Here's an example of a local business that is helping their customers make the homes look better this spring. The marketing goal is simple. Help people come to some conclusions about what would improve the curb appeal of their home. Most of us become blind to our own faults...and this includes the appearance of our own abodes.
One of my clients, a Portland Roofing Company is simply giving away their curb appeal checklist. You might even want to grab it. They are not even requiring you to "opt-in" to their email list to get it. They'd rather just have you improve the appearance of your home.
Seems like we've been waiting a long time for spring to arrive where I live. Maybe a little work on the house would push it along.
What are you giving to your customers this spring?
This video reminded me of a blog post I wrote almost 4 years ago on adding fancy-pants features to web sites just to show off. Hehehe.
It doesn't really matter what Budweiser says in their ads. They have a Path Dominant business model that allows their ad copy to coast along entertaining us with frogs or whatever. As long as it does no harm, they'll continue to dominate their category because they have purchased shelf space at eye-level in every supermarket and made sure that their products are available on tap at your favorite restaurant.
Likewise, WalMart wasn't built on the power of their advertising. They became a juggernaut through superior inventory management. End of story.
In the healthcare category, the business is called a "practice" because it usually offers custom, customer-intimate solutions to problems. They like to think that it is their surgeons, specialists and training that make all the difference. Most of the time, and stacked up against most of their competitors, they are correct.
But, there are two situations that will change the game, and if they aren't prepared to respond with the right message, they'll quickly find themselves marginalized and irrelevant.
Let's take a look at the field of LASIK. Laser vision correction has been around for awhile now. In the early days, it was a pretty scary idea.
There are chains of LASIK shops which are bombarding us with spam and other ads offering vision correction for $299 per eye. These are the discount merchants of vision correction and most consumers won't bother to investigate much further than price. They'll be drawn in by the marketing only to find out that the price includes technology that the best ophthalmologists have relegated to museums. That's right, if you want to get bargain-basement LASIK, your corneal flap will be cut with a steel blade instead of state-of-the-art computer-guided lasers. Guess what? Most patients opt for a higher-priced procedure using more modern equipment…but still not always state-of-the-art.
Most of the independant doctors are afraid to call the chain shops out on this bait-and-switch routine. They wring their hands and moan just like their old retail friends who were shut down years ago when WalMart moved to town. That's the first situation.
Many of them have an ace in their sleeve that they also fail to play. If they've invested in the latest and greatest technology, they really can offer a better outcome for their patients. But, they think that patients just won't be able to understand why their prices are so much higher than the chains. And, that's just as bad as not responding to the bait message.
The simple truth is that the procedure is more expensive BECAUSE of the newer technology and the business model of the manufacturer. Using the old methods, the only incremental cost to the chain store is buying new blades and paying the surgeons. The state-of-the-art LASIK systems incur a royalty fee to the manufacturer each and every time the laser is used on a patient. This adds MORE than the cost of the cheap LASIK to the procedure BEFORE the doctor's office has made a dime.
So, they'll tell you that it's safer. They'll tell you that their doctors are smarter. They might be brave enough to tell you that the chain stores are some kind of assembly line. But, I haven't found one yet that will tell you why it costs more. In fact, most of them avoid any mention of price on their sites.
Nobody does a very good of explaining what's in it for the clinic…by way of outlining what's in it for the developer of the laser equipment.
I've talked to insiders. I understand the procedures and the equipment. I'd never opt for anything but the newest technology, because it makes a difference.
So, these clinics have a Proprietary Product and yet they fail to take advantage of it. It's like a BMW dealer refusing to mention the manufacturer of the luxury cars for sale at his business. It would be sheer folly for him to expect me to pay a premium price just because he's a highly trained car dealer.
I'm not suggesting that you give up talking about the skills of your surgeons, but if you have a Proprietary Product, you should turn it into the big deal that it really is.
Anyone who studies Myers-Briggs, would label Don Draper as an NT, the iNtuitive Thinker. He is a quick decision maker, following his intuition.
When he needs information, clarification, explanation, he falls back on his favorite question: What?
This is the question that cuts to the chase. He's not asking why. He doesn't care how. Who is immaterial.
Just the facts, ma'am.
Can you name any other characters that want to get right to the point?
Guest post by Chester Hull
The human mind is hyper-tuned to detect irregularities in our environment. There are entire websites dedicated to pointing out the irregularities in films and TV shows! This is exactly the reason companies develop "Brand Books", or brand guideline manuals. Every customer interaction with that particular brand is specified to deliver the same experience (or at least one that is congruent with other touch-points).
The same thing applies to how customers interact with your business. Is the Caller Experience they receive congruent with the In-Store Experience? You need to design your Caller Experience so that a customer calling in to check a price, ask a question, or even find out what your hours are for the day, has a similar experience to walking in your front door.
So how do you do that? Here are 3 ways to make that Caller Experience coordinate with your retail environment:
1. Match the banners.
Have your Auto-Attendant message read the same posters, slogans,and sale signs that are hanging throughout your store. Rack Room Shoes is famous for there BOGO sales. But when callers are on the phone, do they know when a BOGO Sale is happening? Let them know the moment the phone is answered. You can also accomplish a similar thing by having these messages play to customers while On-Hold.
2. Match the theme, style, and atmosphere.
We worked with a client who played this for callers On-Hold:
...while when you walked in to one of their retail locations, you were greeted with this from the strategically placed speakers:
(Verve Remixed, Quantic Soul Orchestra and other "Euro-pop" sounds)
When someone walks into your business, are they greeted by your staff in fashion-forward suits? Is the lighting progressive and modern? Is the overhead music unique, cultured, and hip? Make sure your On-Hold message uses those same elements to reinforce the in-store experience, even to a caller on the phone!
3. Match the upcoming events.
More and more stores are becoming Experience Destinations, with much more than shopping. Special events, members-only activities, after-hours community functions, and even film screenings are becoming more and more normal at brand retailers. Your walk-in clientle may see annoucements and information about these events.
But what about the customers that call in over the phone? You have a prime opportunity to reach them with information they would otherwise not know. Inform your callers through your Auto-Attendant or On-Hold message, and you will be automatically reaching the people that are already interested in your business! The ways your customer interacts with your company or brand are very important touch-points. Make them incongruent, and you will upset your customer's sense of connectedness to your company. Keep them consistent across the phone, website, and in-store experience, and you will draw your customer closer to your business.
Chester Hull owns ProsoundUSA, a company dedicated to improving the experience of being on hold by providing great on hold messages. He's a client of mine.
I'm gonna tell the long story. If you want the short story, skip to the last paragraph. Dinner last night was at Elway's, a bajillion-star restaurant inside the equally starred-up Ritz-Carlton in downtown Denver.
After serving us some amazing steaks, the waiter asked if we wanted desserts. We all declined. He then said, "Look, we're kind of famous for our Ding Dongs. I'm gonna bring you one for the table to sample. You shouldn't miss this."
I've talked about Word of Mouth advertising quite a bit and one of the best triggers is unexpected generosity. The Ding Dong rocked. Awesome. It's the reason I'm writing this story. Yes, I'm giving Elway's some WOM love because Max the Waiter gave me a quarter of a Ding Dong. At $9 on the menu, the dessert is likely made up of less than a dollar's worth of butter, flour, sugar, cocoa and yum. So, for the cost of a few pennies, Elway's got a blog post, a Facebook conversation, a tweet...and it's just the day after. Be remarkable. Be generous.
Now, for the SEO lesson.
After I posted this pic on Facebook, my Australian Wizard of Ads Partner, Craig Arthur, asked, "Is that a chocolate spider?" I thought I'd help him out by posting a link to the official Hostess site. Right now (I hope they change this) the Ding Dong page at Hostess has a video of Ashton Kutcher doing a "Ding Dong Doorbell" stunt and absolutely NO a brief description of one of their best-selling snacks of all time. I'm sure that some genius figured out that they weren't ranking as well as the Ding Dong article on Wikipedia and said they should leverage Ashton's use of a similar phrase to garner some SEO traffic. ARGH. If I wanted Ashton Kutcher, I'd type that into Google. The official Hostess page was in second place, but offered little relevancy. A photo of the box, but no real description of the product. I'm not even going to link to their site because I don't want to reward this kind of stupidity. I have no doubt that this blog post will soon be on the first page for a Ding Dong search and at least I offer a story and a rant about a better Ding Dong than Hostess makes. Go do the search. Let me know when they come to their senses. I'll edit in a link for them. ;-)
Avery (the label folks) are taking a run at one of 3M's core products...the ubiquitous Post-It note.
I like this campaign because the ads do a good job of differentiating the Avery products from the competitors, they demonstrate their use and advantages and the humor in the ads is directed in the right direction. That is, it reinforces the message rather than just being funny for the sake of funny. It's funny when the wife wipes out the guy's fantasy football board with the leaf blower and the Avery note is still firmly attached.
Sidenote: I'm growing weary of the male=doofus theme of our present society, but I'd better get used to it. Not sure what I'm talking about, start with this post from Michele Miller's Marketing to Women blog, Wonderbranding.
I think these ads, obviously targeted at women, will be enough to get people to grab an Avery product when they are displayed alongside the 3M product in a store.
Here's one of the Avery ads...the other two will be after the jump...
I've been working on a soft launch for a project that has been in the works for almost 2 years. The idea is to teach business owners some of the very same techniques that we use when helping our clients with their marketing strategy. I got some very talented colleagues to help out and now I'd like to invite you to have a look. We're giving some free samples and we have it priced extremely low because we're just testing things out right now. You're welcome to sign up for the free stuff and jump in with both feet if you like. It's called On Your Market.