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Marketing “Hacks”: Proven Techniques

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Author: Mark Capaldini - Sept 2014

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These techniques are tried and true.  In my work as a CEO and CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) I have implemented all the techniques described below.  They work.  They are inexpensive.  And you can easily use them in your business.  They combine your knowledge of your customers, external data, and simple software to achieve consistent results.  The recent explosion in databases and software enables these surprisingly affordable initiatives.

  1. Customer profile (1-2 pages each) – This is a “quick reference” tool for sales, marketing, and customer service.  It’s a great training or reference tool.  And it’s essential if you are entering a new market segment or adding a new product.  For each segment or “persona” you serve, write down the following:
      1. Overview – Who they are (titles, departments, demographics), where to find them, and related context.  Any clues for “spotting” them.
      2. Needs and challenges – What problems or “pain” do they face, with the vocabulary or phrases that are likely to come up in conversation.
      3. Probing questions – Ask about specific needs and the CONTEXT in which they operate or live.  Per Stephen Covey, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
      4. Suggested demonstration or “use case” for your offering.  Mention specific examples that are visible as “case studies” on your website.
  2. Modular pricing – Develop a simple pricing grid that will save time for your prospects and your sales force.   Clarity, simplicity, and transparency will gain prospect trust, shorten your sales cycle, and differentiate you in the marketplace.   Make it simple enough that your prospects can do their own “what if” scenarios.  Yes, it’s possible that a competitor will see a copy.  But your competition already knows a great deal about your pricing.   If price is your only differentiator, you have a different problem.
  3. “Universe File” of your best prospects.  What is your target geography?  And who are your best prospects?  Start with an analysis of your current customers.  Do 80% of them come from five ZIP Codes or 7 company types?   For a few hundred dollars you can build a target list from consumer databases or industry directories.  Input this data on specific prospects into your CRM system, if you have one, or just start with a spreadsheet.  Steadily add to it with email addresses, phone numbers, info on your promotions, sales.   Make sure to reach out to all your prospects on a steady, helpful basis, not just the ones who have already “raised their hands” to your sales force.
  4. Webinars – Much less expensive than “live” events, with broader reach, and easy options for recording.  Eliminates issues of distance, travel time, and space costs.  Keep it simple and useful with a light touch on the sales pitch.  Position your company as a “Subject Matter Expert (SME)” and share genuinely useful basic info.  You can record the webinar and slice out “clips” (2-minute segments) for use on your website, on staff LinkedIn profiles, and even on YouTube.  While you personally may not watch much video on the web, your prospects are, especially those under 40 years old.
  5. Content Marketing – NOT ADVERTISING.  This is genuinely useful and helpful stuff.  Checklists, links to articles or websites, “how to” videos, with material from third parties, not just your own company.  Not sure how to proceed?  Ask the “20-somethings” on your staff or in your family how they do research on the Internet.  You will be surprised.  If someone else has already addressed questions relevant to your focus, offer links to their material.  By offering material from other sources you will INCREASE your company’s credibility.   You don’t have to do it all from scratch.

This is just a starting point for discussion.  What “marketing hacks” have you discovered and tested, specific to the needs and resources of small and mid-sized companies?

 

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