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
Get attention – use design and great headlines to stop someone
in their tracks long enough to hold their attention. You might even be
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
Create desire – compel 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
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!
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
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
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
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.
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.
Strengthen existing relationship – everything you do, and I
mean EVERYTHING, should be representative of your loyalty to your own
mission and your customer.
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.”
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
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
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 Mindset@CustomerCatcher.com.