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Compiled by Ken Beaulieu, Chief Content Creator, FuelNet

Are your marketing messages falling on deaf ears?

Heres how to get you closer to your customers
and best prospects without breaking the bank.
Marketing Tips
to Engage
Your Customers 5
FuelNet, a division of The Pohly Company
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Introduction .........................................................................4
Tip #1
Dont Be Pushy: Engage Your Customers ...................6
Tip #2
Target Inuential Consumers ........................................8
Tip #3
Get More Sociable on the Web .................................... 10
Tip #4
Shoot for the Green ....................................................... 12
Tip #5
Dare to Be Diferent: Go Guerilla ............................... 14
Conclusion ........................................................................ 16
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reaking through to a public that has become increasingly skepti-
cal of advertising is foremost on marketers minds these days.
But if you think a generic Web site, newsletter, or direct mail
marketing campaign will do the trick, its time to rethink your approach
to marketing.
Truth is, the glut of information ooding the marketplace is no longer
just anesthetizing consumers. It is being received by many with hostility
and seen more as an invasion of privacy than just a sales pitch. Seth
Godin, author of several best-selling business books and an advocate
for permission-based marketing, says companies must earn consumers
attention before pitching them a product or service. In a world where
consumers can do whatever they want, you need to say, I value your
attention. I want to borrow your attention and amaze you enough that
you will let me borrow your attention the next time too, he explains.
As marketers seek to capitalize on the latest technological advances
to deliver their messages, they must develop strategies that not only grab
consumers attention but also actively engage their interest in a signicant
fashion. Resistant consumers must be reengaged with better marketing
before marketing productivity can improve, contends J. Walker Smith,
president of Yankelovich Partners Inc., a leading U.S. market research
and consulting rm based in Chapel Hill, N.C., and author of Coming
to Concurrence: Addressable Attitudes and the New Model for Marketing
Productivity. Companies need to recognize there are a lot of different
ways of understanding things and processing information. All marketing
campaigns must be appropriate to their time and their audience.
What engagement requires is a lot of deep digging on the part of
marketers to understand what is relevant to a user or prospect, how to
craft a message that truly involves and engages them, and then nd the
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right place to put it, adds Michael Donahue, an executive vice president
with the American Association of Advertising Agencies.
So how can your company make its marketing stand out and engage
a target audience in an environment where consumers pick and choose
which messages they will allow in? In this FuelNet Smart Paper, you will
learn ve powerful ways to get closer to your customers and best pros-
pects without breaking the bank. From marketing to a customers lifestyle
to targeting inuential customers to capitalizing on social networking,
each tip provides insights from leading industry experts that can be put
to use right now.
What engagement requires is a lot of deep digging on the part of
marketers to understand what is relevant to a user or prospect, how to
craft a message that truly involves and engages them, and then nd the
right place to put it, adds Michael Donahue, an executive vice president
with the American Association of Advertising Agencies.
So how can your company make its marketing stand out and engage
a target audience in an environment where consumers pick and choose
which messages they will allow in? In this FuelNet Smart Paper, you
will learn 5 powerful ways to get closer to your customers and best
prospects without breaking the bank. From marketing to a customers
lifestyle to targeting inuential customers to capitalizing on social
networking, each tip provides insight from leading industry experts
that can be put to use right now.
n a crowded media marketplace, oversold consumers often bristle at
push marketing the one-size-ts-all approach that companies his-
torically used in their brand building efforts. As consumers seek relation-
ships with companies they trust, pull tactics those designed to focus on
the specic likes and needs of a target demographic are increasingly being
embraced by marketers. Pull marketing is perceived as more trustworthy,
believable, and hence, more actionable, asserts Kathleen Micken, associate
professor of marketing at Roger Williams Universitys Gabelli School of
Business in Bristol, R.I.
Push and pull marketing have morphed over the years. In the past, for
example, if a company were launching a new product, it would rst secure
shelf space with retailers (push), then run television advertising to spark
interest and drive consumers to the stores (pull). Today, push marketing
refers to any one-sided message designed to move product, including banner
ads, unsolicited direct mail, and email offers. Pull focuses on soft-sell tactics,
from event marketing to word of mouth to sponsorships. Push is about you
[the advertiser]; pull is about them [potential customers], says Brian Car-
roll, author of Lead Generation for the Complex Sale.
Pull marketing can turn customers and best prospects into raving fans
because its based on permission marketing principles that create value,
says Michael Port, author of Book Yourself Solid: The Fastest, Easiest, and
Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even
if You Hate Marketing and Selling. To illustrate his point, Port describes how
he worked with one client, a personal trainer and chef, to create a monthly
Fitness Fiesta for Foodies as a way to attract new customers. At each event,
the chef taught guests how to create healthy meals. The response was over-
whelmingly positive, Port says.
To launch a pull marketing campaign, Shuba Srinivasan, associate profes-
sor of marketing at the University of California, Riverside, encourages
Dont Be Pushy:
Engage Your Customers 1
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Establishing yourself as a
subject matter expert can
be an extremely efective
push marketing tactic, Car-
roll says. Think of a mar-
keting consultant teaching
a seminar on how to create
print advertising, or a
nancial adviser speaking
at a trade show on retire-
ment planning issues. Of
course, demonstrating
your thought leadership
and expertise requires
time and dedication. Carroll
points out that compel-
ling pull content must be
timely and relevant to the
target audience.
Quick Tip
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marketers to clearly dene goals and the tactics needed to reach them.
In some cases, such as the introduction of a new brand, Srinivasan says
giving away product samples, running a sweepstakes, or placing an ad
with a coupon may work well.
For many companies, however, pull marketing is not a viable replace-
ment for push techniques. But by integrating the two tactics, experts say,
a company can better reach consumers in a creative, meaningful, and
protable way. Regardless of a companys push or pull strategies, what
brings customers back is the type of experience they have with the com-
pany and with its offerings, Micken says. Creative marketing strategies
cannot compensate for poor customer experiences.
Dont Be Pushy: Engage Your Customers
ears ago, while living in Point Reyes, Calif., a bucolic coastal town
just north of San Francisco, Jon Berry learned something very
important about marketing. Most mornings, some of Point Reyes
most prominent citizens of the sheriff, the editor of the newspaper, the
owner of a local real estate company, among others would gather for
breakfast at table six in the popular local diner. Anything signicant
going on in town would pass through that table at one point or another,
recalls Berry, coauthor of The Inuentials and a vice president at NOP
World, a market research company based in New York.
To Berry, it is absolutely vital that marketers understand the dynamic
of a towns most inuential residents. Every town has a table six, he
says. And a company that wants to see its product or service take off
would do well to get the endorsement of the folks sitting at table sixes
around the country.
A wealth of research, including that conducted by Berry and Ed Keller
(The Inuentials coauthor and CEO of NOP Worlds consumer division),
demonstrates the powerful and growing importance of opinion leaders,
elites, inuentials whatever you choose to call them in determining
what Americans eat, watch, and buy. Indeed, Berry and Keller say Ameri-
cans are twice as likely to cite people over advertising as the best source of
ideas and information when it comes to deciding what restaurants to visit,
which prescription drugs to try, how to invest for retirement, and which
brands to choose.
Americans dont turn to just anyone to help them make important
decisions in their lives, however. They look for advice from people they
know and respect the folks who are curious, well informed, and well
connected, and who take an active involvement in their community and
earn the respect of their neighbors. Keller and Berry estimate that about
21 million people in the U.S. or about 1 in 10 people over age 18
qualify as opinion leaders in their community.
Target Inuential
Consumers 2
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If you accept the no-
tion that the relationship
between marketer and cus-
tomer is now one of equals
in a conversation, remem-
ber that you also have to
listen. If someones cred-
ibility gives them status,
theyre not going to give it
up to tell everyone about
a product just because its
new or just because com-
panies want them to, says
Emanuel Rosen, author
of The Anatomy of Buzz.
Consumers will spread the
word for products they feel
will maintain their cred-
ibility. That is the beauty
of word of mouth: it works
better for good products.
Quick Tip
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Target Inuential Consumers
Theyre not terribly hard to nd. According to Keller and Berry, com-
munity inuencers could include people who have done any of the
Written an article for a magazine or newspaper
Served on a committee or a local organization
Been active in a group trying to inuence public policy
Had a letter to the editor published in the local newspaper
Made a speech
Attended a public meeting on town or school affairs
Written to or called a politician
In addition to the inuence they wield, opinion leaders are much more
likely to voice their problems with a company. But smart marketers will
view such negative feedback as an opportunity rather than a nuisance.
Being responsive not only turns around what could be a very negative
word-of-mouth situation, it also could open the door to people who have
good ideas, Berry contends. Being able to tweak your complaint center
to open that conversation can really pay off.
Finding inuential people is the easy part; determining what to do
once youve located them is trickier. The good news is that theyre open
to marketing, so long as its truthful and valuable and informs them of a
way to genuinely improve their lives. Marketing, advertising, and product
promotion can be information, Keller says. If its propaganda, lies, or
exaggeration, then it will be seen as such and rejected.
eventy percent of todays 15-to-34-year-olds use social networking Web
sites like MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube, according to comScore, an
internet marketing company in Reston, Va., and other age groups are
joining fast. This has marketers tripping over themselves trying to gure out
how to make their presence felt in these powerful, but potentially risky, online
communities. Here are some ways to get more sociable on the Web without
harming your brand:
Prioritize help over hype. It might seem as if every large company has
started its own social networking site, but Intuit built a genuine community
by eschewing the marketing hype. Intuits sites, such as quickbooksgroup
.com, are run by the companys product development department. Users
can interact with developers and product managers and receive information
targeted to their interests, such as legal and marketing advice for owners of
small and growing businesses.
Lure and capture. Make sure you have a mechanism to capture email
addresses on your home page, says Susan Gilbert, owner of Joomla Jump,
a maker of Web tools in Issaquah, Wash. Give away a ve-part course or a
guide that keeps you in touch, turning prospects into customers.
Aim for consistency. Studies show that people who use one social network
quickly gravitate to many others. That means companies should establish
branded proles across the networks, says Chris Wineld, president and
cofounder of 10e20, a global search engine and social media rm in New
York. Its just like the early days of the Internet, when it was essential to
register all your related domain names, he notes.
Go niche. MySpace groups enable marketers to reach certain subsets, but in
many cases MySpace is simply too big to generate sizable noise, says Andrew
Foote, head of PepperDigital, the online marketing division of the New
Yorkbased PR rm Peppercom. Many marketers are experimenting with
Get More Sociable
on the Web 3
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niche social networks such as Takkle, a community for student
athletes because they can reach highly focused audiences.
Promote your content. To help spread the word about your social
network, post a useful article on your Web site and then submit it to
online news aggregators, such as Netscape and
Bring them home. Gilbert recommends using social networking sites
to drive trafc back to your own Web site. A common lure: freebies and
special offers. Consider offering a free ringtone, for example.
Get More Sociable on the Web
ncreasingly, eco-conscious consumers are demanding that companies
be transparent about their green marketing practices and accountable
for their impact on people and the planet. A study by the branding
and marketing rm BBMG found that Americans are more likely to buy
from companies that manufacture energy-efcient products (90 per-
cent), promote health and safety benets (88 percent), support fair labor
and trade practices (87 percent), and are committed to environmentally
friendly practices (87 percent).
For multinational corporations such as GE, a commitment to the en-
vironment is a huge undertaking, both in terms of money and time. But
small and midsize companies can nd easier ways to jump on the green
bandwagon and enhance their relationship with consumers without
breaking the bank. Here are a few:
Look for green practices that are already in place. Your company may
already use solar power cells in some products or sponsor area cleanup
activities that can be highlighted in marketing and branding programs.
Look for offsets. A public tree planting is not only a great photo op,
it can also allow your rm to offset some electricity, natural gas usage,
and travel, so you can truthfully claim to be partially or completely
carbon neutral.
Institute employee ride-sharing programs, or subsidize their pur-
chases of fuel-efcient or reduced-emission cars. This can enhance
your image both as an employer and as a good corporate citizen in
the community.
Change your packaging. Switching from plastic to recycled paper in
packaging often adds only minimally to costs, but it can be highlighted
in advertising messages.
Shoot for the Green
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Be a leader. Volunteering for a trade organization task force that looks
at how your industry can become more environmentally friendly can
help position your rm as a green thought leader with the public, the
press, and industry peers.
Go for the Green
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ecause growing businesses generally operate on tight budgets,
especially in a weak economy, they have to be more creative in
their use of time, energy, and imagination. That has led to the
rise of guerilla marketing. This approach doesnt require a huge ad buy in
traditional media; its about creating unusual, fresh, and provocative ways
to reach customers and best prospects. Here are some hot guerilla market-
ing tactics that any business can quickly put into practice:
Partnerships. Consumers are more likely to listen to a marketing
message about your business if it comes from another company, asserts
Tom Richard, author of Smart Sales People Dont Advertise: 10 Ways to
Outsmart Your Competition with Guerilla Marketing. If you have a
marketing budget of $2,000, go nd nine other people who have a
marketing budget of $2,000, and together spend $20,000 on the best
promotion ever done in your town, he says. You get the benets of a
$20,000 marketing campaign.
Stunt marketing. Done right, the appeal of this approach is that it
leaves a lasting impression. For example, Garys Uptown Restaurant
and Bar in Lodi, Calif., once ran a special on Wednesdays where bald
men ate for free; other hair-challenged patrons were given discounts.
It generated worldwide media attention. That goes to show that
you really can do something fantastic if you have the creativity behind
it, says Colleen Wells, coauthor of The Complete Idiots Guide to Gue-
rilla Marketing.
Experiential marketing. If you have a product that youre proud of, why
not let potential customers give it a try? Grocery retailer Trader Joes,
for example, offers customers in-store taste tests of its natural food
products. Many personal trainers also rely on this marketing tactic,
offering a free training session to potential customers. Experiential
Dare to Be Diferent:
Go Guerilla 5
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marketing is effective because people really want one-on-one interac-
tion, Wells says. These high-touch experiences are appealing
to people who often feel as though theyre treated as one of the masses.
A smile and a handshake. That might not sound like guerilla market-
ing, but author Mitch Meyerson believes its the rst step in building a
tighter bond with customers. You could spend a few thousand dollars
buying a classied ad and direct people to call you, but if someone in
your business is having a bad day and they pick up the phone and have a
crabby tone of voice, the prospect will not be interested [in your product
or service], he says. The rst rule in successful guerilla marketing is to
be upbeat and helpful every single time you have contact with the
public. People fall short in this area quite consistently.
Dare to Be Diferent: Go Guerilla
harles Darwin didnt have the business world in mind when he
developed his groundbreaking theory of evolution, but the lessons
are as true for businesses as they are for species: survival hinges on
the ability to adapt to change. In this age of big-box retailers, indepen-
dent companies need to engage in an ongoing relationship using a variety
of channel techniques, says Bob Kesner, founder and president of Ever-
green Direct in Middlebury, Vt. Without overdoing it, all of them should
make it clear that the customer is very special, and imply that they are
doing business with people, not a crass or unfeeling corporation.
Business author Seth Godin agrees. He says relationships break down
when companies get selsh, when they act as though they have a right
to consumers attention, and when they cut corners and break promises.
Many companies imagine that they have a steady stream of new custom-
ers and an endless resource of noncustomers just waiting to replace them,
he notes. In fact, good customers are like oil reserves were running
out. Treasuring your customers and focusing on nding more things to
do for them is a much smarter strategy.
In the end, engagement is about generating creative ideas and content
that people actually want to see and will seek out on their own. The
wrapping you put around your message is just as important as the message
itself, says Malcolm Russell, a managing partner at the New Yorkbased
media agency MindShare. Thats far different from advertising that relies
on interruption to succeed.
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