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Back to Basics – Marketing 101: Putting One Tool to Good Use

October 27, 2010

While not entirely unlike the camaraderie of guys’ Thursday night poker, my Monday evening was spent in the company of like-minded marketers. There’s nothing quite like the atmosphere of shared war stories with a group of individuals doing similar work for other clients and employers to make you feel like you haven’t lost all your marbles. It was warm ‘n’ fuzzy all around, energy crackling like a roaring fire.

Most of the time we’re all the only ones doing marketing work for each of our employers or clients. We’re a wee bit isolated; there’s no one across the aisle to compare notes with or say “what do you think?”  But here was a whole room full of marketers sharing which campaigns, techniques and magic tricks they’d tried to bolster sales. No one self-edited their stories of failures. Magical results were shared with the group so others could see if the techniques would work in their business environment.

We discussed everything from positioning statements – good and bad – to on-site foot traffic problems. Does social media work? Or is it just too overhyped? (Yes and yes, but not necessarily in ways that can produce measurable ROIs.) How do you allocate time to such an enormous area? And, is it worth that time?

The biggest winner reported was a tried and true method from before the internet was born: telemarketing. And not just any telemarketing. The marketing director reporting a high success rate where none had been expected emphasized that it can start just with talking to your customers on the phone – not soliciting right off the bat! Find out how their day is going; what’s going on in their lives? Did they have any wines recently that they particularly liked. The key was engagement, reaching out to strengthen the relationship with the customer.

Sure, it helped that their telemarketing scripting had been fine-tuned like a Stradivarius so that it came off as unscripted and spontaneous. Of course, their offer had to be fine-tuned as well to be appealing to the customer base. There are many factors to making successful telemarketing sales. My question to you: When is the last time you tried it?

When is the last time you called the customer instead of them calling you? Do you want their business or not? Then ask for it. Pick up the phone.

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