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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.

Give Your Customers What They Want: Free Stuff!

Last week, Fire Enterprises, Inc. (FEI) marketing maven Marka told savvy salesperson Zoot and FEI tribe leader Org how plain, text-only e-mails can achieve better results for FEI than traditional promotional e-mails. This week, Marka and Zoot discuss why FEI’s marketing communications should prioritize compelling offers over flashy designs. Remember, fire = print.

One morning, Zoot found Marka getting coffee in the FEI break room.

“You know I take a lot of chariot rides, right?” Zoot asked.

“Sure,” Marka said. “That’s the only way you can reach any customers located outside Olympus. Boy, you must’ve racked up a lot of Frequent Rider Miles.”

“That’s right,” Zoot said. “In fact, before I boarded a chariot to visit Hestia’s Hearths yesterday, the customer-service person at the check-in desk told me I’d just racked up my 100,000th Frequent Rider Mile with Olympus ChariotWays.”

“Congrats!” Marka said.

“Thanks. The CSR handed me an envelope, told me it was a token of gratitude from the ChariotWays team. Once I was seated in the chariot, I excitedly opened the envelope. Inside was...a signed note from the ChariotWays VP.”

“That’s it?” Marka asked.

“It was a nice gesture, I suppose,” Zoot said. “The note was written in nice calligraphy on a fine parchment paper. But, to be frank, I had a 20-kilometer chariot ride ahead of me. What I really could’ve used was just ticket for a free grog.”

“You’ve touched upon an idea that applies to FEI’s promotional activities,” Marka said. “What makes our customers happy? Sure, they’re motivated by wanting to look good and feel special. But what really makes people happy are those little things that appeal to their simple desires: a $5 gift card to Gerta’s Grog Shop, or a free sandwich coupon at Sammy’s Sandwich Shop.”

“So you’re saying FEI promotions should feature more of these kinds of giveaways,” Zoot said. “And fewer fancy-looking pieces that don’t give our customers any reason to get excited.”

“Yes,” Marka said. “Admittedly, giveaways like these are harder to connect with sales. So we should also consider intelligent discounting—perhaps offering a limited-time discount on a loss-leader product. Then, of course, it’s easy to connect that discount with more sales—and higher profits—on that specific product.”

“Let’s not go overboard with discounting,” Zoot said. “We don’t want to become known as the ‘we always discount’ shop.”

“Of course not,” Marka said. “The main takeaway: let’s focus less on whether our promotions look absolutely gorgeous, and more on the tangible value they provide to customers. Remember the 40/40/20 rule—we should put twice as much thought and energy into the offer as the creative. Any promotion with the FEI brand on it has to meet a baseline of commercial acceptability, of course. Besides that, our focus should be on making sure these communications can answer the question ‘what’s in it for our customers?’”

“I agree!” said Zoot.

For FEI’s next postcard promotion, they offered every customer a free $5 gift card to Gerta’s Grog Shop in West Olympus. This postcard brought in three new leads, the most of any FEI promotion so far!

Next week: Marka and Zoot discuss creating an effective branding document.

Today’s FIRE! Point
A basic, text-only broadcast e-mail will stand out from the dozens of graphic- and text-heavy e-mail promotions your customers receive every day.

FIRE! In Action: Nitto Tire Uses Giveaways to Build Consumer Demand
The tire manufacturer gave away a branded poster through a variety of online forums. The posts achieved click-through rates of 83 percent and led to increased sales for one of their products.

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