When you market are you doing it in a format that shows off your strengths and uniquely represents your services?
I always laugh when I receive spam from mailing list vendors offering me various email lists at discounted prices. When you think about it, these people are in the business of selling email lists, and if you're going to buy an email list, you would hope that it is an opt-in, clean list. But I have never opted in to these companies' lists, and my attempts at unsubscribing have thus far failed. They're trying to sell emails lists to someone who is on their email list and can't get off it. This isn't the best indicator that their lists are worth anything. I certainly wouldn't risk the reputation of a client's brand by sending to these lists.
This made me think about how vendors have marketed to me and what worked (and what didn't). When you market you should do it in a format that shows off your strengths and uniquely represents your services. For example, way back when I was director of personalization at BarnesandNoble.com, I was interviewing personalization vendors to help me create the "people who bought this book will also like this book" functionality.
At least 10 vendors came into my office and showed me their PowerPoint and told me who their other clients where. The technologies were all pretty similar, and the PowerPoints were interchangeable.
One vendor, however, didn't do any of that. The tech guy got on my browser and changed the proxy server to route through his company's server. Then he told me to go to our website and look at any book's product page. When we looked, our site had been modified (by their proxy server) to include the "people who bought" data, which was feeding live from their site.
Instead of a boring PowerPoint, they showed me what they can do in several ways. They showed me their technical prowess, the core offerings of their company, and gave me a glimpse into how accurate their system was by showing me live examples.
Of course, this is the vendor I hired. To be clear, I didn't just hire them because the "razzle dazzle" factor was in their presentation. I hired them because behind the razzle dazzle of what they had done were accurate recommendations and a keen understanding of our business and our brand. The flash in their presentation differentiated them and showed us that they understood results were important to us, not marketing fluff and a salesman with no technical know-how giving empty presentations.
On the other spectrum, a company I really liked flew all the way from LA to our NYC offices and thoroughly impressed me with a community technology I was hoping to implement. When I asked about payment schedules, they said they would take money off of ad revenue on our site. The only problem was we didn't have ads on our site. Clearly, that company was used to talking to people like Yahoo and Google and hadn't thought about their business model for singular brands. The meeting literally came to a halt when they couldn't tell me how we could pay them. This is an example of a company that simply didn't take the time to think about us, our needs, and how they would fit into our world. The personalization company, however, showed us that our needs (and how they fulfill them) were paramount in how they do business.
The spam emails I keep getting trying to sell me email lists come from companies that fail on both levels: they aren't showing off their services very well because I can't seem to unsubscribe from their lists (and certainly never signed up for them), and they clearly don't understand my needs because the lists they keep trying to sell me have nothing to do with my business.
How are you marketing? If you're an iPhone app maker, for example, your presentation should be an iPhone app that shows your skills off. Don't just create a PowerPoint presentation and think that you will differentiate yourself with marketing speak. Show us some sizzle and back it up with relevant services that take into account a keen understanding of our businesses.
Until next time,
This column was originally published on Aug. 31, 2012.
Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Oct 3 to take advantage of Early Bird Rates!
Jack Aaronson, CEO of The Aaronson Group and corporate lecturer, is a sought-after expert on enhanced user experiences, customer conversion, retention, and loyalty. If only a small percentage of people who arrive at your home page transact with your company (and even fewer return to transact again), Jack and his company can help. He also publishes a newsletter about multichannel marketing, personalization, user experience, and other related issues. He has keynoted most major marketing conferences around the world and regularly speaks at Shop.org and other major industry shows. You can learn more about Jack through his LinkedIn profile.
IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.
An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising
If you're considering implementing a marketing attribution model to measure and optimize your programs, this paper is a great introduction. It also includes real-life tips from marketers who have successfully implemented attribution in their organizations.
September 23, 2014
September 30, 2014
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT
October 23, 2014
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT