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August 2008 | Volume 27 / Number 3
Publishers Outlook


By Nadji Tehrani

In the June issue, we began a discussion of 32 principles of modern marketing with the first five principles. This month we present numbers six through 11 on the list, and we will continue to revisit this series for the next several issues of Customer Interaction Solutions®.

6. Why cover marketing when the focus is on customer service and customer interaction?

As indicated in my July editorial, this publication began its life in 1982 as Telemarketing® magazine, the magazine of electronic marketing and communications. At that time, the focus was heavily in outbound calling for prospecting sales, sales support, etc. Later, with the advent of 800 toll-free numbers, we gradually grew up as an industry and discovered that the inbound 800 calls could be a major part of customer care, customer service and customer retention. If one understands that both marketing and customer service are intertwined, then it becomes abundantly clear why we need to also focus on marketing.

In my many years of experience in the telemarketing industry and in my position as Executive Advisory Member to the marketing department of a major University, I have come to realize that there is a tremendous need for evolution in the new marketing era, which I call "Digital Marketing™." I find that not only the industry, but also academia have a long way to go when it comes to the teaching, practice and application of "Digital Marketing™." Let us remember that all sales begin with a sales lead. The job of the sales department is to convert those sales leads into customers. Generating sales leads is the responsibility of the marketing department. If we understand this concept, then we should understand that marketing and customer service, customer care and customer interaction are all intertwined with one another.

7. There is no shortcut in marketing!

A recurring problem that I frequently notice, particularly with high technology companies, is that they tend to spend practically every dollar that they have in developing great new technology. However, when it comes to marketing, one often hears that "We spent 25 million dollars to develop this product and we basically have no money left for marketing."

Nothing could be more ill-advised. The very principle of marketing says that "if you don't market, you don't exist." Consequently, the people that spent 25 million dollars developing a technology have been wasting their money unless they realize that if they don't market it, the technology would basically become obsolete.

Having said that, it seems like many companies are pretty much oblivious to this and they think that they can get away with PR only. Once again, that is a huge mistake. These days, there is no way to get a lot of PR in printed magazines because most print magazines have downsized and editorial pages have become a precious commodity. Consequently, in my opinion, PR alone will never cut it.

8. Forget ego marketing, focus on benefit marketing.

One of the leading problems that happens in practically all industries is that the entrepreneurs think they know how to do everything better than everybody else! They try to act as a defacto marketing director. They place their photograph in their ad (whether they look nice or not) and they prepare an ‘artsy-fartsy' ad around the CEO's photograph where the ad basically says nothing and doesn't give anyone a reason to contact that company for any information about the product they are trying to sell. In my lifetime, I have run into many CEOs like that. One of these CEOs, who fortunately had an incredibly open mind, was receptive to my advice. He asked me what he needed to do to overcome this problem, and my answer was, "if I give you a blueprint, are you going to do it?" He said, "If it makes sense, yes." Then I wrote 12 guidelines for him to follow. He liked the guidelines and he followed every one of them. To make a very long story short, his company eventually went public and the CEO who was the founder has now become a billionaire!! Every time he sees me, he says, "Nadji, I never forget that you helped me build my company."

9. Right message to the "Right People" is the key to success.

As a good example of the old adage "penny wise and pound foolish," certain high-tech entrepreneurs who think marketing is a "necessary evil" give only lip-service to marketing. They might approve an ad that is aimed for example at network manufacturers, but in order to save money, they place that ad in other magazines or other media that have nothing to do with network manufacturers. Therefore, the ad — no matter how effectively it was designed — is not talking to the "right people," As a result, the advertisement campaign will fail and, as usual, the advertiser blames the media and not his own poorly conceived actions.

10. Don't try to build a better mousetrap… build what the market needs.

Believe it or not, this is also another very common mistake made by high-tech people. They often build a better mousetrap only to find out the mouse died 15 years ago. The point is that the product should exist because the marketplace demands it and not the other way around! These short-sighted marketers do things backwards by preparing a product that the market doesn't care about and they waste a ton of marketing dollars to promote it. After all the money is wasted they realize that they are doing everything backwards.

11. Focus on quality and build what customers need, not what you think they need!

When it comes to quality, I am reminded of Henry Ford's great comment, "A good design sells the cars, but good quality brings the customers back." I wonder how many manufacturers have actually heard of this. One of the reasons that the Japanese and the Koreans and the European car manufacturers gained a tremendous market share from U.S. manufacturers, is the U.S. automakers neglected quality. As a result, some of the U.S. car manufacturers are approaching bankruptcy. Every foreign car owner that you ask the question, "Why did you buy a Japanese, Korean or European car? The answer is "better quality." What I don't understand is how long will it take Detroit to find out, through simple market research, why they keep losing market share before every bit of market share is gone? Today, I noticed that the stock of General Motors is as low as $11 a share. This is the lowest price it has been since the 1940's. I should add that I drive a GM made car and I am extremely happy with its quality. But is this the case of too little, too late?

We will continue to address the 32 principles in the next issue.

Please Join Us at Call Center 2.0

Call Center 2.0, the world's leading technology convention for contact centers will take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center, September 16-18, 2008. Call Center 2.0 is sponsored by Customer Interaction Solutions magazine and I would like to invite all of you to join me to learn about cutting-edge technologies that will be presented on the exhibit floor followed by supporting conferences at the convention.

As always, I welcome your comments. Please email them to me at [email protected].

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