In a departure from topics that are ‘all things marketing…’
I’ve been thinking about the various jobs I’ve held throughout my working life and how I’ve landed where I have. I’ve enjoyed a very successful career, and it’s because I’ve had help along the way. Yes, I’ve done much on my own, but I’ve had support, advice, recommendations and had access to open positions because of others who wanted to help me.
I am acquainted with a woman who was in a very senior role at AOL. I did not know her all that well while I was there. But I would reach out to her from time to time after leaving AOL for her advice and input on various topics. She ALWAYS responded to my emails with thoughtful, helpful advice and guidance. Not too long ago we met for dinner – at her suggestion. We got to talking about AOL and how we all now know people in many companies all over the country. It’s like we have an ‘in,’ no matter where we want to go. And she told me that whenever someone from AOL reaches out to her, she always responds. Even if she doesn’t know the person, she always tries to help.
Lesson 1 is a simple lesson that’s worth learning: it’s important to help others. Helping others is not only great for them, but it makes you feel pretty good too. It’s a win-win! Helping is easy and costs you nothing.
There are some people who I always list as references when I’m interviewing. Why? Because they want to help. They know me well from working with me in the past, and they are supportive. It’s important to know who you can count on in work (and personal!) life. And it’s equally important to be someone yourself who can be counted on.
Lesson 2 is: it’s equally important to know when to move away from those who aren’t helpful. We’ve all worked with people who do not care about helping others. Unless there’s a benefit to themselves, they aren’t interested. These aren’t necessarily bad people, but they are certain to be selfish and perhaps even a little manipulative, even if they don’t realize it. Spotting those folks, accepting who they are…and keeping your distance, is important.
As Mr. Rogers used to say: “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
As recently as two-weeks ago, I bet if I’d asked how many people knew what the term ‘earned media’ meant, few would have known. But thanks to Donald Trump, the word is spreading! I heard it mentioned in two separate news stories this week alone.
There are three categories commonly used to describe the various types of media:
Paid Media, which refers to TV advertising, ads you encounter while surfing the web, direct mail, and the like.
Owned Media, which refers to your company’s own assets, such as your website, your Facebook page, blog etc.
and Earned Media, which is what Donald Trump is teaching us all about. Earned Media is news coverage, word-of-mouth, reviews. It’s called ‘earned’ because you don’t buy it (typically) or own it. Marketers love Earned Media because it’s free.
Politicians especially love Earned Media because they can gain tons of coverage without spending money they’ve raised. And Trump has lead the field by far, of any candidate ever, in free media coverage. In fact, he has hardly spent anything at all on paid media. And clearly, at least so far, he really hasn’t needed to. According to The New York Times, he has had almost $2 billion dollars’ worth of Earned Media! The downside of course is that Earned Media isn’t always positive, something Trump hasn’t seemed to care much about. In fact, it’s his shocking and ridiculous statements that bring him the most coverage…likely there’s a strategy there.
At the least, there’s a lesson here for marketers: if you make yourself newsworthy (in a positive way!), you’ll benefit. Perhaps a let-down of a payoff but think about it. If you can do something to pick up news coverage, the benefits can be immense. Give back to your community, forge an alliance with a non-for-profit that you care about, donate a part of your sales to a good cause. And make sure you find a way to get some media coverage as a result. Don’t be shy!
Sometimes it’s good to toot your own horn…and hope that others join in.
Philip Kives died last week. You might not realize that you know him, but you do. He revolutionized marketing by inventing the infomercial. Some in fact might call him the founder of direct response marketing.
Remember those commercials where the greatest hits of an era would play while the song list scrolled up your TV screen? You guessed it, Philip Kives. He had a great idea and he made millions with it.
He grew up poor, living with his parents on their farm in a tiny town in Canada. After graduating from high school, he successfully sold products door to door, such as vacuum cleaners and cookware, earning $29,000 in 1959, a small fortune. In his early 30s, he figured out that TV would be a more efficient way to reach people, and so the infomercial was born. And in 1963, Kives founded the company called K-tel International.
The very first infomercial ever produced was for a Teflon non-stick fry pan, and it was produced by Kives. He was 32. Turned out that Teflon might help keep food from sticking, but it didn’t stick so well to the frying pan itself. So Kives looked for other things to sell. He bought a bunch of products from Seymour Popeil, father of Ron Popeil, the guy who coined the phrase “but wait, there’s more,” and was successful using TV to sell huge volumes.
Three years later, for no apparent reason, he traveled to Australia with an infomercial he had made himself, selling the Feather Touch Knife, another product he bought from Popeil. In five months’ time, he had sold a million knives, earning $1 per knife for himself. Popeil decided to stop selling his products to Kives, instead selling his products himself through his son’s company, Ronco.
That change forced Kives to start finding and developing his own products, and that’s when he hit on the jackpot: compilation hit song records. His company sold 500 million albums by 1983!
Kives perfected the all important call-to-action. His messages were compelling and simple, and his audience responded. Tell your viewers what the product does and how it benefits them, create a sense of urgency, and encourage them to buy.
“Only available through this very special TV offer”
“His approach to sales was unapologetically mainstream. The marketing language was simple and unswerving at a time when, as illustrated by Mad Men, the advertising industry was attempting to elevate itself to a level of erudition and sophistication that perhaps it didn’t quite deserve. For Kives, the sales message should have no space for indulgence or purple prose.”
You’re probably familiar with the ‘As Seen on TV Logo’. Yep. That’s Philip Kives. For many years, this trademarked logo could only be used if you paid for the rights to do so (and you were selling a product that was sold in this way). Now this iconic image is considered a part of the public domain, so anyone is free to use it.
Thanks EELECTRIK marketing. @eelectriklady for this oldie!
Direct Marketing and Content Marketing are often seen as two very different aspects of marketing. But in fact, as Wayne Hendry @ideakid88 so aptly tweeted: They are two sides of the same coin.
Earlier this week I was honored to be the ‘guest tweeter’ at Content Marketing Institute’s content marketing Twitter chat (#CMWorld is the hashtag and there is a weekly chat on Tuesdays at noon Eastern). The topic was how Content and Direct can (and should!) work together.
I have pulled together some of the conversation here. Great insight and learnings from the crowd and hopefully you’ll pick up some ideas to help with your own marketing. This was a lively group of intelligent marketers!
The first question helped define what direct marketing actually is, along with why content marketers should care:
Direct Marketing (aka direct response marketing, aka DM) refers to marketing efforts aimed directly at a consumer to drive a specific action. It’s all about finding out what resonates with your audience so that they’ll respond.
Direct marketing and direct engagement give you SO many content ideas – it’s straight from your clients! What are user questions? Issues? Ideas? How can you take that information and provide REAL value? CONTENT!
The real key here is seeing what your audience responds to in DM and using that to inform your content.
There are many answers but consider what content is read most. Test those themes in a mailer, DRTV or space ad. And if some of your content creates social media buzz, use that in your DM to engage your audience.
Regarding how social and community management can support DM programs, think about how you can use your social posts to reinforce messages from your DM. If DM is touting a product benefit, soc. posts can talk about the same.
Social and community are all about listening and responding to customers:
Knowing your target is critical to your success. Once you know what your typical customer looks like, it’s much easier to find others who look just the same. Especially if you are selling as a business (B2B), it’s important to remember that your product is bought by a person, not a business. You will be more successful selling if you can identify commonalities among your buyers.
Step 1: Analyze your current customer file to tease out the demographics.
If you sell directly to the consumer (BtoC), you need to know, at a minimum, three basic things:
It’s also helpful to know education level, where they live, occupation and/or employment status, ethnicity, children in the home, and marital status.
If you are selling B2B, gender and age of the buyer is still important, but add to that:
SAIC code (business classification code)
Company size (employees and revenue).
This analytical exercise will help you paint a picture of your target and make it easier to find ‘similar’ buyers. You’ll be able to better target both your online and offline marketing.
Step 2: Determine behavioral characteristics of your buyers.
To figure this out, again turn to your current customer file. This is easier (IMHO) if you are targeting customers directly, but also has a B2B application.
In the case of B2C it’s important to know what your customers like to do. Do they tend to be outdoorsy, are they car fanatics, do they love to cook? Knowing this information will make your customers easier to find. If they like to cook, try running ads on recipe sites, if they like to hike, look for them on hiking trail sites. You get the idea.
There are a number of ways to figure out what your customers like to do:
Look at the Twitter feeds of some of your most active buyers. Do some analysis to see what they are tweeting about. Visit the links they share. See if you can determine any patterns. You might find that a portion of your buyers spend time doing research on cars. Perfect! Now you know where to target some advertising.
Analyze your Facebook posts to see which ones resonate more with your followers. Do you get a lot of engagement when you post about your company’s charitable activities? If so, think about how you can use that in your marketing.
Analyze how much time your website visitors spend reading various content. Especially in B2B, if your visitors tend to gravitate towards particular topics, you can continue writing about those, you can reach out to influencers in your field to see if you can publish on their blogs or you can figure out appropriate conferences and see if you can speak on that topic. The goal is to establish yourself as an industry expert on a topic that’s important to your buyers.
Step 3. Do some research.
For both B2C and B2B, survey research can yield dividends. There are many tools available that enable surveys (paid and free!). Don’t be afraid to reach out to past buyers to ask questions. SurveyMonkey is an easy to use tool that has a free and paid version. You can survey without revealing who you are, or as your brand. You can run a survey on your website, or rent a list of folks who have opted in to take online surveys. Do your research to come up with a list you know is ‘opted-in.’ Be sure to consider survey bias with online surveys. You might find that there are different behaviors with people who have opted in to take an online survey vs those who haven’t (they might be younger, older or have other characteristics unique to the group). Always ask demographic questions (age, gender, income, etc.) in your surveys and use those answers in aggregate to see if they look similar to your customer base.
Once you survey your customers, you can ‘cut’ the data in a number of ways to see where nuggets of information might exist. For instance, you may discover that one product feature is more important to your male buyers, and another to your female buyers. Or that your older buyers tend to buy your product for others, or that your tech savvy customers spend more.
Do some research on your competitors’ customers too. Why are they buying from him instead of from you? This type of research will take more time than surveying your existing base because it may be harder to get a statistically significant sample size, but is a great way to gain insight into why your competitor sometimes wins out. For instance, if you sell Internet service, you can ask questions like: What Internet service do you use? What is the most important feature your Internet service delivers? Do you know the speed of your Internet service? There are a few options for these types of surveys. You can hire a survey company to find appropriate email lists that might include both your customers and your competitors’ customers, or try to find lists yourself. The information gathered can be enlightening!