That Old Time (Marketing) Religion

I had a column rejected last weekend.

I took Jay Abraham as my text, and had my copy handed back with the remark it was “Marketing 101, maybe the first six weeks.”

That may be true, but the fact remains that on the Internet few people are really using the strategies Abraham recommends. Does, for instance, really have a Unique Selling Proposition?

That is, is there one thing they can say that makes them the only choice for a buyer of computer hardware and software? I can’t see one in their TV ads, and I can’t see one on their home page.

That’s where your USP needs to be, at the top of your customer’s mind. It also has to be at the top of every employee’s mind. It’s a promise of service, selection, or value that you’re committed to meeting, and that you will meet. A USP is at the heart of every great company and it’s not just a slogan or a promise.

How about having an eye for breakthroughs? What’s conventional in one industry may be a breakthrough in yours. Federal Express, for instance, saw how the Federal Reserve routed checks overnight through a single central facility and routed packages the same way.

Or how about the “strategy of pre-eminence.” Think of clients, not customers, and never let them buy more, or less, than they need. Yes, that’s the promise or claim of every insurance agent. Can’t you adapt that to what you sell? Wouldn’t that be a breakthrough?

How do you take the risk out of a first sale? It’s not just by giving something away, you know. It could involve a guarantee. Abraham tells of two men offering horses to a prospect’s little girl. One charged $500 take it or leave it. The second gave his horse away for a week, and came by daily to care for it he got $750.

Do you know the lifetime value of your customer so you can give them the best possible deal on that first purchase? Do you know how to bundle related products together to increase the volume or frequency of a sale? Do you continually test your ads and offers to make sure they’re drawing customers?

Yes, this stuff sounds simple and obvious. Yes, this sounds like Marketing 101. But I guarantee most of you reading this column don’t do these things. I know this is true because I shop on the web a lot, and I almost never see these things.

Do you know how to approach sites in other industries and get them to sell for you? Do you know the proper way to create a referral system not an associate’s program, not affiliate marketing, but a system where your customers will recruit more customers for you?

These are just some of the disciplines our best marketers have been using for decades, the simple things we often forget because we’re so busy working in our businesses we forget to work on them. I thought these points were worthy of a column, but this other editor disagreed.

So I fired him.

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