip of wine and nodded. Then he rose to the bait saying, “I know I didn’t invent the idea but at least give me credit for figuring out how to apply it to the funnel hacking e-marketing world we live in.”

“So what brilliance did you come up with?” I asked.

“Daily déjà-vu of simultaneous synchronized multi-variant testing of multiple elements is my claim to fame,” he said.

Gail guffawed looked him in the eye and said, “What a mouthful! Rick, my boy you are brilliant at times but this is not one of them. You know as well as I do that direct marketing copy controls have been tested every which way you can imagine over the years and that something as simple as an A-B split test is so easy online that anyone that can afford the software or the service can get it done. So what are you claiming?”

Kate piled on noting, “And don’t try to pull that tale of having to dumb down your ideas of how to test that the programmers couldn’t figure out 10 or 15 years ago because Fletch was sitting beside you in that meeting you’ve told me and as I recall he’s the one that had to explain what an A-B split test was.”

Rick swished his wine in the glass, carefully set it down and replied, “You all would agree that we need to find out the relative importance of the offer, the list of people you are addressing and the approach. That principle is true of direct marketing, e-mail marketing, e-commerce stores/catalogs on-line or even a web site developed to begin a relationship for a professional service.

My approach takes the ability of the internet to produce quantifiable data quickly and the need to look a multiple components of the message to new levels. There are entrepreneurs out there right now that are pushing the envelope. They test everything. They find a control that works and then start testing to improve it. Sometimes as simple shift can increase ROI by hundreds of points.

What are you doing to make your web-based marketing activities more successful? Why not try tests of formatting, subject lines, subheads, arrangement of paragraphs, captions, descriptions, addition or deletion of photos and a host of other variables. There is hard data that shows that at least half of these have increased response levels.

The time to test what works for your business is right now. And tomorrow. And the day after.

Testing ought to be Deja-vu, over and over again.”


Jerry Fletcher weaves the tales of the Lunch Bunch based on his experiences in advertising, direct marketing, consulting and helping build entrepreneur businesses.

Jerry Fletcher KeynoteJerry Fletcher is a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development on and off-line. He is also a sought-after International Speaker.
Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Get all the Brand Success Stories. Sign up at http://www.brandbraintrust.com/home.html

How to Build a Killer Brand

How to Build a Killer Brand

Heart in sightsIt has been one of those months this week.

Planning. Candid conversations. Decisions to hire and fire. Web site assumptions and dialogues. Quality constraints and requirements. Analytics that spiral positive and those that went down in flames.

Brands suffer the impact because brand building is really not for innocents. Either you really understand marketing or you don’t.

Taking careful aim is at the heart of killer brand development.

What not to do.
Here are some mistakes I witnessed this week:

  1. Put a group of strangers in a room, brief them and expect them to walk out as a functioning collaborative team.
  2. Drop the ball on a project because of bad digital filing habits.
  3. Give a web developer 6 chances to respond to basic direction before deciding to fire him.
  4. Consider video approaches without looking at cost as part of the equation.
  5. Become ecstatic over an increased click through rate that didn’t generate sales.

The Killer Solution

Experience over the last 50 years tells me that to build a brand that captures hearts and minds successfully you have to understand how marketing professionals work in teams and their expectations of management. Clarity is what will make you successful.

Be perfectly clear that :

  • The owner/founder/CEO/President—the leader of any small firm owns the brand. Her or his understanding of the Vision, Mission, Position and Value Proposition is what will be applied to all organization communications.
  • Direction on any major project should be in writing and agreed to in advance. The directional document should be the reference point for approvals. Staff can provide additional information but is encouraged to do it before any work is done. If there is concern over the materials delivered the reference point is the direction.
  • A digital “paper trail” needs to be kept and used as the reference when anything goes sideways (as well as a way to assure continuing process improvement). With small clients I had eliminated my Action Reports on all meetings. I’m reversing that decision.
  • Budget, Quality and Outcome are interrelated. There are significant differences in delivery of digital capabilities, video production, and all communication vehicles based on what a firm is willing to pay, the level of excellence of the work and what the expectations of the item are. Too often, even though we have much better visibility of analytics the end results are not the key factor in evaluating marketing efforts.
  • Business Development objectives are the real measurements. Everything done in marketing needs to acknowledge contribution to the target numbers. Be as concrete as possible. For instance:
  • Optimize web site to make it as easy as possible for visitors to self-select the action which will give you a way to connect with them over the time to build a relationship leading to a “sale.” Track all actions. Track actual “sales” to determine the apparent customer journey.
  • Direct Social Media activities to continually tested landing pages that capture data to build relationships over time. Track actions by landing page. Track “sales” as with web site. Review results and test all contact activities to find the ones that lead to “Sales.”
  • Build better ongoing relationships with customers by monitoring opens, comments and direct contacts due to blog and newsletter postings. Modify content to take advantage of proven highest interest. Keep tracking.
  • Test automated sequences in support of direct sales staff. Monitor results.

Trial to buy ScorecardPost status versus your corporate goals on a scoreboard visible to all members of the firm.

Weekly results usually work best. Keep it simple: New info sign ups, New trials, New customers/clients.

Those few items will keep everyone in the game.

 


Jerry FletcherJerry Fletcher is a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development on and off-line. He is also a sought-after International Speaker.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Get all the Brand Success Stories. Sign up at http://www.brandbraintrust.com/home.html

Is Brand Relational or Transactional?

Funnel DiagramYes
No
Relational
Transactional
All the Above

Yes. If you believe that Brand inevitably comes down to someone taking an action you desire it has components of both.

No. Only if you are not interested in connecting with someone or the connection would prove to be unprofitable or too complicated or won’t allow you to make more than one sale. (For the record, my definition of marketing is “Go where the money is. Sell what they want to buy. Do it again.”

Relational. This is what is commonly being preached in the on-line marketing world. First you build a relationship with a potential client or customer by providing significant information (Content) at no cost and using e-mail to affirm your connection before you ask them to buy from you. This is the Common knowledge approach whether you are engaged in B2C (Business to Consumer) or B2B (Business to Business) marketing.

Transactional. This is for those folks that believe in getting people to act now. And for some situations it is the right approach, particularly when use of your product or service or approach will lead to a relationship afterwards.

All the above. Last week, explaining a sales funnel to a young man I found myself illustrating the difference with this page out of a presentation. (The Capital Funding Alliance Brand story is on BrandBrainTrust.com)

His problem was that he was trying to get his client to sign up for some online/Digital marketing without a visual reference to what his plans would entail. Building a brand is, in every case something that can be charted in this way.

The Capital Funding Alliance situation was first transactional and then relational. You can see from the graphic exactly how it worked. The key, many times, to building an on-line marketing plan is understanding how the potential client does what it is you want to help them do.

In this case the company was partnering with an organization that provided services to credit unions to develop partnerships with individual credit unions across the country to provide loan services the credit union could not.

First the credit unions had to be contacted with a reason to begin the relationship and a way to get the materials that would simplify having their customers work with the new strategic partner. The diagram maps the process and the branding.

How are you connecting with your customers? Can you diagram it like this? Do you know the triggers for a transaction? What decisions can they make? How can you try again? What happens if you repeat your actions? Is it worth it?

A-B Split tests can help you answer these questions. More importantly you can find out if the common knowledge is correct. Here’s a tip: Test Transactional triggers with a personal touch first.

Jerry FletcherJerry Fletcher is a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development on and off-line. He is also a sought-after International Speaker.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Get all the Brand Success Stories. Sign up at http://www.brandbraintrust.com/home.html

 

How to Quantify Your Brand

BRand can be QuantifiedYou can’t quantify brand!

Or can you?

We collect brand stories and outcomes at Brand Brain Trust that frequently defy the idea that you can’t hang an analytic on Brand.

The latest addition to the web site tells the story of TSA Pre-Check. You’ll learn how this service offered by a company you never heard of came to Anvil, Portland’s award-winning integrated marketing agency. Anvil rose to the challenge of generating a specific number of sign-ups for the year. They finished Q2 by obliterating the goal for the quarter and surpassing the entire goal for 2016.

What does it take to quantify a brand?

  1. Clear measurable objectives.
  2. Triggers that get actions you can count
  3. Practical and emotional value

Measurable Objectives:

For TSA Pre Check it was a specific sales goal to be delivered within one year. You should definitely have a sales goal. But you might also consider:

  • Having a gateway. Try incorporating a hard to get to way to get in touch with you or enter your establishment that requires social research on the part of the prospect. Keeping count of those that pass through the gate is your key analytic but you could also look at sales per visit or the number of services utilized.
  • Identifying and targeting meetings with ideal clients. Consultants and coaches continually need to develop relationships with prospects. Setting a number to identify and make contact with makes sense. Both numeric goals can prove to be predictors of business growth when your closing ratio and Lifetime value become known.
  • Stop counting intangibles. Take a tip from Montessori schools and use concrete terms. If you count actual items sold or given away you’ll be better off than merely counting customers that entered your store or your website. But, when you combine the two you’ll find yourself figuring out how to add value to everyone that enters.

Triggers that get actions:

TSA Pre Check took advantage of long wait time headlines and the fact that prospects were searching for TSA  Pre Check on Google. Beyond Key Word Research you might look at:

  • Borrow interest from the news. Mars research by NASA spiked requests for Mars Bars in supermarkets when a rover mission was reported. Year over Year data and anecdotal reports quantified he sales increase.
  • Become part of your prospects daily grind. Have you noticed how your local McDonalds is now the McCafe or how KitKat bars are tagging along with coffee?
  • If you offer services, adopt the good, better and best pricing and product presentation. Give ‘em the bare bones that solves their problem for x dollars and call it Basic. Build a Premium package that is priced at 2x, delivers everything in the basic and also provides a real value. Then put together a Platinum program. Price it at least 6x and make sure it includes way more than the prospect might want. (that way, you can let them add individual items from it to your Premium plan and make almost as much for the add-on as for the Premium plan alone.

Build in practical and emotional value:

The practical value of TSA Pre Check is that you don’t have to stand in those long lines at the airport. The emotional value is that you don’t feel like you’re on the Bataan Death March anymore. Other ways you can take advantage of human nature:

  • Make sure that if your product depends on a connection to a story that “everyone knows” that you provide a hang tag for the product that recaps the story. You’ll find the Time in a Bottle story on the Brand Brain Trust web site next week. Without the hang tag your product doesn’t sell as well.
  • YouTube videos that get the most views tend to have the words “How To” in their titles. Those that go viral also “How To” (Google: How to shuck corn) Other possibilities include questions like “Will it Blend?” or “Will it Crush?” from Arnold Shwarzenegger with over 4 Million views.
  • Show your emotions to get a reaction. Another YouTube example is the story of Dave Carroll’s run in with United Airlines. They smashed his $3500 guitar. He spent nine months negotiating with United over compensation and they lawyered up and refused him. He wrote United Breaks Guitars, posted it on You Tube. in 10days it was viewed over 3 million times. It was one of the top ten viral videos of 2009.

_____________________________________________________________________

Jerry Fletcher is the founder of www.BrandBrainTrust.com  His consulting practice, now in its 26th year, is known for Brand Development, Positioning and business development on and off-line.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Get all the Brand Briefs. Sign up at http://www.brandbraintrust.com/home.html

 

Trust is the Strongest Link for Consultants

“At least once a year I look at how I’m marketing my own practice,” I said

“This year I looked at all the ways to link suspects, contacts, prospects and such to my digital assets.” Brand as central to link strategy

Gail, our resident writer who is always looking for the facts, sounding like a TV cop asked, “So what social media did you put on the list?”

“Well,” Rick offered, “I’ll bet he picked on the usual suspects—Linked In, Facebook and Twitter and maybe a little bit of old-fashioned direct mail since he ran operations in my direct marketing agency for a while.”

“That’s good as far as it goes,” I replied. “I looked at Instagram, too.”

Bubba snorted. The branding Buddha dripped southern disdain as he said “Instagram– isn’t that the chile of Facebook from the wrong side of the sheets?”

Gail snickered and said, “Kind of, but it’s closer to the photo album the Momma wanted to share.”

“In any case,” I said, “you have to have a business page on Facebook in order to put ads on it and you use Facebook tools to build the ads.”

Chris, our young Digital Director for a training outfit said, “What you decided to do with each of them is what is important. Is it possible you’re about to take the plunge into ubiquity?”

Bubba drawled, “You getting’ uppity boy? I know there’s some new blown theory about being ‘present everywhere’ in the digital world. Tha’s why some brands are so well known. And it has more to do with all kinds of media than just the on-line stuff.”

“You’re right again my cracker friend,” I said. “I ran some tests on-line. You remember that old data that linked awareness to preference? Well the tests showed the rule of thumb is true. The difference is you can get the results a lot quicker.”

B@B Purchase process

Chris asked, “Did the numbers work out the same?”

“It’s too early to tell on the longer term items but from Awareness to Preference to Trial is pretty much the same,” I replied. “This is really more about human nature than media. Just because we have more ways of reaching people doesn’t change the way people operate.  The better they know you the more they trust you. If they trust you they respond.

What it does do is force you to look at broadening your approach slightly and to be present enough in any media you use to generate the critical awareness that leads to success down line. It means you have to be very cognizant of your brand across all the media and make sure that all the things you do are linked.”

The Takeaway:

Digital advertising response goes through the same phases as non-digital…just a little faster.

Human response based on trust is what to monitor if you want to make money…not the media.

Your brand is the linchpin of all your promotions. Link everything to it.


Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry, The Consultant’s Communication Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

 

 

 

 

Copy and the Customer Journey

Bubba, the brand Buddha was pontificating as I slid into my seat. “Tain’t always what you say that matters, It’s what people hear.”

“What people believe already can be a big chunk of that,” I agreed. (I’m Jerry Fletcher and I’m the Watson of this unruly crew that meets over lunch on Fridays.) Customer Journey Map

“What people believe can make a real difference whether you’re talking printing or politics,” said Kate. “I’ve been in sales since I was teenager and both learning the right language to use and teaching folks to understand how important it is has been difficult for me.

Never let anyone tell you there aren’t different dialects in America. There are racial differences, geographic differences, class differences, age differences and where folks are in the customer journey differences. You can’t just blather along. You’ll never make a sale if you aren’t listening and using their words, viewpoints and meanings. You have to talk to them where they are now, in the moment.”

“Got an example?” Chris asked.

She asked him, “Did you ever go to Las Vegas?”

“Sure,” he replied. “It’s the gaming capital of the Universe.”

“And there’s your answer, plainer’n a cake donut with pink icing and sprinkles,” said Bubba.

Chris looked at him completely non-plussed.

“Think about what you just said,” continued Rob in his typical molasses patience voice. You said gaming. That word never was used in the old days as a reference to Vegas or Atlantic City before all the Indian Casinos and the ones on steamboats docked in Mississippi.

Back in the 1970’s Wall Street shifted from calling it the gambling industry to the gaming industry. By the 1990’s only politicians called it Gambling. For a time Las Vegas was promoted as a family vacation spot. Now it’s a little naughtier, you know, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”

Folks heard the new word and over time the industry was perceived differently.”

The donut demo
“Let me use that donut idea to demonstrate how this works for Chris,” I said. People go through a number of phases where we can change how they think about a company or product or service:

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Intent
  4. Purchase
  5. Satisfaction
  6. Repeat

At every point on that spectrum you can provide content that will convince, persuade and keep them in your funnel even after they buy.”

Ramping it up
Rob jumped back in saying, “But y’all are mostly working on the front end of that process so you should know how to ramp up there first:

  • Awareness—Listen for the symptoms. Find out how it’s pushin’ on their business. Now, take it a step further and figure out the problem and help ‘em understand it in that larger context.
  • Consideration—This phase is when they’re bangin’ around looking for information Build strategic website pages or videos or blogs or other kinds of content that homes in on the clear ways you can solve specific kinds of prospect’s problems. The more directly it responds to their need the better.
  • Intent— is when they have come to the point where they intend to make a purchase. The information you provide at this point in their path to purchase should include examples of how others have profited from your product or service, that’s hard data, analytics that prove your point but most importantly. Make sure it fits with your earlier information. Include first hand suggestions, observations and comments.”

The Takeaways:

The customer journey or path to purchase doesn’t end when they plunk down the cash.

You have to prove that you know their concerns and interests.

The clincher is most often the small detail that you’ve observed from their questions, or observations they make. Always ask why they selected your product or service.


Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry, The Consultant’s Communication Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

 

How to Outsource Your Digital Marketing so That Dog Will Hunt

Tony asked me how to resolve a problem for one of his clients. He told me that the client, located here in the upper left corner of the USA was considering “outsourcing his marketing to an outfit in Texas.” He was concerned that there was “more wishful thinking than common sense in play.”

That dog will hunt“That depends,” said Rob who we’ve taken to calling Bubba, the branding Buddha. “If the folks that will work with him know his industry and can provide the right kind of content it could be a marriage made in heaven but just because they claim to be experts don’t make it so. My dog sleeps in the garage. That don’t make him a truck.

Kate snickered and said, “Well put Bubba. I run into this when I get asked to train young sales people. They don’t know what they don’t know and so they claim to know everything. Trouble is, in today’s world they may know quite a bit about digital approaches to customers and have all the lingo at the ready but they don’t completely understand how to connect and go from there to make a sale.”

Rick nodded and then quietly added, “Most of them have not won their spurs in direct marketing and that is all digital marketing is. They have confused knowledge of the medium with understanding messages that work. Their idea of an offer is how long it’s free.”

“That’s all well and good,” I said, “but how do I help Mike with his friend?”

Gail, our veteran writer answered, “Tell him to quit messing around with tactics and start with strategy. You remember that start-up software outfit you told us about? (Cardsmith) That’s an easy way to lay out a strategy and then the tactics for a year-long campaign.”

Chris agreed and added, “As the digital marketing guy in my company I put the plan together with my staff using white boards and sticky notes. It is the same idea but the nice thing about Cardsmith is that you can share it easily even if you’re in different places. The major thing you have to do, regardless of how you do your planning, is to start with an objective, then build a strategy to get you there and then detail all the tasks to make it happen.”

Rick said, “When you are planning,the ability to move things around is really handy as well as the ability to show how things are connected. But I will guarantee you that it is a lot easier staying on plan today in the digital world because you have all the analytics to really determine what is going on, BUT you still have to assign dates to get implementations done and you need to agree up front on what metrics will be considered key.”

“All that is wonderful,” said Gail, “but I keep thinking about Bubba’s dog. If the people you outsource to are experts in digital marketing that is one thing. Do they know how to convince your customers to buy? Do they understand how that channel of distribution deals with their customers? Have they ever gone along on sales calls?

Kate cheered. “Right on sister! She continued, “the worst situation is when you have inexperienced people in both the marketing and sales positions. Knowing their level of capability can make all the difference.”

I said, “I told Tony that his buddy should look into spending a little money up front with a Marketing strategist so that objectives, strategy and tactics could be structured with relevant time lines and metrics so that the money spent would be worthwhile.”

The Takeaways:

Start with a real objective (that management agrees with)

Assess the ability of the people that will do the work on the basis of their knowledge and understanding of your business as well as their digital marketing skills.

Base agreements on specific metrics and timeframes that are sales related (your objective is to make money, not impressions.)


Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry, The Consultant’s Communication Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

Brand ain’t digital

“…when in danger, when in doubt, run in circles scream and shout,” Bubba was saying as I joined the lunch bunch.

Brand ain't digital

I didn’t have to ask.

He went on, “There’s a lot of folks runnin’ around in circles out there ‘bout branding in a digital world. They keep on worryin’ about how to be proactive with their new techie tribe. The way they carry on you would think there were never challenges to maintaining a brand before!”

Gail asked, “What are they afraid of Rob?”

“They don’t know what they don’t know. Their whole world is wrapped up in a perceived digital dialogue.

Brand ain’t digital!

Brand is the relationship an individual has with a product or service. The sum of all the relationships of all those folks is the brand. That takes into account that some folks don’t have a clue as to who you are, and what you do, and could care less right up to somebody who believes y’all are the breath of life.

Digital doesn’t change that. Brand is still all about establishing trusting relationships. The digerati are just becoming aware of how fragile brand can be.

Everything you do, every communication you have with a client or prospect impacts their viewpoint about your brand. Regardless of where they are in the buying cycle the relationship is ultimately based on trust.

If’n you’re looking for a simple way to put it—Trust is not about words it’s about actions. So is brand. What you do is always more important then what you say. Theah’s some big words that supposedly are the foundation. Credibility is at the heart of it surrounded by authenticity, integrity and consistency.

But for a simple southern boy like me I put it this way:

  • First I got to believe you. Don’t make no never mind if I’m buyin’, just kickin tires or just tripped and slud into your web site.
  • Second, you got to be real. Don’t go makin’ promises you can’t keep. I know perfection is a mighty good thing to aim for but my target may not be what y’all are aimin’ at.
  • Be honest. Don’t get wrapped around an axle tryin’ to be somethin’ for everybody. There’s gotta be some slack and most folks will give you a little credit, specially if you tell the truth.
  • Stay constant. When you start fiddlin’ with trying to satisfy the whole world you’re gonna run into a problem. Like my Granny used to say…ain’t no way you can love everybody and you can’t expect them all to be friends with you. Best you can hope for is that most of them trust you. Do your darndest to get to that.”

The Takeaway:

Brand is a matter of trust. Getting to trust means I have to believe in you, your product or service. Maintaining that trust requires you and all who represent you to be real, honest and constant. Keep your promises.


 

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com