Printing Impressions

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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.
 

Marka Outlines the Principles Behind a ‘Customer Nurture Program’ (Part III)

 
Last time, Fire Enterprises, Inc. (FEI) President Org, Marka the marketer, Zoot the salesperson and Numo the accountant discussed how to use a “Customer Advisory Board” to generate feedback from the company's most loyal customers. Today, the tribe finishes off the “Customer Nurture Program” (CNP) with discussion on CNP materials and follow-up activities. Remember, fire = print.

Marka stood in front of the whiteboard like an Olympus elementary school teacher. The sun had reached its apex over Mount Olympus, but was still partially obscured by grey clouds.

“Tribe, let me ask you a hypothetical question: What’s stronger, drips of water or a rock?” Without waiting for an answer, she continued: “If allowed to constantly drip, water can cut through rock.”

“Drip marketing,” Org said, stroking his clean shaven chin. “I’ve heard of this.”

“Yes,” Marka replied. “With enough ‘drips,’ our CNP will ‘cut through the clutter’ and position FEI top-of-mind with consumers and key business influencers. The question is: What type of water should we use?”

“It doesn’t matter, as long as it’s not from the Olympian aqueducts,” Zoot said, not quite grasping the metaphor. “My cousin was sick in his straw bed for three days after drinking that stuff.”

“I mean, what vehicles should we use to cement relationships with customers and build new ones with prospects?” Marka clarified.

Each member of the tribe shouted out suggestions, which Marka frantically scribbled down on the whiteboard:
  • “Thank you for your business” letters, emails and social media communications
  • New product announcements
  • New equipment and capabilities announcements
  • Letters introducing key changes in the company
  • Technical trade articles
  • Informative fire-specific articles (production, safety, reselling, retail, management, etc.)
  • Articles that FEI employees have published
  • Clips of FEI prospects and customers in the news
  • FEI collateral material (brochures, sell-sheets, etc.)
  • Printed newsletters
  • Ghostwritten books
  • O-DVDs, o-media presentations, O-site links,
  • Holiday cards
  • Giveaways
  • Whitepapers and other similar content

“If the CNP is this thorough for each target, will it really be a savings over visiting in person?” Zoot asked, still looking for faults with the CNP.

“Remember our discussion on segmentation?” Marka asked. “We only send these out to customers and prospects every 2-4 weeks, at most. Believe me, we’re not going to hit current customers that know our services with 25 ‘nurturing touches’ in the first two months.”
“I love it!” Numo jumped in with gusto. “Our runners are expensive, and each sales call can cost hundreds of O-bucks. It sounds like the CNP will save FEI precious time and money. We could have customer service reps and even sales trainees handle a lot of the customization. With o-puters, we can generate thousands of these communications and program them to go out automatically. When we get responses, we’ll follow up with appropriate actions.”

“I see,” Zoot said, nodding his well-coiffed head. “And based on the response, we could add someone to our database, send another targeted written communication, make a phone call or jump straight to a sales visit if appropriate. It all sounds as intelligent and well thought out as an epic poem.”

“The cost of doing business will plummet,” Org said as he watched the last of the clouds lift from the radiant sun. “We’ve been wondering how to market to our smaller but loyal customers. This customer nurture program is the answer.”

“So what you’re saying is...” Marka started.

“I approve!” Org replied. “You young marketing guns never cease to impress me.”
   
A harvest moon later, the CNP had “dripped” enough to erode the rock of buyer uncertainty. The intelligent, well-targeted communications, arriving with just the right frequency, had placed FEI firmly “top-of-mind” with prospects, occasional customers and regular customers alike. As a result, sales rose 18 percent during the next cycle. Numo was delirious! Even skeptical Zoot couldn’t explain the jump in sales. The only suspect was the effectiveness of FEI’s new marketing strategy.

FIRE! in Action:

Sometimes Your Email Just Needs a Tune-up

Smithsonian magazine revamped its broadcast email campaign, creating a more legible design with a distinct call-to-action. The result? Smithsonian’s next emailing yielded an 11% higher subscription rate than the previous campaign.

Next week: The tribe goes back-to-marketing-basics with a discussion of the “Unique Selling Proposition.”

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