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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.

Three 'Red Hot' Ideas for Building a Customer Nurture Program (Part I)

Last week, Fire Enterprises, Inc. (FEI) employees Marka and Cecil finished a discussion of “push” and “pull” marketing for B2B businesses. This time, the whole tribe—Marka, Numo, Zoot and Org—reconvene to discuss some good ideas for implementing a Customer Nurture Program (CNP). Remember, fire = print.

The FEI tribe gathered around the conference room’s oak table. It was a mild September and Org had ordered the office air conditioner shut off early. The spacious stone room breathed with fresh autumn air that circulated through the open windows.

“I admit I’m having a bit of trouble visualizing how this Customer Nurture Program will run,” Org said.

“The CNP is a comprehensive marketing system in which well-chosen key business influencers at important companies receive useful information on a pre-planned regular basis,” Zoot answered casually, having committed the CNP mantra to memory weeks ago.

“Fine, but let’s make it REAL!” Org cried. “Say the CNP is an Olympian transportation business. Is it a chariot, a mighty galleon, or are passengers simply picked up by Zeus’ mighty hand and flung across the countryside?”

Nodding her head, Marka replied, “The answer is all of the above. There are so many different means through which we can ‘nurture’ prospects that I hardly know where to start. Tribe, let’s open up the floor—who has ideas for how we can reach out to our target markets according to the already-defined CNP principles?”

Red Hot CNP Idea I: Book of Standard Business Letters

“Let me take this one,” Zoot said. “Stamped first-class letters get opened, yet few salespeople use them. In this age of O-mail and O-book messages, simple letters stand out elegantly. In exchange for a little customization, your letter shows customers and prospects that we’ve invested time and care into our business relationship with them.”

Marka had heard enough. She’d always encouraged sales reps to write letters, but had quickly discovered that many either lacked the writing skills or weren’t disciplined enough to keep it up. “What would the letters say?” she asked, setting up Zoot for the slam dunk.

“The letters could serve as reminders, personal congratulations, Thank You notes, you name it,” Zoot said, listing the example off on his thick, calloused fingers.

“This is working smart. I’m convinced,” Numo added.

“As am I,” Org said.

“The only problem with writing letters one at a time? It takes too long!” Zoot continued. “I’d rather not spend all night cranking out letters to each potential client. I have better things to do.”

“That’s where mass customization comes in,” Marka said.

“Tell me more,” Zoot implored.

“First, we create a number of different letter templates, each designed for a specific occasion,” Marka explained. “When that event comes up in the course of business, all you need to do is plug the right contact information into the right template, customize a sentence or two, print the letter and send it!”

“I bet mass customization is a useful feature for other marketing communications,” Zoot mused.

“Patience, Zoot,” Marka said. “Next week we’ll talk about more ways to use mass customization to our advantage.”

Today’s FIRE! Point:
Customers and prospects who receive personalized letters from you will appreciate the time and care you’ve invested into your mutual business relationship. Use these letters to apologize for a missed deadline, offer a ‘Thank you for your business!,’ or simply to remind the customer that you haven’t worked together in awhile. Whatever the occasion, these customized letters will stand out from the clutter of mass e-mails your prospects receive every day and further your company’s top-of-mind position.

Fire! In Action
Dr. Gilbert Snow hired a marketing company to create and mail a postcard to a targeted list of recipients twice a year. The mailing generated a whopping 2,300% return on investment!

Next week: Two more “Red hot” CNP ideas.

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