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.”
“Neither can they,” Marka fired back. “Or anyone else, for that matter.”
“Not true!” Interrupted Numo. “As long as pricing is high enough.”
“Theoretically, you’re right Numo,” Marka said. “Our customers are willing to pay a little more for our service, but not a lot more.”
“It’s all about best utilization of assets,” Numo said, sliding some numbers on his abacus. “It’d be nice to give each customer and prospect a personal visit like Custo once did, but if there’s a more cost effective way to win top of mind positioning, we need to do it.”
“So let’s stop dancing around the old chariot here,” Org said. “What’s the plan, tribe?”
“I’ve spent the last two sleepless days working out a system that will help guide our key business influencers toward a purchase,” Marka said authoritatively. “I’m calling it a ‘Customer Nurture Program.’ ”
Org chewed on his pen. “Nurture … hmmm. Like a plant? I like it already!”
“You’ll like it even more once you hear the plan,” Marka said. “A customer nurture program is a comprehensive marketing system in which well-chosen key business influencers at important companies receive useful information on a preplanned regular basis”
“How will this work?” Zoot asked.
“We preplan streams of customer ‘touches’,” Marka said, flinging her mop of straw-colored hair from one side of her head to the other. “Presidents, directors and the rest of the C-Suite will receive one stream. Estimators and buyers will receive another. Marketing and sales types a third. The media a fourth, and so on.”
“What are in these ‘streams’?” Zoot asked.
“Our focus will be on integrated customer nurturing touches,” Marka started. “We’ll use O-mail, direct mailers and postcards delivered via Olympus Post, pre-planned telephone calls and sales visits, printed press releases and reprints of our media coverage.”
“Marka, I love it,” Org said, a grin spreading across his wide mouth. “I haven’t been so invigorated since my last double grogaccino. Tell me more, please...”
FIRE! In Action
Season ticket holder “nurturing” works for Atlanta Thrashers
During the 2006 NHL lockout, Atlanta Thrashers season ticket holders received emails containing a personalized note from CEO Richard Mullin and free tickets to Atlanta Hawks (NBA) games. The emails generated a 40% click-through rate and attendance increased by nearly 7% for the next season. (http://bit.ly/d1kVEz)
Next blog: More on the CNP from Marka, Zoot, Numo and Org