A better chair, delivered better.
We fixate on marketing. With my fancy marketing background, I could make big money selling people complex marketing strategies. The best marketing isn’t marketing, but is much more effective and costs a lot less money, too. The problem is it’s work. We don’t like work. Even when it makes us successful. We’d rather do marketing.
Clever Marketing 101 – Not Sustainable
People buy great marketing once. If the product isn’t great, they’re out.
There are a myriad of marketing firms out there showing you how to get someone to give you more than the three-second glance at a trade show or on your website and how to take them deeper and deeper through a series of bigger and bigger commitments until they finally buy something from you at the bottom of the website.
People tell me this is great marketing, but I believe that by itself, it’s terrible marketing and does more damage than good in the long run. It’s also the lazy man’s approach and because of that, not sustainable.
Recency & Frequency
The two main tenants of good marketing are “recency” and “frequency”. If you talked to me recently, but only once, I’m not likely to buy. If you talked to me often a year ago but not since, I’m not likely to buy. You must do both all the time.
This costs a lot of money if you’re doing it via traditional print, radio or TV advertising. One of my clients spends $2million a year in one mid-sized market alone just to stay in the recency/frequency game. If you’re going to use money to do marketing, you usually have to have a lot of it to make enough noise to drown out the other guy with only $250,000.
Then there is the clever website approach, that gets people to go deeper and deeper down the page and finally click on $27.77 (clever marketing says your price should always end in 7). What if people finally respond to your clever website or your $2 million in advertising? Neither of these are your best marketing – not even close.
Future Clients Come From…
Where do the overwhelming majority of your future customers come from? When I ask this question to live audiences, almost every person will say – “from existing clients and existing friends/relationships.” Then why are we investing so much time in cool logos, tortured websites that lead me down a clever spiral path to a commitment, and advertising to find people you’ve never met?
One of my clients has a company called “Jungle Quest”, a ropes and repelling environment for kids, that is franchising nationally now. In the early days he had $1,000/ mth in profit to reinvest in the company. His first instinct was to buy $1,000/mth in advertising. He decided instead that he would use the $1,000 each month to do something to make the customer experience more “Jungle-icious” as he describes it.
It was a brilliant move. He improved the look and feel of the environment, added new experiences, improved the clothing on the staff and trained them better, and instituted a customer satisfaction program to stay in touch (recency and frequency). Today virtually all of his future clients come from his existing clients because he has done such a good job delivering a better product. It was hard work, but with a sustainable result – a better product and better relationships with customers.
Better Marketing? Absolutely.
Most people would say he didn’t improve his marketing, only his product. But in fact he did both because the best marketing you can do is to make a better chair, deliver it with flair, and apply “recency and frequency” to staying in touch with your existing customers and friends. It’s lot less expensive and more effective than chasing people you’ve never met.
The problem is that it takes work. We have to constantly work at our craft and get better and better at it. And we have to regularly find a way to touch our existing clients, say hello, and let them know we care. All of that sounds too much like work. We’d rather put together a clever website or marketing campaign that does this for us.
People buy great marketing once. If your product isn’t more jungle-icious than the next one, they won’t be back. But if you work hard over a number of years to make your offering distinctive, unique and presented with great customer service, people will refer you to all their friends.
The Best Marketing of All
Make a better chair and say hello to people you already know. It’s the best marketing you can do.