Key elements for marketing communications

October 20, 2010 § 2 Comments

The End of Push Marketing

Image by david.orban via Flickr

So you’ve got a great product or service? And it will sell itself because of how great it is? You figured out it doesn’t work that way, but you still believe your product or service really solves a problem people are having, and they might be willing to pay for your solution? There’s a lot of talk about “pull marketing”, and it may work, depending.

Make yourself or your company an authority related to the range of problems you can help people solve, and provide your service as the need arises. Marketing communications are merely to support such marketing. New forms you can use appear daily on the internet. Some (most) are flares and hypes. Some are here to stay a little longer.

Websites

Have a website to begin with.

What doesn’t work is “throwing out a kazillion variations on a page”, what doesn’t work is guessing which pages from your site to start with, what doesn’t work is choosing tests that you cannot learn from, what doesn’t work is designing test content irrelevant for your goals …

Once you have a website you will also attract people that will try to sell you things like “we can increase your traffic” and “get rich quick MLM marketing schemes”. Those are what’s left of the one day flies, trying to make a quick buck on a tactic that worked only for a day or two, in some past. Or never worked at all to begin with. Google changes rapidly, and a lot. For personalised search, web history and location are used for finding “best matches” in the Google index. This scheme supports pull marketing for advertisers too.

Having said that, you can make your website stand out from the crowd by excellent use of design and language that attracts the people that have the problem your product or service can help solve. No need for a large megaphone, a congruent megaphone will be much more attractive. How hard can it be?

Brochures and white papers

Make a downloadable brochure for each product or service, or for packaged services and products. If interested people are not MAD, they may wish to print it out to show to a MAD person in their company or business. If you are into innovative products and services, write “white papers” that you keep updating. That way people that you have attracted to your website can follow your progress with solving their problem. This is like smelling an excellent upcoming dinner. It can raise appetites if it smells good.

By the way, if you make a white paper e-book (it doesn’t have to be big), you can sell it! From the Association of American Publishers: E-book sales are up 193 percent so far this year, and now comprise nine percent of all books sold.

Interactive/experiential sessions at events

If what you market are services, you can maybe run simulation sessions at events. You can make the sessions such that you ask in the beginning what problems need solving. Pick one or two you can do and that seem to be recognised by others.

If you are building a market around a more tangible product, do demonstrations at events. Make a bit of show around it so people can recognise the problem you are solving as their own. Better yet, invite people to participate and star in your demo.

With that you not only reach prospective clients but may also influence others who might positively affect our prospective client’s decision, as well as attract other potential customers.

Blogarticles

With pull marketing, I recommend maintaining a blog. It can help position you as trusted authority for your product or service, if the quality of your articles is high enough. No need for a degree. The articles speak for you.

The blog becomes the main pull. And blogging is not just writing. It is also about publishing links to related articles, visiting other like-minded blogs and making connections with significant others. Providing feedback to others, they may actually return the favor, and you hear about new problems as the need arises. Problems you, as trusted authority in that area, know how to solve.

If like me, you are an individuating human, you will have developed in many directions. Make a blog for each direction to keep ’em focused. For example, this blog is for my business consulting, facilitation, teaching and coaching services. Zwadderneel is my new grey hat blog focusing on anonymity, privacy and security meme evolution. And WahKahn is my roleplay facilitation blog where I write about roleplay in various contexts, roleplay by post, roleplay In Real Life sessions, and roleplay in (online) virtual worlds. The organisational forms that emerge during games are pretty interesting to follow.

Both Zwadderneel and Wahkahn are directly related to the services mentioned in Serendipity, and I see all sorts of connections between the seemingly different contexts, but many visitors will not. Like the forest and trees thing.

And for many, “Games” cannot be seriously connected to “Work”, until they have experienced a roleplay session where Satir work is used to learn from what happened in a game and how the learning translates to real life and professional contexts. It’s not magic. It’s not mysterious. It is based on universal emotions. And can make you highly effective.

Status updates

Twitter and Yahoo memes, Google’s buzz and Facebook, and other social networks, are places where you can convey messages to people that you have posted a new article, or updated a white paper. For some products and services this may actually work. For some not. I actually use these tools not to connect but to observe and analyse what problems people are having, what they find attractive, and what their preferences are, as inspiration for new services.

Word of mouth

Still the best way to become a trusted authority, as it is based on actual performance and excellence. And if a customer really wants it and can not afford it money wise … Everything is interconvertible. Can the customer pay in other ways, like by testimonial, or by becoming a reference? If what you transfer is a service that increases personal power, people might just say “thank you” or even better, give a grounded appreciation. They may actually mention you to someone else, and hopefully the people they talk to do have (more) funds. This sends the message that you are not a hippo and really into solving problems, and not just an under-cover grabber.

Networking

Clusters of people in a network are connected and have an influence over each other. Who connects with whom initially is not that important. Majorities do not rule, they convince. Once a local majority meme is formed on “hey, this works for me!”, the meme gets spread. That’s just basic human patterns and universal emotions. Networking strategies are a great way of building a market or extending a marketing campaign. And it is possible to integrate old and new types of marketing communications.

But, be aware of your choices which existing social networks you use for marketing communications. Understand why people are using a particular social medium. To relate. Do not use it to frustrate relationships by wasting people’s time and energy, and your own. That’s push, not pull. Do not be a hippo. There are specific networks and channels for your purpose.

Ecademy for example, is a supportive community that on occasion may actually yield some consulting leads besides being liked and getting some great advice on what works and what doesn’t. But, as with everything else, you have to work at it. LinkedIn is a business utility, a network.

Multi media

Make slideshows, presentations, video and Youtube clip appearances, and load them up to your website. Get feedback from Ecademy members and improve ’em.

Advertising

Advertising through search engines is really push marketing and can cost you a lot of money, unless the search engine supports pull marketing, like Google does nowadays. Whatever advertising channel you chose, don’t pay for having the advertisement placed, but pay per click, or better yet, per sale through affiliates.

Facebook allows you to choose between paying only when people click (CPC) or see your advert (CPM), and because you can make a facebook page for your product you can make the whole market building interactive on location. Personally, I think many people block out the advertisements in their mind. I know I do. And some people report it really works for them.

Let’s not over-target

Time and frequency of using any marketing communications depends on goals/objectives and how you connect with the market you are building around your expertise, products and services.

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