TMCnet - World's Largest Communications and Technology Community




Martin Wales photo

[March 13, 2003]

Customer Catcher™

By Martin Wales

Sex Is Not Love: Just Like Your Advertising Is NOT Marketing

Sex is not love. Having one doesn’t mean you get the other and vice versa. Sex is an act and love may or may not be involved -- so I’ve heard. Love results from building a relationship based on emotion, mutual admiration and continual communication.

Now you’re thinking, The Customer Catcher has lost it. Is this Cosmopolitan or a Tech Marketing Corp. publication? Don’t worry. There’s no Cosmo quiz on your prowess in the bedroom (or a '56 Chevy) and yes, this is about marketing your technology better.

So, instead of your love life, let’s talk about advertising’s role in your marketing mix. How do you regard advertising? Do you hold unrealistic expectations that your ads are going to carry you through a complete sales cycle? Advertising does not. It is only the beginning of much more communication and work with your prospects, yet many fall short on this crucial back-end activity.

Selling technology means building relationships -- especially today. Software and technical solutions are crossing many departmental boundaries and customers want to hold on to legacy systems as long as possible. More people are involved and increased competition elevates the importance of “competing for the belle of the ball” -- the prospect.

The marketing process only begins with advertising, usually as an interruption, from print ads to Web ads. I propose that advertising gets you attention long enough to suggest a relationship and everything else you do to win and keep a customer relationship completes your marketing mix.

Many prospects and clients of mine have suggested that advertising equals marketing. They don’t recognize it merely as a subset. They believe they’re marketing enough if they’ve placed some advertising or even sent out an “ad” in a direct mail piece, e.g. using their last ad’s creative design on a postcard. This is partially true but an incomplete thought. In fact, some of my prospects have stated, and I quote, “I don’t need marketing but I do need advertising.” Advertising does NOT equal marketing.

In creating a comprehensive strategic marketing plan, advertising plays the role of an invitation to do business with you and outward expression of your corporate philosophy. The two extremes are direct response advertising to generate leads or messaging to establish your brand. However, rather than a ‘branding’ discussion, let’s look at the big picture for the role of advertising within your marketing.

Advertising is short term. An ad campaign has a theme with a relatively short life and then you move on to the next one. Sometimes this happens just because the president is bored with the current campaign -- even though it’s working! Your objectives for advertising should include the following:

1.      Get attention – use design and great headlines to stop someone in their tracks long enough to hold their attention. You might even be slightly daring.

2.      Immediately communicate a brief message – say something significant and meaningful to your target. Pain relief is strongest, followed by benefits. Don’t try to do everything at once by dumping all your information in one go (unless you’re in the direct mail or catalog business).

3.      Create desirecompel the audience to want more. Entice them to seek additional information by stating benefits. A huge promise is great and by not telling all (see #2) it naturally creates a curiosity factor.

4.      Encourage contact – if your ad copy arouses enough desire and/or clearly demonstrates your solution that’s great. You can pump it up with a special promotion or offer to get your audience to take action. Get their names and numbers!

5.      Low risk & cost – you keep your prospecting costs down by using mass communication to attract the best prospects. If your ‘date’ doesn’t work out, maybe it only cost you dinner.

Now doesn’t this list sound a little like flirting? You should think of it this way for your selling process. If a prospect responds to your advertising it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that they become a customer. It means you’ve got their attention and they’re giving you permission and some time to prove yourself worthy of their love (read: Money).

Now marketing continues after the enticing ads. A quick and dirty summary might be that the pretty pictures and graphics attract and then I can supply details with the basic, text-based e-mails and attachments.

My definition of marketing is “gradual and continual communication to your target market to continually educate and influence them to feel a certain way about you and your company (branding) and inspire them to take action (selling).

Marketing includes more activity and investment. It includes:

a)      Higher costs – once you’ve really qualified a prospect and are more confident, your investment should increase in presenting the best that you can. Professionally designed and quality marketing materials, competent product demonstrations and consultative selling techniques all contribute to increasing your closing ratio. The dating escalates to those expensive restaurants now.

b)      Add value – never stop seeking advantages or innovations to help your clients improve their business process or finances. Show them you’re committed to them.

c)      Strengthen existing relationship – everything you do, and I mean EVERYTHING, should be representative of your loyalty to your own mission and your customer.

d)      Two-way communication – learning the good, the bad and the ugly about each other. Your client might pay you late once in a while and you might screw up on an implementation. “So the lid’s off the toothpaste but you don’t get divorced.”

e)      Divorce is Expensive – prove yourself continually -- especially in today’s business climate. Clients are looking for maximum value for each and every dollar they invest. They are re-evaluating all technology assets and projects. It costs so much more to get new customers, you have to love and appreciate the ones you’ve got.

Does marketing resemble a significant long-term relationship, like marriage?

To engage your prospects in a meaningful sales conversation you have to attract their attention with advertising. To get multiple sales and have your clients ‘engage’ your services again and again, you need those deep, serious discussions evoked by a complete and professional sales/marketing process.

Remember, advertising is only a subset of marketing. Advertising is the preliminary tactic for getting attention. It’s used to create awareness and desire for your product or service while simultaneously building your brand. It’s your prospect’s invitation to dance and a chance to get to know each other. Don’t solely rely on it to sell for you.

Marketing does that and the rest, e.g. upselling, cross-selling and repeat purchases. It is the strategic execution of continuous communication to educate, influence, sell and keep your clients for a long time. Your customers love your company and services. Your reward is a long-term, profitable relationship.

Not our relationship. Just this article. So…go get some love -- I mean customers.

At www.CustomerCatcher.com, Martin Wales is a business development and lead generation specialist. For a FREE preview of his new audio program, How to Get The Mindset of A Customer Catcher for Maximum Leverage & Profit, send an e-mail to [email protected].

Like what you've read? Go to past Customer Catcher columns.
Click here for an e-mail reminder every time this column is published.

Technology Marketing Corporation

2 Trap Falls Road Suite 106, Shelton, CT 06484 USA
Ph: +1-203-852-6800, 800-243-6002

General comments: [email protected].
Comments about this site: [email protected].


© 2021 Technology Marketing Corporation. All rights reserved | Privacy Policy