A new Starbucks opened up in my neighborhood this week. This one in a supermarket. The one before that? Just a block away with skimpy parking but a killer drive thru that I find hard to pass by. I cherish my morning “get into gear” coffee and my afternoon “pick me ups”. No matter the location or time of day, I know I can count on Starbucks to deliver a great product with smart service in a highly reliable, familiar way. That’s what great branding is all about. Creating an experience and filling a need in a remarkable, consistent way.
Here’s a quick test. Look at this logo and quickly think of 3 words or feelings it conjures for you:
For me? Reliable, relaxing, pampering. All positive around an experience I like to repeat over and over. I like coffee and I like the coffee Starbucks makes. If, on the other hand, you despise coffee or tea, there’s probably nothing Starbucks can do to change your world view. They’re simply not selling anything you need or want. So in your own marketing for your company, product, or service, focus on being remarkable and memorable to your core target audience. Understand, through research (surveys, focus groups, comment cards) what it is they genuinely want from you and be honest and thoughtful about what commitment you can make to deliver. And to excel. Anyone can do mediocre, but to stand out in the crowd you need to be extraordinary.
I would invite you to look at your own brand and the story you tell your core customers. Is it authentic, reliable, consistent? And is the experience they have with you spectacular? If not, what can you do to make it so.
If you deliver the need in a consistently extraordinary way, the end result is unwavering loyalty. And you’ll have developed brand evangelists who will happily, and without monetary reward, help you spread the word.
Loyal customers, they don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend you, they insist that their friends do business with you.
Chip Bell, Founder Chip Bell Group
Is there a company you love telling friends about? We’d love to hear your stories.
First, a personal disclosure. I am a registered Democrat and have almost always voted for Democratic candidates. On November 6th, I will cast my ballot for Barack Obama with support and pride.
As a marketer though, I have a beef with the Obama campaign and thus this blog to vent just a bit.
The Obama campaign has gone overboard in the use of email, mobile marketing and mobile apps to generate donations and support. Overboard to the point of being downright annoying. I wholeheartedly support the candidate and the use of these marketing tools to engage an audience and to build loyalty and momentum. But their tactics teeter on a turnoff.
At first I thought it was cool and savvy the way the Obama folks have been sending out messages that feel personal and intimate and important. So at first I’m thinking, “good going, you guys are smart marketers”. I click, I donate a little here and there. And then… the avalanche of emails begins. And the inbox fills each week with multiple urgent messages about a looming deadline. Really? Come on, I’m smarter than that. I know it’s important but the level of urgency – as demonstrated in these email subject lines – is downright laughable.
- Last call for Dinner with Barack EVER
- 583,282 people named Amy
- I’m asking one last time (dated 9/25 but on 10/22, not one month later, Mr. Obama was asking again)
- Obama Store: ★ Our biggest sale EVER ★ (Is this sale from Macy’s or a presidential campaign?)
And the volume? You may have seen the President on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart recently. During the interview Stewart jokingly asked the President how many new emails he’d have in his inbox by the time the interview was over. I can relate. While writing this blog late one night, I received an email from both Barack and Michelle Obama asking for donations. And a quick search for “Obama” in my delete box turns up over 200 entries from everyone from Obama himself to Bill Clinton to Joe Biden.
Then there are the mobile solicitations. One day, I received a text that said “Show you’ve got the President’s back. Reply with a number and we’ll charge your saved credit card.
I mistakenly thought that meant my phone number so I nearly made a 10-digit donation to the Obama campaign. Try explaining that one to your spouse. Luckily, I caught my error when the auto-reply asked for confirmation.
So yes, I support Obama and do have his back and have donated to his campaign. The lesson about marketing though is clear. Whether you are president of a country, a corporation, or a mom and pop retail store, it’s important to personalize the conversation and engage your audience when using email or mobile marketing. But use caution…overuse and overkill are sure to turn them off. If you have had similar experiences with a marketing campaign on steroids, we’d love to hear about it.
Building loyalty takes a commitment to your consumers. You can’t always be selling. It is about showing them that you not only have great products and services, but that you’re a great company to work with. Birthdays are the perfect time to reach out to your audience to let them know you appreciate them. Whether you offer a formal birthday club with coupons or freebies or just capture their birth date in your e-newsletter signup and send them a simple card, recognizing loyal customers on their special day is a great way to connect.
Eagle Marketing has been running birthday clubs for clients for years. We regularly hear from delighted members how the birthday greeting made their day. Here are just a few examples:
“I don’t know whose idea this was but it is brilliant! And having the video with Ybeth? Now THAT’S what I call the frosting on the cake! Thank you all!!!!”
“Thanks, that was cool! 67 and counting…. Love BayNews9 – especially the weather staff!! Al and all the staff are very nice people and that is why I watch BN9 – You’re a community anchor.”
“Thank you so much for remembering my birthday and actually doing something about it. I know it is just a marketing ploy and you don’t know me from a hole in the wall, but you are the only ones to actually say Happy Birthday to me today. It felt good. Thanks. Your Loyal fan and listener of Baynews 9 since its beginning. -Bruce”
“Thank you Jackie and I am 91 years old smile…. Have a Happy Healthy New Year and many more years to come. – Marie”
Here are some tips to launching a great birthday club:
- Direct Mail or Email? You choose! Use great creative and silly or heartfelt copy to endear them to your brand. On the one hand, I know I love going to the mailbox around my birthday to see something other than bills waiting for me. Having a tangible reminder of your brand can be powerful. On the other, email messages can include videos or animation and give you the opportunity to start a dialog with a happy consumer ready to thank you for the birthday greeting.
- Personalize your message: Glean their preferences at signup and then customize your message based on these preferences. Whether it is a customized greeting from their favorite anchor or DJ, dropping in some content or text that would be meaningful to them, or freebies from their favorite show, you are letting them know you care.
- Don’t Sell: This is the time to thank them for their business. Don’t tell them about the upcoming lineup, latest sale or new model. Simply wish them a Happy Birthday!
There is no reason to limit these interactions to once a year either. Reach out to your database with holiday greetings throughout the year. Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, Winter Holidays, New Years, Veterans Day, July 4th, Earth Day and others are great times to wish them well. It is about connecting. Making them smile. It is a great way to stay top of mind without pushing your wares.
Acquiring new donors can be very expensive for Non-Profit Organizations (NPO). Text2Give offers a simple way for NPOs to collect a small amount of money ($5 or $10) from a large number of donors. Users simply text a keyword (ex LIBRARY) to a short code (20222) to donate. The money is instantly charged to their mobile phone bill. So the giving couldn’t be simpler. The tough part is getting them to give. You have to use traditional and digital marketing to build awareness about your campaign.
Best places to promote your campaign:
- Live Events: Live events are the perfect venue for Text2Give. We have found that you will not see great success with signage alone. Anytime you have a live audience becomes the perfect time to make the ask. Taking advantage of the spontaneous donation is the key.
- Social Media: Create a customized Facebook application to build awareness. Donors can enter their mobile phone number into the app and automatically get a text to their phone to complete the donation. Twitter is also a great way to get the word out about your campaign.
- Partners: Engage corporate partners to share the word about your campaign. Text2Give donation amounts are small. It is all about building as much awareness about your campaign as possible.
- Print: At live events, make sure the keyword and short code are available via signage, in the program and in targeted direct mail promoting the event so donors can easily access it and learn more about the cause.
Keys to getting your campaign noticed:
1. Clearly state where donations are going: People want to know what their money is going towards and they need to care about it. If they have just been educated on a troubling issue they are more likely to make that connection that their $5 will go towards fixing that issue vs. a general ask for a donation. http://customer.givebycell.com/gbc/marketing/gautemalanTextBooks
2. Make people feel something: Using images and compelling headlines that immediately evoke emotion will help you drive donations. People need to immediately connect with the cause and feel compelled to donate. Here are a couple examples of how to do it. SAD: http://hua.org/blog/view-our-new-commercial-about-puppy-mills/ FUNNY http://ihateballs.com/
3. Create a sense of urgency: Even if there is no said “disaster” you can still evoke a quick action from your audience by creating a timeline or goal that needs to be reached by a certain date. At live events you can even use the real time reporting to keep people updated about how the campaign is doing. Ex. We’re half way there. Please donate before the end of the show to help us reach our goal of $10,000.
4. Connect with people when they are most receptive: At one organization they found by simply moving the sign to the front entrance as people are waiting in line to buy tickets for an event was more successful than the sign at the exit or even within event. They found that people in line were bored and were more likely to read the sign and do something about it.
5. Celebrity Influenced: Society responds when their favorite celebrity is supporting what they too feel is a great cause. Examples include Alicia Keys at American Idol: http://www.dosomething.org/blog/celebsgonegood/idols-give-back-15-million
Text2Give campaigns can be a cost effective solutions for acquisition, but without the right approach to drive awareness, you won’t see the results.
How do you get customers to become loyalists when they’re barraged with marketing messages from companies vying for their attention? We could list the many “how to’s” but here’s the bottom line — you have to Be Remarkable. Recently I was on the receiving end of “remarkable” from the most unlikely of sources.
Heard any stories lately about phone companies and their amazing customer service that goes the extra mile? More than likely, your answer is a big NO! Phone companies aren’t known for exceeding expectations; they’re more often the source of frustration and gripes for lousy service.
Imagine then my surprise and delight when I received a handwritten note card from a Sprint employee thanking me for my business and offering a 25% discount on my next in-store purchase. Seems Sprint has decided my loyalty is appreciated. And I appreciate them taking the time to tell me so. It seemed so, well, personal.
What happens when you feel appreciated? For starters, you feel good. And you feel good about your decision to use this company, their product or service. You feel more emotionally connected to them and their brand and you become more passionate and engaged. And chances are, you will tell your friends, family, and colleagues. So by exceeding your expectations and showing appreciating, this company has turned you the customer into a fan who will tell others this remarkable story.
Here’s a story about another type company you’re unlikely to get excited about – an auto body shop. I became a fan recently of Caliber Collision Centers when they surprised me with their excellent customer service. I dropped my car off some for repairs recently. The staff was so attentive and caring I was taken aback. They asked about the accident (not our fault), empathized over the inconvenience and offered me copious amounts of coffee and water. The service agent followed through on his promise to call every Tuesday and Thursday with an update. And the repairs took 3 days less than anticipated. In short, they exceeded my expectations and generated a level of loyalty in me I didn’t know possible.
When I complimented the office manager on their great service, she told me she tries to treat customers the way she’d like to be treated.
I hope I don’t get in another accident soon but if I do, I know where I’m headed.
How are you working to be remarkable and remembered? We’d love to hear your story.
What marketers do is often judged on a client’s perception of “whether it worked”. But how do you know if it worked? Without a reply vehicle it is nearly impossible to tell. Including a reply card, an online portal, or custom coupon code for point of sale gives you a tangible account of the campaign’s performance.
Quantitative response information gives marketers the opportunity to analyze the respondents by geographic, demographic and psychographic factors. Without this information, targeting future campaign is done blindly. With response information, revisions to the targeting strategy can be made to improve the response of the next campaign.
I was thinking about this issue and naturally came to the analogy of education. Without testing, how can we tell “whether it worked”? It would be unwise to base a student’s progress in a subject area only on gut feel. We have to be able to assess the student’s learning so we can adjust what is being taught and place that student appropriately in the future.
Please don’t judge a campaign based only on subjective information. Make the commitment to bettering your marketing plan by always including a response vehicle…and then committing to using that information for your future campaigns.