00:40 – The importance of integration
01:28 – Adopt this approach
01:57 – How knowledgeable are you?
02:31 – Presentation counts
03:34 – What’s new and current?
03:55 – Pay attention to this
05:50 – Technology is your friend
07:08 – Making the most of content
08:38 – Win-win partnering
09:39 – Feedback is vital
11:04 – Point of sale consistency
11:49 – How are you managing relationships?
12:53 – Remembering the basics
13:33 – Now do this
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James Schramko here, from SuperFastBusiness.com. Today’s topic, integrating your marketing. I wanted to address this topic because a lot of people are so micro focused when they talk about traffic or marketing. They’re talking about one tactic or one strategy. I just want to bring this all together and look at it from an overview, and just to see if I can shape your ideas around how you approach marketing for your business. Because one of the best things you can do for your business is to make sure you have an integrated marketing plan, being where every element of your marketing supports the rest of it, in which the prospect receives a message consistent with the brand image that company wishes to project.
So in this podcast, we’ll discover how you can put together a winning combination of marketing elements sure to attract and retain the right customers. If you do enjoy this podcast, please leave a rating at iTunes. I’d really appreciate that. These solo podcasts are short, to the point, without fluff. We don’t have ads scattered through them either.
So let’s talk about the consultative approach. Treat selling like a technical process wherein your aim is to uncover and solve your customer’s problem and lead them from one situation to a better alternative situation. That really is my definition of selling. If you think about the consultative approach, it’s really just problem solving and that’s why people who like puzzles, who like to solve problems, and who are sincere and have integrity can actually be really good sales people.
Know your product
Of course, this is going to require a good product knowledge. With widespread use of the internet, prospects are more educated than ever before so there’s just no excuse for not knowing your product and those products of your competitors. Do your research so that you can be more informed and strategic with your solutions. Again, this can fit into your overall marketing picture. So everything you’re doing so far is consultative, and it’s with the basis of very strong product knowledge. Not just your knowledge, but knowing where you fit in the marketplace.
Next up is being personable. This is through every port of call that a customer or prospect could deal with your company. How do you present yourself? Are you confident? Educated? Creative? Do you have integrity? And if it’s not you, does your representative, does your help desk, do your emails convey the same messaging? If you meet personally with prospects to appear face-to-face from live presentations, or at meetings, or masterminds, or if you’re on a video or in a podcast, do you maintain an appearance consistent with how you want to be perceived? This might sound trivial.
When I was in the automotive industry, a customer would judge you just as quickly as you judge them. You want to be having a consistent look and feel, and the example here is high-end Mercedes Benz sales. They’re going to look at your shoes to see if they’re polished; they’re going to check what pen you have, what watch you’re wearing, and what kind of tie you have. These things are noted by the customer because it makes them feel comfortable dealing with you. When you’re asking for $300,000 or $400,000 for a motor vehicle, they’re going to expect that you’re on the same level.
Next is being up-to-date. Have a good idea where the market is headed, the effects of the economics, and the opportunities presented by new technology, like the internet but then on a deeper level. Things like remarketing and all these tactics. This is where most people spend most of their time, on the tactics. Just be aware of where things are up to.
If you are familiar with the adoption curve, there’s the early adapters and then there’s the early majority, and then there’s the late majority, and then there’s the laggards. In my business, I pay attention to what the early majority is doing because I feel that it’s just a matter of time. If you think of a python eating a rabbit, it goes in the mouth and it goes down the body. This big lump moves down. So see what’s coming down the line. Like if you’re in the tail of the python, you know what’s coming. You can see what’s up with the head there.
Now in terms of marketing, you can pay attention to what’s happening, but avoid this bright shiny object thing. What I do see is people jump on the greatest, latest new things. T-shirts on Teespring or whatever. And they completely ignore and abandon all the things that they’re supposed to be doing, and that is not integrated marketing.
Integrated marketing relies on having a consistent theme and pulling together in every area. So whilst it’s great that the early adopters and adapters are taking new things and doing amazing stuff, I wait until it hits the early majority, until more people are using it. So I’ll be the guy who gets the iPhone a little bit after its release. Not the day. I won’t be standing there in line the day that it’s released. There’s too much unknown. It’s too new. You have to educate people about this. Wait till things are in the marketplace and there is an awareness.
Things like retargeting now for example. There’s good awareness of it. A few years ago, when we were first hearing about it, that was actually in 2009, gives you a scope on how far ahead we’re looking at these things. That was just really really raw and cutting edge. If you’re going to use that stuff, it gives you a great advantage but also, some people don’t realize what it is yet. So just work on doing the things that work first.
Leveraging technology. In a digital world, learn how to combine a website, digital media, sales funnels and SEO and email marketing for the best return on your investment. In some cases, it’s not actually worth starting new technology or getting whole new platforms because the cost of switching and changing is going to be detrimental. For example, I’ve been using same cart for 7 million dollars’ worth. I haven’t changed or chopped to different solutions because it works and it’s really good. I’ll do that where a solution is working and it’s really good. Even if it’s not the brand new software, I’ll still just use it because I’m giving my customer a very consistent look and feel.
My checkouts, my process is all working and I want them to experience something that works rather than an unknown quantity. I don’t want to bet with my customers because if I give them a bad experience, they’re not going to come back. So leverage technology but also stick with the winning technology. Find your core technology that you can keep for the longest time possible.
I’m on my second CRM system now and I’ll try and stay there as long as I can unless they do something terrible because it’s consistent for my customers.
Effective content marketing
Now this is talking about using articles, videos, copywriting to convey a message consistent with your brand. Great tools for this are things like documentary videos, getting behind the scenes of your business, creating customer connections with the viewer rather than just the traditional product push, taking out the TV advertisements during dinner time, like the car companies do, that’s silly.
What you want to do is be with people but be emotional, be transparent, be vulnerable, and use these sort of tools to relay your message. If you have an ongoing theme of integrity, and transparency, and being accessible, then things like documentaries are so powerful.
When it comes to integrating your marketing, you really have to think about offline marketing as well. Each year, I run a live event called SuperFastBusiness Live to integrate my marketing. It bonds our community. It’s like the master meet-up for the year.
Other things you can do, are print media. Don’t ignore the local papers because press is still there. There’s still a journalist down in the local newspaper office keen for a story. It’s a good way to get noticed. Even things such as hand written notes or lumpy email, physical gifts, tokens of appreciation in the mail can have a significant impact. Right now, I’m looking at a Ferrari key that someone sent me in the post. I mean that has high cut through as a physical mailer in an online world.
Joint ventures can be useful for marketing activities. If you don’t have capital or you don’t have skills, you can find someone who does and you can do some joint ventures. Back in the dealership, I used to run events and give away prizes and I had brands who had the same customer as me but were non-compete.
So when I was in the luxury vehicle segment, I worked with art galleries, I worked with high-end music providers, high-end financial planners, and we held events where we all invited our customers. And the customers could cross experience the different products and services from that relationship. So it was combining forces to build up a bigger customer database. We didn’t really care if a Mercedes customer is going to go and buy some shares at Macquarie bank or if they’re going to buy some nice wine, or a piece of art, or a Bang & Olufsen stereo. And at the same time, the Bang & Olufsen shop doesn’t really mind if their customer buys a Mercedes-Benz. There’s no one losing from that transaction.
These are very very important. I will credit Seth Godin’s Purple Cow with one of the greatest innovations I had. I used this transparency device for feedback to improve the customer satisfaction scores in the dealerships I worked for. And I do this in my own business. I actually send a follow-up email for people who buy things and ask them how it went.
Preserve the customers you’ve already got through your follow-ups, through segmentation, through the landing pages that you have, your email marketing sequences for people who buy things. It’s vital because you want the people who have purchased to be able to tell you how it’s going so that you can retain them. And this again conveys this marketing integrity of the same message. Yes, we care about you and we’re transparent, and open, and we value your business before you buy with us. But even after you buy with us, we still care about you. We still follow up, we’re still accessible, and we still want to make sure that you get great results.
If you have a good news story, consider doing a press release. That’s a nice way to let other people know about what you’re doing. These things have to be newsworthy. They can’t just be rubbish articles for links. They’ve got to be newsworthy items. You can take advantage of seasons. You’ve got Easter, Christmas, summer, winter, end of stock, etc. You could do things for the community. This also can be quite helpful.
Point of sales
Another way to integrate your marketing is anything point of sales. So if your business has any physical aspect, then make sure that all your departments, all your customer facing materials, whether it’s the window, dressing the material on the desks, on the walls, the uniforms, the logos, the stationary, business cards; everything should have an integrated theme across the board. You should know instantly you’re in the right place.
It fascinated me when I was in the dealership that different departments would have their own fonts and messaging. You could walk around one dealership and feel like you’re in 5 different businesses and that was something I swept out, and I said, “Hey, department managers, we have one customer. Let’s be consistent here.”
The old customer relationship management. You’ve got to be consistent with your email marketing. Keep sending your direct response letters and emails in frequencies that correlate with the way that people want to receive things. I offer people a choice to go for daily or weekly emails because I know that some people don’t have time to look at an email everyday. But then there’s other people who are hyper users and they want everything I can send them as soon as they can get it.
When the podcasts are short and I value people’s time, then they can continue to receive things daily. So think about your pacing, think about the way you format the emails. I make sure when I send out the emails, I’m using the same font size, the same font, I have a very similar style to the way that I lay them out, and I use pictures, bullet points, and clear calls to action. And all of these things combine to make a consistent messaging.
If I’m sending a couple of hundred thousand emails a month, then my customers are getting the same look and feel from me and they know that it’s me. They know that they can trust what’s coming through.
So really, this is all about keeping sight of the fundamentals. While technology is your friend and it’s always coming out and updating, success is not all about the latest social media, or getting more Twitter followers. It’s ultimately about providing a positive customer experience. We are in the experience economy so have all the elements come in together when someone picks up the telephone and calls you, or if they go to your store. If they look at your online presence. If they meet you face-to-face. If they listen to a podcast, they see you on a video, or they read a press release, or they get your email, that all of your follow-up and communication is consistent and it always seeks to deliver value.
So here’s your action step from listening to this short but punchy podcast. On a whiteboard or a large piece of paper, write down a campaign or a branding message that you could roll out across all of your marketing channels. Maybe it’s just getting your logo updated and have it on every piece of material you do.
Make sure that if a prospect is to find your website, or your ad, or your article or your email that it will look and feel consistent and that they are treated in the same positive experience that you want your business to be conveying. So that’s your action step, is to roll out something that pulls together your various different marketing elements into one combined and integrated message.
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Your thoughts: What elements of your marketing could be better integrated?