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Marketing Momentum: Smarter Marketing for Almost $0

Marketing Momentum: Smarter Marketing for Almost $0

“I want to try something new with our marketing” usually means spending more money—but it doesn’t have to. Sometimes trying something new just means being smarter about what you’re already doing.

Recently, I was looking for ideas for covering my sliding patio doors, so I asked for recommendations on Facebook. A friend suggested 3 Day Blinds. I had never heard of them so, naturally, I was skeptical. But when did a Google search, I found this:

The first thing I noticed was “We’re Celebrating 35 Years.” Hmm. So they are not some fly-by-night operation. The next thing I saw was “free in-home consultation.” So they will actually send someone to my home? Then I read, “custom window treatments,” and “trusted brand.” I assumed that if a company had been in business for that long and was willing to come to my home, they were probably reputable. So here’s the first lesson.

  1. Smart marketing addresses prospects’ most pressing concerns.

The people at 3 Day Blinds knew that some shoppers may not be familiar with them. So they addressed the credibility issue right in the title, then reinforced it in the snippet that followed. (Side note: It’s odd to me that they advertise on Spike TV which is primarily a young, adult male audience. But perhaps that’s their niche, as in, “$%!@, Mom’s coming to visit in three days and I still don’t have window coverings!”

They also grabbed the opportunity to overcome shoppers’ objections early in the buyer’s journey—in the research phase—then moved them along the sales process by offering a discount and the promise of a quick turnaround.

  1. Smart marketing capitalizes on opportunities.

And speaking of opportunities, I’ve been getting Menards rebates for years, but last time it was different. Attached to the rebate was an ad for Dakota brand Shiplap along with information about color choices and sizes, and a website address. Now, if they were really smart, they got coop funding from Dakota to actually pay for the printing and mailing of the rebate certificates.

On a related note (in terms of opportunities), the International House of Pancakes (IHOP), in an effort to sell more burgers, just changed its name to International House of Burgers (IHOB), flipping the “P” to a “B” in their logo.

Competitors Wendy’s and Whataburger were quick to respond on social media:

Regardless of how you feel about the change from IHOP to IHOB and whether it’s permanent or just a public relations stunt, Wendy’s and Whataburger (and probably others) had a little fun and promoted their own brands at IHOP’s/IHOB’s expense.

  1. Smart marketing solves a problem by rewarding customers.

How many times have you said to yourself or your coworkers, “I wish our customers would (fill in the blank)!” Well, what are you doing to encourage them to (fill in the blank)? Just as in management and parenting, rewarding the behavior you want usually works.

The direct mail piece from my local automotive dealer offers the service department’s customers incentives for doing three things, all of which benefit the service department as well:

  • Schedule their service online, thus freeing up service advisors’ time on the phone. Customers get a $10 discount just for doing so.
  • Drop their cars off rather than waiting for their repairs and maintenance. This gives the service department more flexibility in scheduling technicians. Customers get $15 off just for leaving their car for four hours.
  • Schedule several repairs or maintenance at one time which increases the average dollar amount per ticket and overall revenue. Customers who spend more also save more—another $20 for spending $400 or more. Plus they get a free one-day loaner vehicle that, in some cases, will be reimbursed by the manufacturer’s warranty.

Customers can even combine all these offers and get $100 off their total repair. That’s 25% off of a $400 repair. That’s pretty clever.

Of course, to measure the true ROI, you’d have to take into account the business generated over and above what you’d normally do for the same time period, minus the cost of the marketing and discounts. However, if the mailing gained new customers, you should take into account the lifetime value of those new customers not to mention the residual value marketing and goodwill the service department is building with customers. So even if you break even, it’s probably still worth the effort.

The Challenge: Can you market smarter?

What are you already doing that you could do better? How could a small change make a big difference? I challenge you to look at your current marketing activities and think about how you could improve the strategy, offer, or even the message to make it more effective. I promise you, there’s a way to do it better and smarter than how you’ve been doing it.

When you come up with ways to market smarter, send me the “before” and “after” versions, and (with your permission) we may feature them in future articles.

Are you brave enough to accept the challenge?

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Katrina Olson  is a marketing and public relations consultant, trainer/coach, and host of a monthly podcast called Market Boldly, available on iTunes and Google Play. She has written for tED magazine's print edition since 2005, judged tED magazine's Best of the Best Competition since 2006, and also writes for the new lightEDmag.com and lightED Weekly. She can be reached at Katrina@katrinaolson.com or via her website at katrinaolson.com.

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