Editor’s note: William Dunk of William Dunk Partners is an international business consultant based in Chapel Hill.In the cold of winter, we all realize that we all must do something to boost sales. Maybe we have just taken a look at our favorite charity, and realized that fundraising is not going too well.
Or, when we cast a gimlet eye on our investments and see that Wal-Mart’s stock has gone nowhere over the last 5 years, a lightbulb goes off in our heads and we realize that Big Box is no longer racking up double-digit revenue gains, the basis of superior performance. Alas, growth does not come easy any more, unless you are a low, low price Chinese manufacturer paying your employees fifty cents an hour.
Nonetheless, as we say to all our clients, we still think you can reach the next plateau. The cavalry is on the way, and sustained revenue performance is within your grasp. Or better yet, as Emeril, the New Orleans cook who emigrated from Massachusetts into the bayous, says, you can ” kick it up a few notches.” What slower times have taught us is that you can still treble your size, but you have to throw out your old notions of how to make a sale. It takes a vastly different message— a real zinger—and a totally different engine (marketing method).
What Really Works?
The old chestnut about advertising is, “Only 1% of it works, and the rest is all waste. The trouble is we don’t know which 1% will really do the trick.” In the last few years, direct marketing experts and Internet whizzes have promised they can hone in on the blessed few who will buy from us tomorrow — or at least someday. They’re into targetingsomething we espoused in the late 1980’s and then put aside. It was much ado about nothing. It is all balderdash. Their campaigns regularly pass by big prospects and too often focus on penny-ante, low-profit customers. Good marketing is a little more complicated than shooting fish in a barrel.
The best kind of marketing does not search out and destroy your potential customer, but, instead, lures him to your doorstep. What you want to do is to put together a garden of scents that will draw people to you, as bees to pollen.
In fact, there’s a recent book from an old advertising hand that claims we must tap into the five senses of our customers in order to mate them to our brand. In this super-digital era, we are already saturated with a blur of sights and a whirr of sounds from hucksters We must get past this. Mr. Martin Lindstrom suggests that we had better get at the nose, and the touch, and the taste in order to form an impregnable bond with our customers.
Appeal to Intelligence
We’d add one more thought. In defiance of all the laws of hucksterdom, we would suggest that if you want to be in the high margin product business you had also better make a lasting appeal to the intelligence. That, incidentally, is especially true of Internet marketing. Generally, even with segmentation and all the other corny devices dredged up by marketing mavens, internet ads and internet mail appeal to brutal instincts and to the dumb side of human nature. If you can do away with the schlock, you can turn on your audience and keep it coming back for more. It’s blasphemy, but we contend that you can bank on the intelligence of your customers.
When you strip off the Emperor’s New Clothes, you discover that companies and bloggists alike fill their sites with triviata the world does not want to know about. In one way or another 99.44% of all websites are print catalogs stuffed onto the Internet. Everything suffers in translation. Catalogs, in any event, don’t explore the tremendous possibilities of the Internet. The miracle of Amazon is that it realizes that it is not in the catalog business, and it tries, within limits, to provide you with an online buying happening. The duty of the webmaker is to provide visitors with a fulsome experience that is also filled with substance. The Internet is intrinsically a much more interactive world than anything that has come before, and one’s website must embrace that energy.
Lately we have discovered one Christian Michael Sarkar who has taken this lesson to heart. His Double Loop Marketing aids intelligent companies to use brainwaves to sell their wares and services to the many knowledge professionals who have real disposable income in the great out there. His marketing process, when linked with very substantive content, can increase your pool of qualified prospects by more than 300%.
Generally your customer appeals in this over-messaged world should not talk about yourself. Run-of-the-mill ads prompt your customer’s unconscious to say, “I’ve heard it all before. There’s nothing new here, and it’s boring besides.”
Instead you should pick a heavy-duty subject to talk about that stirs you and ignites your buying audience because it’s compelling and it provides information smart people find useful. You want to provide them with a bible full of wisdom that, by implication, says you are worthwhile. Soon enough they will buy your products and services. For example, you just might think garden-implement maker Corona produces first class clippers and shears because it gives thorough, useful pruning instructions on its website. And you would be right. If you are Volvo, you should provide every tidbit about safety you can muster, as your buying audience becomes ever more conscious of a world at risk.
Up to now, company advertising has relied on brute force, loud noises, and mammoth budgets to ring the cash register and clock revenues. This no longer is acceptable. We have entered an era of scarcity where we must do a lot with a little. To that end, we must substitute smarts for money and manpower. Jujitsu- marketing permits bantam competitors to upset all the heavyweights. It uses the force of good ideas and customer intensity to make the sale. We have been able to help a lot of Davids slay a score of Goliaths with this approach.