I caught an interesting post on the IowaBiz Blog by Drew McLellan this morning entitled “Your Customers Prized Possession? Their Time.” Basically, brevity appears to have become a lost art in marketing information. Drew relates a recent interaction with a company:
I had asked the rep to send me some information. I received a very nice folder/brochure, a DVD and a cover letter. The cover letter says:
“Blah, blah, blah…. In addition, there is a DVD enclosed that will tell you all about the products in about the first 20 minutes.”
What? The FIRST 20 minutes? Are you kidding me? What in the world makes them think I am going to watch their promotional material for almost a half hour? It is never going to happen. And now, because I didn’t get the information I needed, I’ve become a much less interested buyer.
I can’t help but think about the times I’ve gotten full folders, filled with glossy brochures, and everything from a 4 page datasheet to a 10 page (or more) technical specification sent to me because I asked for a little more information. Hint: I might want to buy your product, not build it myself!
The key for us here is that we want to take the moderately interested and convert them to the fully interested (I’m thinking technical products here, but this applies to other markets as well). We have a very limited entre to our customer and we need to make the most of it. Basically, we need to think our initial sales info as an elevator pitch in a different format.
An idea that one of my favorite salesguys, Pete Lewis, came up with a while back is a good one. He suggested using a business card CD and putting a self-running flash presentation on the product and our value proposition on it. He wanted the animation to run no more than 5 minutes. This disc would then be handed to prospects with the off the cuff remark “Give us 5 minutes to show you your next befudicator system.” The actual call to action in the short overview wasn’t to be “buy our system” but rather “let us show you our system.”
Here’s a list you can implement to start making your marketing more effective by getting to the point:
- Know your value proposition – get to the point quickly in all marketing contact.
- Know your sales cycle – not all customer contact should be directed towards getting a sale right now, sometimes your just interested in getting interest, and the sale may come later.
- Set expectations – we’re busy, and we like it when you give us the facts up front. That allows us to make our decision about whether we have time for your cd, datasheet, whatever. It also starts us down the path of trusting you, and setting the expectation that your company is professional and can be trusted. We also make that all important first “yes” in a chain that will hopefully lead to a signature on a contract or purchase order later.
- Think differently – If I see another glossy with the happy multi-racial 30 year olds in business casual doing a team hug, I will probably barf. Before you go forward on a campaign, think about the perception: is this going to look like the same old stuff everyone in our industry is doing?
- Deliver differently – Instead of sending that glossy, consider sending an animated flash cd, but don’t stop there. Think about how you can stand out in the pile of stuff that’s arrived on my desk. Don’t think outside the box, think *about* the box!