Acquired Immunity To Viral Marketing Part 1

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I’m a huge fan of Jay Conrad Livingston and his line of “Guerilla Marketing” books which are some of the most clever and informative series of works in the history our industry. It’s not a stretch to say that he was the founding father of modern promotions. “Guerilla” is also a great way to define his message. He used the word as a metaphor for his brand of marketing although it is a term that initially entered the modern vernacular with negative connotations.

I remember when I first heard the word “guerilla.” I was watching The CBS Evening News anchored by Walter Cronkite with my mom, dad and big brother. The details escape me because I was so young, but I remember it was about bad guys in Lebanon. My father also had to explain to me that Mr. Cronkite wasn’t calling these bad guys “gorillas.” It was my first lesson on homonyms, but I digress. It helps to remind ourselves that Mr. Livingston’s message succeeded in spite of the negative connotation, not because of it. No one believes his intention was that we’d take his terminology literally and start shooting up Beirut whilst passing out branded tchotchkes. He was just telling us there was another way to get our point across which involved tactics not unlike a guerrilla ambush on an unsuspecting—but ultimately grateful—public. Juxtapose that tactic with what’s happening now; he took a negative term and turned it into a positive euphemism. The exact opposite is happening in the marketing world today. 

Allow me to set the stage: We’ve all been exposed to euphemistic rebranding of negative terms in the sterile corridors of the corporate world. Long ago and in more pragmatic times, we may have heard someone say something akin to, “We have a problem and it needs to be fixed.” It was clear, concise, to the point and we understood there was a problem and it needed to be fixed. No further explanation was needed. However sometime in the last 20 or 30 years, some mid-level manager raised on Dick & Jane and new math (and who may have just been subjected to sensitivity training), proselytized that people ran for cover when hearing the word “problem,” lest their self esteem be irreparably damaged as a result of the exposure. By some decree, the word “problem” was substituted with the word “challenge.” After all, everyone likes a challenge, don’t they? When “Challenge” lost its luster (after a very short while, incidentally), it was unceremoniously replaced with “issues.” That wasn’t good enough either and now we actually call problems “opportunities.” Good grief. Isn’t it sad to think that soon, that wonderfully positive word will be laden with negative connotations? 

Euphony has its place in the lexicon though. When someone’s vital signs cease to be apparent, it blunts the trauma to survivors when we say this person has “passed on” or “passed” versus this person “died.” We don’t get buried, we get “interred.” In fact, life insurance companies go so far as to tell survivors that the policy in question had “matured.” We can forgive euphony in businesses that deal with death, but for the rest of us, it borders on ridiculous and it implies that everyone on the payroll is an easily traumatized child. I think it’s time to come full circle; indeed we have a ‘problem’ and it needs to be fixed. You’d never know it, with all the “Johnny-come-lately-me-too” terms in the marketing world we are being subjected to. I believe these new buzz words and phrases try in vain to capture the clever and whimsical spirit and vibe of the late Mr. Livingston’s epiphany. For instance, can we all agree that ‘viral marketing’ is a vile term? Why must our industry come up with these negative-sounding names to describe what we do? Viruses are bad. No one wants one and if we can help it, we’d never seek one out to bring home to the family.

This blog will appear dated very shortly as I’m certain we will stop using this buzz term shortly (wishful thinking?). But I can’t help thinking it will be replaced with another, even more negative sounding name. ‘Disruptive’ is another gem. It’s as if the only way to get the attention of our target consumer is to disrupt them (read: Piss them off). If someone disrupts me while I’m busy living my life, I can tell you with complete certainty I will not be investing in their product, company, cause, or service. I would also maintain that I’m not alone in this sentiment. You get the point; I’m illustrating, with absurdity, the absurd. What we do in marketing and promotions is an honorable endeavor but with names like “Viral Marketing” floating around out there defining what we do, at best you’d think that we’re up to no good and at worst, trying to infect the public with something that may kill them. If we just call what we’re doing “marketing” and “promotions,” we’re being honest with the consumer. If on the other hand, our product, service or cause needs to be spread by such disgusting sounding names as ‘viral marketing,’ we shouldn’t be surprised when our demographic target moves from our sights and hides where we can’t find him or her. It may be for the aforementioned reasons we have to keep on reinventing, or ‘mutating’ ways to get our message in front of consumers. No one wants our viruses; hence the name of this blog, “acquired immunity” and I believe these terms and tactics are creating an ever-resistant strain of consumer. Note that the author is keenly aware that ‘viral’ is a metaphor, but words have meaning and by continuously using negative words in our communications, it reinforces negativism. Keep in mind the term, “guerrilla marketing” is the exception to inverted euphony; it worked. Most, if not all the others, don’t. 

Come back soon for Part 2

Thanks!

DON’T GIVE UP

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Jim Rohn would ask audiences during his talks, “How long would you give your baby to learn how to walk, before you just told him or her to stop trying?” The reaction was unanimous: “As long as it takes! My baby will keep trying until they walk!” Tony Robbins used this same analogy and made the observation that this is why every able-bodied person on Earth learns how to walk; our parents didn’t give up on us. Later in life, whenever we set our goals in any endeavor – be it sales or even losing weight – we need to get it done with the same resolve we used to learn to walk as children; keep working on it until we succeed.

A little perspective on the passage of time helps us . How often do we toast the new year and ask ourselves and our friends, “where did the time go?” It’s a universal reaction at midnight. In the blink of an eye, another year goes by. Can we all agree that time flies? Earl Nightingale reminded us to keep working at our goals—no matter how long it takes to get them accomplished. The time will pass anyway. If we embark on a goal that takes one, five, ten or twenty years to accomplish, so what? For instance, if we start a ten year project when we’re 30, we will be 40 when it’s done and we’ll feel very accomplished. Conversely, if we don’t work on our our ten year project, guess how old we’ll be in ten years and more importantly, how will we feel? If we do our best for as long as it takes, success will be ours. I’ll close with another quote from Jim Rohn, “Discipline weighs ounces. Regret weighs tons.”

BODY LANGUAGE

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It’s been said that our bodies communicate 90% of what we are saying, versus 10% for our words. We’ve all heard, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” We wield far more influence with our words when they are accompanied with positive body language. I’m not going to delve too deeply into this on this blog, as this is a study in and of itself. If you’d like to learn more about this subject, I would suggest that you study NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), the last word on the subject.

For this blog, I’ll highlight what I have found to be the salient points of body language that have greatly helped me in my sales and business career:

• Smile! Pretty simple: Just wear your best smile as often as you can. Make sure it’s genuine and warm.

• Listen intently by maintaining eye contact.

• Make sure your posture is straight and strong

•Subtly nod your head to communicate an affirmative message to your prospect—whether or not you agree with them (more on that in my blog, Empathetic Selling https://edgewaterblog.com/2014/05/07/empathetic-selling/). A little nod is letting them know you’re present and paying attention.

• Pace your prospect’s style of speaking. Speak slowly if they do. Speak quickly if they do. Speak loudly if they do. Speak softly if they do. People like people who are like them and one of the quickest ways to establish rapport is to have a similar speaking pattern. Be careful not to mock them; do this with stealth.

This is the tip of the iceberg. I strongly encourage you to do your research on NLP and body language, not just for a sales tool, but in the interest of effective communication in all your endeavors.

HOW TO GET MORE YESES

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Let’s examine the “Yes, yes, yes” method of closing the sale. At first blush, this tip may seem like a contradiction of my earlier blog, Assume The Sale, (https://edgewaterblog.com/2014/06/25/assume-the-sale/) when I suggested that you never ask a closed-ended question (one that could be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’). So is this a contradiction to our last training? No.

In sales and business, we have to try everything until we find what works for us and depending on our personalities and our ability to persuade, this “yes, yes, yes” tactic can work wonders. Legendary sales trainer Brian Tracy, says that when people answer “yes” to a series of questions, they are more likely to say, “yes” to your ultimate proposition. The trick is to make certain that the questions you ask will indeed illicit a “yes” response; nothing that requires a commitment by the prospect. Come up with some ‘safe’ questions. For instance, if it’s nice out, ask the consumer, “Isn’t this a beautiful day?” They answer, “yes.” If your home team just won a big game, ask, “Isn’t it great that xxxxx won??” Again, they answer, “yes.” Then when it comes to asking someone to make a purchase, they are on a ‘yes-roll’ and the likelihood of getting them to make a purchase goes up exponentially (factoring that you still ask “which,” not “if,” during your close-see Assume The Sale). I’m suggesting that you have very upbeat, positive and light-hearted conversations with your prospect to grease the skids.

It’s important not to overdo this as we only have a small window of time to properly educate the consumer and too much fluff will annoy them. Formulate our questions in advance so that we’re not getting “no’s” about anything. It’s a highly effective tactic that will go a long way to increasing cooperation and compliance in all areas of our lives, not just when we’re selling. 

THE MORE THE MERRIER

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Nike reminds us: “Just Do It.” Don’t overthink sales, or how you’re going to approach prospects. The worst thing that’ll happen if you don’t close the deal is that you will learn how to not close the deal and you’ll get it right the next time. A perfect example of this was back in the late 1980s, I was the Chicago sales manager for Metagram America, a long defunct, alphanumeric paging/answering service, which at the time was the cutting edge in communications technology. It was a 24/7 live answering service that would answer your calls with a customized greeting and then send the user, what would today be called a text message, on a device that looked like a beeper. Remember those? All of our sales reps were issued one of these pagers and were tasked to hit the pavement. Many of the reps would sit in the office and spend hours figuring out their strategy for the day before getting in their cars and going on sales calls. At best, they would see about three to four prospects before coming back to the office to complain that they hadn’t closed any sales.

My number one salesman had a different strategy. I hardly ever saw him. The only time he would ever come in the office would be to get more literature and business cards. The rest of his time was spent talking to people about Metagram America. He would talk to hundreds of people every week and he sold more than anyone in the country. He ‘just did it.’ He didn’t over think it. He would strike up casual conversations with people he met at the bus stop, train station, at the grocery store— whenever and wherever he was. He didn’t take the process too seriously and his commissions were seriously large. I’m not suggesting that every company has a product or service that lends itself to this type of approach. I’m aware that some things can’t be closed without a lengthy and involved consultative process. But in all industries, a salesperson can still vacillate too long before getting the ball rolling.

The bottom line with regard to the numbers game is to do the math. There is a very good chance that you will double your sales if you pitch twice as many people. You will triple your sales if you pitch three times as many people and so on. Ask yourself how big of a raise you’d like, set your goals, do the math and hit the pavement. 

GET TO THE POINT

 

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Polonius made reference that brevity is the soul of wit in Hamlet and it’s still true today. I maintain that we are either born with wit, or not. It’s not a teachable skill, but we can learn to be brief and a great book for learning the art of brevity is, How To Get Your Point Across In 30 Seconds Or Less by Milo Frank. I highly recommend it. It’s vital to understand and appreciate how busy prospects are these days. An example I like using to illustrate the importance of brevity today is with TV advertisements. In television’s infancy, commercials could be as long as two minutes. Viewers were so enamored of their TV sets in those days, that even watching commercials was entertaining. It didn’t matter that they were watching a pitch. What mattered was that they were watching anything at all. The 2 minute spot evolved into 30 to 60-second spots which were the norm for decades. Fast forward to the present day. I recently gave a talk to an entrepreneur class at Columbia College and asked the students for a show of hands: “Who has watched a network television commercial in the last 12 months?” Not one student raised their hand. The advertisements young people are noticing (or ignoring) these days are online and when the ads give the viewer the option of skipping the spot in five seconds, almost all the students exercise this option. Does that open your eyes? It did mine. We have to respect our prospect’s time, and we need to get to the point and get to it fast.

When we are communicating on any level-be it with advertising, or calling someone on the phone-we have to be as brief as humanly possible. A good rule of thumb is to communicate what what needs to be said and not what we want to say.

SALES IS NOT A DIRTY WORD

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In Brian Tracy’s, The Psychology Of Selling, he reminded those of us in sales to be proud of being sales people. Being a salesperson is to hold one of the most important and crucial positions in any organization. Without sales, there is no manufacturing, no HR, no R&D, no marketing, no distribution; there is nothing without sales. If there are no sales, there is no enterprise; it’s that important. If you are in sales, hold your head really high; you’re employing everyone around you.

Some people get a job in sales until they get a ‘real job.’ They do sales because there isn’t a position currently available in their field and when that position becomes available, often the sales job is wantonly dropped and they dive headfirst into the job they prepared for. That’s fine, but many of these people walked away from a career that may have proved to be far more lucrative and rewarding than the other course of action. I’m not suggesting the reader shouldn’t follow his or her dreams. By all means, do. But know that whatever your field of study or expertise is in, please realize that there is a sales component present. Even if you aren’t on commission, having basic sales skills will assist you in any endeavor. You may not have to get someone to sign on the dotted line to collect a check, but we all have to sell our ideas to others and convince them to see things our way. Sales skills are needed in all walks of life. 

Thanks for reading!

Empathetic Selling

 

3D Character and Umbrella

 

“Empathetic Selling” ©2014 Paul Edgewater All Rights Reserved

empathy |ˈempəθē|

noun

the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

 

sympathy |ˈsimpəθē|

noun ( pl. -thies)

1 feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune : they had great sympathy for the flood victims.

• ( one’s sympathies) formal expression of such feelings; condolences : all Tony’s friends joined in sending their sympathies to his widow Jean.

 

What we are doing here is empathizing with the consumer not sympathizing.

It has been said that if we can see the world from John Q. Public’s eyes, we can sell John Q. Public what John Q. Public buys.

Everyone likes to get an education, but no one likes to be schooled. When we are selling, we are educating our prospects. If and when they have concern or an objection to our proposal (erroneous or otherwise), it behooves us to educate them gently. Dale Carnegie taught us that “A person convinced against their will, is of the same opinion still.” Tom Hopkins teaches a great method to address this; it’s called the ‘Feel-Felt-Found” system.

If someone raises a concern, immediately agree with them and tell them, “I know how you feel.” Incidentally, you can say this with conviction because they indeed shared their concern with you, ergo you know how they feel. This works because it takes the ‘fight’ out of the prospect. The last thing they expect a salesperson to do is not throw a clever rebuttal back at them. It also shows them that you are listening to them and acknowledging their concern as valid. We then follow up with something akin to, “most folks I speak with have felt the same way.” This lets the prospect know that they are not the only ones with this concern. The last part of this equation is to preface your response with, “But what we have found is…” and here you can list all the reasons why your prospect need not be concerned. Take special note of the word “we” in:

“But what we have found is…”

If you say instead:

“But what I have found is…”

…your prospect will still feel as if they are being schooled. Present your facts as if your are both on the journey of discovery together and that you’re not preaching to them from on high.

If you skip the ‘Feel-Felt-Found’ method and go right into your rebuttal, it’s going to feel like a game of ping-pong to your prospect. They will think you have a ‘canned response’ for everything they say and you’ll lose them. The ‘Feel-Felt-Found method gives you an opportunity to really hear them and give them the best solution for their needs and wants, which is what selling really is all about.

 

Managing Expectations: One of the keys to success and happiness

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©2010 Paul Edgewater All Rights Reserved

Not managing expectations is at the root of most failings when dealing with people; both in business and in our personal lives. If we’ve ever been burned in business, it’s because our expectations weren’t met. If our hearts have ever been broken, it’s because our expectations weren’t met. Something was supposed to—or not supposed to—happen, or someone was supposed to do—or not do—something. In either case, the expected result was not what the outcome ended up being. The consequence is always the same; disappointment. It’s not usually the end result in and of itself either; it’s that the expected result didn’t come to fruition.

Think of our own experiences in business. Whenever we got more than we bargained for, the memory is a sweet one. Whenever the converse is true, the experience can sour a business relationship enough to end it. Unfortunately, this happens very easily and it’s not necessarily because of malice. It’s usually because the entity making promises unrealistically set the bar of expectations too high. The ability to manage expectations comes with experience.

What does it take to manage expectations? In a nutshell, it comes down to only taking on what you can effectively execute with the resources at hand. If a business is a new one, very often the proprietor is anxious about securing business and will sometimes agree to something before resources are secured to execute; be it in personnel, equipment or specialized knowledge. But this can also happen to the seasoned business professional who may be hurting for business and will agree to, or say anything to secure the business. These folks may think that everything will fall into place once the wheels start moving, but very often it doesn’t. Whether you’re new or experienced; don’t ever fall into this trap.

At my company, the rare times something hasn’t gone right in the eyes or our clients is because we as a company didn’t properly manage their expectations  (I’m very grateful those occasions have been few-and-far-between). The reasons for this can often be traced back to working with a third party who made promises we weren’t aware of and as a result, we had a hard time reigning in those expectations when proposals and big plans were being made without us being present, either by the first or third party. Sometimes expectations are set in brain storming sessions which is a mistake. That’s an environment where all ideas are on the table. That’s where concepts are born, not where the executional minutia is established. The problem manifests when those sessions are revisited without an objective review of how the viable expectations can be set and established. Of course everyone would like to meet all expectations and every company does their best to do this, but it’s a good idea to sometimes lower expectations. It’s been said that it’s best to under promise and over deliver.

My company produced a conference for NRC (now called Avid) back in 2004 and the keynote speaker, Paul Cardis, CEO of NRC cited an excellent example of managing expectations (for those who don’t know this company, they are basically the J. D. Power of home builders here in the States). This portion of his talk covered a somewhat common phenomenon in home building; as a new house settles, the foundation will sometimes crack. This is an important customer service and public relations issue for builders. If enough people file complaints to the Better Business Bureau about cracked foundations in new homes, it could potentially sink a home builder. How should a home builder address this? By managing expectations. Mr. Cardis told his audience that home builders shouldn’t hide the fact that foundations may crack. Instead, he urged builders to preemptively inform all home buyers that not only can their foundations crack—but that they WILL crack! Does that come as a shock to you? It did to me. Even though all foundations won’t crack (most don’t), is it a good idea to tell someone who just gave you perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more) for a new home, that the foundation is going to crack? Apparently yes. The reader is probably quicker than I, but just in case you need some clarification; if you don’t disclose everything to someone who’s just made perhaps the largest investment of their lives, and something like a foundation cracks, you’re going to have trouble. If however, you preemptively tell them that it is going to happen, you have properly managed expectations. Put yourself in the position of that home buyer. While you are being shown the property, the agent tells you something to the effect;

“This is a new home which was built on cleared land. The ground under the home was formally a corn field and never supported anything heavier than a tractor.  After all the tons of concrete, wood, bricks, roofing, windows, flooring, etc. are piled on top of the ground, it’s common & expected that the foundation will crack with settling. We of course take all measures to prevent this, but most of the time, it will. If and when it happens, we of course will come and fix it free of charge for the first 5 years of ownership after which time, the home will have settled properly so as to prevent this from being a chronic condition.”

Now you as the home buyer, have been prepared for your foundation to crack. If and when it does, you take it in stride because your expectations have been managed properly. If however, the builder chooses not to disclose this information to you and if and when your foundation breaks, you’re calling 60 minutes or John Stossel and the builder has a big problem and an even bigger PR issue. Let’s say the foundation never cracks (which is the most likely scenario), now this customer is telling everyone within earshot how great their house is and how amazing it is that the foundation didn’t crack. That represents new business for the builder while the former scenario represents lost-and never-to-be-had business. Use this example & think of the dollar value of managing expectations properly in your business. If you are in fact a home builder and the median home price is $165,000 (in 2011) a lost sale based on profits of 50% is $82,500 and a sale made represents this same figure written in the ledger with black ink; all by managing expectations. Whatever your business is, think of your average transaction, and do the math. Not just with that client, but with all the word-of-mouth that client will either generate or forever keep at bay.

You may be saying to yourself, “I already do that”, and maybe you do. That’s great. May I suggest that you go a step further and tell your clients to expect something negative when the odds flesh out that it hardly ever happens? I’m not suggesting that you stretch the truth here. If a potential scenario has never happened before and in all likelihood won’t, don’t present it as such. But if the potential scenario has been demonstrated to have happened in the past with some degree of consistency, then present is as something to be on the look out for. It’s always best to under promise and over deliver. Remember, that negative scenario may end up happening after all. This way, you’ve covered your bases.

In the promotions industry, we often work with two or more parties when planning events. It’s vital to our reputations that we stay on top of the expectations of the party paying the bills. It’s a balancing act to be sure; reassuring the client that the outcome they want is something your company can deliver (so they do in fact do business with you) and not overselling yourself (which ensures a one-time-only-transaction and countless lost revenue and bad blood). As promotions professionals, we must exercise due diligence with these third parties. If they are promising the world to the client and they then bring you in as the fall guy, who takes the fall? We do. It’s vital to be included in on all conceptual & planning meetings. I can’t tell you how many times we have been brought into a project that should never have left the brain storming session it was originally brought up in. A perfect example of this was with one of our best clients. I’m not going to disclose which client it was or where it happened because we fortunately sill do a great deal of business with them and they don’t need the embarrassment. In the interest of giving you, the reader very important information whilst protecting the reputation of one of my cherished client, I’m changing names, places and details, but not changing the gist of the lesson I learned the hard way.

A number of years ago, this client approached us with an ambitious project of decorating a large number of their prominent stores with holiday decorations. We had been working with this client in many areas of the country for years and already had a solid relationship. As a result, we were recommended to this particular region for the project which we were initially grateful for, but later lamented. We flew out to meet with them and the project (as it was presented to us) seemed to be only in need of a vendor to execute it (us). Little did we know that internally, the expectations of this company’s brass had already been raised to unrealistic levels by well-meaning marketing folks who, to say the least, hadn’t taken legal ramifications or their own operational logistics and risk management into consideration.

The plan was to cover their stores top to bottom and in and out with holiday lights. The effect was to be over-the-top; the same way a certain someone in your neighborhood goes the extra mile when doing their holiday decorations on their home. It was to be grand. It was to be news worthy. It was to be spectacular & we wanted nothing more than to deliver the goods. The challenge was though, was our client hadn’t cleared any of this internally before bringing us in. No legal counsel, no operations, no risk management, no facilities—nothing and no one. In hindsight, we weren’t really given the job of executing this event as it was planned; we were given the job of reigning the entire scope of the project in. Right away, we discovered that no one had bothered to check to see if the stores had enough electrical service to support all the lights requested (they didn’t. Not one store had the reserve power). Even if the stores could have all the lights on them without blowing every circuit in their breaker boxes, the lawyers wouldn’t allow any lights to be installed on the stores that could be reached by customers or their kids (either deliberately or accidentally). The end result was that we lined the cornices and roof lines of the stores with strings of lights; something that the property managers at most of these properties did anyway at no extra charge to the tenants as a part of their lease.

Guess who ended up looking bad? Who ended up looking like they couldn’t do what they were brought in to do? Who ended up representing the complete failure of a project that should never have the left board room? The lawyers? Nope. Risk management? No, guess again. Facilities? Try again. The good-intentioned marketing people? You get one more guess. That’s right; our company. We were tarred and feathered, black listed and had the door of future business in this region slammed in our face. And why did that happen? Because we didn’t manage expectations properly. In essence, we didn’t tell them that their foundations were going to crack and they did—big time. What makes this all the worse is that we did everything we possibly could have done to make this promotion a success—except manage the expectations. I can’t put a dollar figure on this blunder, but based on the volume of business we get from other regions that this client serves, its many hundreds of thousands of dollars. More often than not in our industry, we only get one opportunity at bat.

This was a hard lesson and was the impetus behind a check list that we now use whenever strategies are established, or we are brought into a project that has already been planned without our input. It is the best way to ensure that no one is disappointed and more importantly, that your client is happy and will reach out to you for future projects. Of course you should customize this list to reflect your services or product offering, but it’s a great start. Whatever you do, just be sure you manage all expectations—your clients and your own.

Expectation checklist:

  1. What are the current expectations?
  2. Who established them?
  3. How many parties were/are involved in the planning?
  4. Who are they?
  5. Who set the budget?
  6. Are current expectations possible to execute within given parameters?
  7. Has legal counsel been retained for this project?
  8. How much creative time has already been invested?
  9. What logistical work has already been done?
  10. Establish roles & responsibilities.
  11. Lower expectations & under promise.
  12. Over deliver.

Transference of Enthusiasm with Experiential Marketing

©2013 Paul Edgewater All Rights Reserved

You started a company offering a product or service that you believe in strongly; something you knew had alluring features and useful benefits that outweighed its retail cost. The concept of your product or service was so exciting to you that it kept you up nights. You wanted to share it with the world and you couldn’t contain your enthusiasm. You knew that if you could transfer your enthusiasm for your product or service to the marketplace, almost everyone would feel as you do about your offering and gladly purchase it from you.

As Peter Drucker said, “There are only two basic functions in business; Innovation and Marketing”. At this point, you have the innovation part down. Now the marketing part kicks in. How do you do this? What are the best ways to inform and educate potential customers? Will your website, Facebook or Twitter page convey this enthusiasm? Will traditional channels do the trick, i.e. print, radio and TV media? Maybe you can advertise on YouTube? How about signage, such as billboards or other placards? Finally, let’s not forget experiential marketing; high quality, face-to-face interactions with brand ambassadors (at Busy Bee Promotions, we call our BAs ‘BEEs’ or BEE-As). The best approach is to implement as many marketing techniques as your budget allows (that are applicable to your offering) and then measure the results of each. All of the above can communicate enthusiasm, but in this article, we’ll examine experiential marketing, as it’s the most effective way to transfer enthusiasm for your offering to the marketplace.

There is no substitute for face-to-face, human interactions. One enthusiastic person communicating with another person will always have far more impact on the marketplace than any static advertisement, or web presence will ever have. It’s akin to the difference between seeing a band live and seeing a billboard for the band; there is no comparison. When marketing with BAs the trade-off is that the cost-per-interaction is higher than other methods, but the conversion to sales or other opt-ins is so much greater that the curve is in favor of the brand ambassador. Suffice it to say, the key to having a successful transference of enthusiasm with a street team of BAs is to have the right team; a dynamic, vibrant and energetic team that shares the enthusiasm you have for your offering and can effectively communicate that to your marketplace. With every interaction they have, your market penetration will grow exponentially.

For more on the value of word-of-mouth marketing, read the “Face-To-Face Book” by Keller and Fay. I highly recommend it.

The image below is courtesy of: http://www.3sdcmetro.com/2013/02/15/how-to-keep-your-enthusiasm/

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