MARKETING: A CONSTANT TAP ON THE SHOULDER

Nancy Myrland Marketing Strategy, Uncategorized 4 Comments

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hand 51Yesterday I was part of a discussion about how to market a new service a company was thinking about launching.  One of the participants commented:

“We have one chance to market this new service to our target audience.”

Those who know me know that comment got my wheels turning.  I then shared the following:

“I have a different perspective on that.  I think we need to market this service consistently and frequently.  When we launch to our clients, maybe only about 10-20% will even notice we’ve done so.  Just like with any other business, we have to stay out there on a regular basis with our message so that when our clients are ready to buy, our message is there, just waiting for them.  We also need to remember to promote different features of this service from time to time because one of those times, we might just say something that appeals to a different person than the last message.”

This is the same for all of our businesses and practices.  We can’t expect to market what we do once or twice, then just hope people will remember us.  People will hear our message at different times than we expect them to, and most only after repeated exposure to the message.  If current statistics are true, people are bombarded with over 3,000 messages a day, so to expect ours to really hit the mark the first time we’ve sent it is expecting a lot.

As I wrote in this recent post Let’s Give ‘em Something To Talk About, it’s not the responsibility of our clients and target audiences to be aware of our message.  It is, however, our responsibility to tap them on the shoulder consistently to remind them what we do so that when they are ready to buy, or even to research options, we are there waiting for them.

Come up with a plan that includes different ways you will communicate to your desired audiences.  Don’t rely on one tactic to do all the heavy lifting for you either.  Develop several ways you will tap them on the shoulder to remind them you’re there, what you do, and that you are interested in helping them.

What methods have you come up with to tap your potential clients and clients on the shoulder?

Thank you very much to demordian for use of the image above.

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3 comments
Robby Slaughter
Robby Slaughter

Thanks for the reply, Nancy!

I don't think that your messages are in the least bit intrusive! I just find the analogy of tapping on the shoulder to be one that we associate with interruption and annoyance more than permission and intrigue.

Your invitation to "leave a comment" on the blog post is a great example of giving permission. There was no unexpected "tap on the shoulder" to force someone to pay attention, as is done with an interruption like a phone call or a television advertisement. And when you replied, you didn't track me down and tell me read your response. Instead, you let your words stand on their own. I just wanted to come back to see if you replied, which you did!

I think that the principal challenge we face in marketing our businesses is how to create an environment where we build rapport instead of building annoyance. Part of that challenge is finding ways to describe what we want in terms that invite people. I can't imagine any non-emergency context in which we want to encourage "a tap on the shoulder," much less a constant tap. In fact, the Supreme Court recently debated a case to determine if any "unwanted touching" (including a "tap on the shoulder without consent") might meet the legal definition of assault. (Really!) So, I stand by my suggestion that a "constant tap on the shoulder" might not be the most productive analogy for effective marketing.

Of course, you are absolutely right in that we can't only wait for clients to invite us in. If all marketing was entirely permission based, then we would go broke before potential customers heard that we existed! We do need to step up to present something, but the question is when our interjections are unwanted. An occasional "tap on the shoulder" can be helpful, but we want to spend more time relating, hosting, and helping than we do interrupting. I'm hopeful your potential clients will see your desire to engage in conversations like these, and recognize your ability to help transform their marketing messages to be equally thought-provoking and engaging.

Robby Slaughter
Robby Slaughter

You are right that marketing must be comprehensive, variegated and lasting. However, I find the analogy of "a constant tap on the shoulder" a tad frustrating.

The fundamental shift in marketing is from interruption to permission.. Comparing our marketing efforts to an intentional distraction used in social settings seems to be the exact kind of marketing approach we want to avoid!

No one enjoys being "constantly tapped on the shoulder." If we characterize marketing as purposeful annoyance, we are not likely to find our clients new customers but make them new enemies. Let's start with a better comparison! How about throwing the party, playing the host, starting the conversation, building a relationship, or establishing a rapport? Virtually any of these behaviors in social settings are far more attractive than a constant tap from an unseen finger demanding our attention. Let's start the marketing effort by using great visuals to describe how we market!

Nancy Myrland
Nancy Myrland

Hi Robby: Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

You are exactly right when my words are taken literally vs. figuratively. A couple thoughts for you: If we waited for our potential clients to invite us in to their space every time we wanted to communicate something to them, we would have a very long wait in many cases, and we would miss many fine opportunities to talk to them. Everything you mentioned is a tap on the shoulder in my world. Maybe my taps are more gentle than yours, and aren't done in an intrusive manner such as someone coming up to someone at a reception and tapping them from behind 10 times in an hour. Yes, THAT would be annoying and intrusive, and is the farthest thing from what I was talking about. Your examples of throwing a party, and inviting guests to join you, is a very nice tap on the shoulder, which no one gave you permission to do, but would certainly be welcome and kind. Establishing rapport with someone, whether by walking up to them and introducing yourself at a Tweetup, having lunch with them at Union Jack in Broad Ripple as we did, or even jumping in and commenting on something someone posted in Social Media, fits nicely in to this analogy. They are gentle, regular, consistent taps on the shoulder to remind your contacts that you are there. In the case of my post, they are definitely not meant to be annoying interruptions as you describe. Remember that just when you think your contacts are tiring of your messages, they might only begin to notice them.

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