Marka Outlines the Principles Behind a ‘Customer Nurture Program’

Last time, Marka the marketer and Zoot the salesperson discussed the importance of “moving the battlefield away from price.” This week, marketing nuts & bolts begins with a discussion of the “Customer Nurture Program.” Remember, fire is just a fancy metaphor for print.

Org surveyed the majesty of Mount Olympus from his oak chair. As the president of Fire Enterprises, Inc. (FEI) and grandson of Prometheus, Org knew employees looked to him for guidance when monthly sales were lower than Hades. But this time FEI’s fearless leader had no answer.

Marka threw open Org’s office door. Behind her stood Zoot and Numo the accountant. In contrast with his colorful coworkers, gray-haired Numo usually played it close to the toga. The numbers-focused accountant consistently counseled that absolutely nothing trumped profits.

“What brings you all to my office today?” Org asked.

“We need to do a better and more cost-efficient job of reaching ‘key business influencers’ in Olympus who need fire,” Marka said eagerly, rubbing her hands together.

Org nodded. “I’m glad FEI has decided to focus our marketing efforts on other businesses.”

“Marketing to the president of Fire Wholesalers involves a different approach than advertising to Joe Fire-buyer,” Marka said. “If we don’t win top-of-mind positioning with key business influencers at dealers, distributors, wholesalers and end users direct, our B2B business is up for grabs the first time a Pyro runner or a FlintStone rep wanders through the front door. It’s all very uncomfortable.”

“Speaking of wandering through the front door—Zoot, I remember your grandfather Custo used to visit every dealer, distributor and manager in person,” Org mused.

“Today, Flintstone does the same thing,” Zoot said, taking a seat on the heavy oak stump next to Org’s matching knotty oak desk. “His business offers a one-on-one sales call for even the smallest client. They’re the ‘personal touch’ sellers, and that’s how they cement relationships. But we can’t afford the manpower for an approach like theirs.”

T.J. Tedesco is a sales growth, business strategy, marketing and PR consultant operating at the intersection of clear vision, compelling content and effective outreach practices. For nearly two decades, T.J. has been an independent consultant and sales growth team leader. Previously, he sold commercial printing, graphic arts machinery and supplies, and finishing and bindery services. T.J. helps North American companies with content development, Web and print design leadership, nurture marketing programs, sales coaching, sales team alignment and business strategy. Since 1996, T.J. has worked with more than 100 clients on retainer, 80 percent in the graphic arts industry. T.J. is author of "Win Top-of-Mind Positioning," "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry," "Fire! How Marketing Got Hot," "Direct Mail Pal" and four more books published by PIA. He can be reached at (301) 404-2244 or
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