Category Archives: Marketing Tactics

Great Targeting by T-Mobile or a Waste of Money?

Read an online article regarding the new iPhone 4S and don’t be surprised if you see an ad for T-mobile.  As you may know, T-Mobile is the only major cell-phone provider that doesn’t sell an iPhone.

So why advertise around content for a product you don’t have?  Maybe it’s to get your attention about the benefits T-mobile has over AT&T, Verizon and, now, Sprint like unlimited data, text and talk on the “largest 4G network”.

On the one hand T-mobile is capitalizing on content in which people are interested.  On the other hand, a large proportion of “iPhone news” readers are iPhone owners or plan on being one soon.

Is this a smart, targeted move by T-mobile or is it a waste of their marketing budget?


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Behavioral Targeting Doubles Ad Effectiveness – eMarketer

Yet another way knowing your audience helps yield a greater response.

Behavioral Targeting Doubles Ad Effectiveness – eMarketer.

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Hey Netflix – Just Tell Me You Want Me Back

Six months ago I canceled my Netflix account, simply because we weren’t using it.  I like the service, but since we weren’t watching movies, the $4.99 monthly fee was adding up.

Last week I received a direct mail solicitation from Netflix asking me to come back. It was a traditional “win back” offer targeting cancelled customers.

The piece encouraged me to use my Priority Code by February 28, 2010 to get “so much for only $4.99 a month”.  Secondarily, it mentioned Netflix’s newest feature, the ability to download movies to my Tivo or computer, as well as their competitive advantages: no due dates, no late fees, and no need to rush to a kiosk (the latter being a direct shot at RedBox).

I thought the six-month follow-up from Netflix was terrific, as cancelled customers are highly responsive, but the meaningless priority code seemed a bit deceptive and the heavy-handed focus on price seemed off base.  I would have preferred a simple letter saying “we want you back and here are some new things you can do with Netflix.”

If you want to win a customer back, be open and honest.  Tell them why you want them back and what they have been missing.  Former customers chose you once so they know who you are. As a result, your sales pitch should be more transparent.

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Rooms To Go and BrandsMart Co-Habitate

Ca$h for CouchesSince Ca$h for Couches didn’t have the right cache Rooms To Go (a value furniture retailer) and BrandsMart (a value electronics retailer) recently launched a co-promotion where your purchase at Rooms To Go gets you a gift card to BrandsMart and vice-versa.

Both companies saw an opportunity to tap into each other’s brand equity and similar target audience to create an incentive for customers to buy – which is difficult as people continue to keep their wallets shut.

Instead of giving people money to purchase new furniture ala Cash for Clunkers, Rooms To Go and BrandsMart provided people the opportunity to finish a room via a new computer to go with that new office desk or a new kitchen set to complemented by a new refrigerator.

Like these two retailers, most businesses can benefit from an alliance, the key is selecting the right one.

When choosing a company to align with ask these questions:

  • Do you have complementary products/services?
  • Do you share a similar audience?
  • Are your brands in sync? (i.e. are you both value brands or luxury brands)
  • Do you service the same geographic area?
  • Does the complementary brand benefit your brand?
  • Is the revenue potential equitable?

Once you have decided to align and share customers remember these steps I published in my December 1, 2008 entry regarding Sharing Customers.

1. Reputation – Make sure the company you partner with has a reputation you want to be associated with.

2. Courtesy – Let the company you are partnering with make the introduction to their customers and vice-versa.  It’s just good customer etiquette.

3. Incentive – Provide an exclusive offer to these new customers to encourage them to try your services.

4. Recognition – If you are going to market directly to their customers, make sure you merge your customer information so you don’t market to their customers who may also be your customers.

5. Tracking – Make sure you are able to track which new customers come from their customer base so you know if the partnership is equitable.

Now is the time to be creative, take risks and try new things in the name of business, however, when you do, make sure you stay true to your brand.

Following the steps outlined here will help you do that.

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In Marketing It Isn’t About Selling

Stop SignIs your company selling or are your consumers buying?

In marketing, it really doesn’t matter what you are selling; what matters is how your audience is buying.

The late Billy Mays and his business partner Anthony Sullivan knew this well.

At first glance you’d think their products were all about selling things people really didn’t need. If you ever watched Pitchmen, you’d see it wasn’t as much about what they were selling, but what the audience was buying.

People bought OxiClean for a better way to whiten their clothes or Shuffles for an easier way to clean their floors.

Mays and Sullivan didn’t take the product inventor’s word for it either – they went out and conducted their own research to learn the consumer benefits of each product.  Only after understanding why the consumer was buying would they put their name behind it.

When I was working with a national pest control company, we were selling their effectiveness in killing bugs. After some ethnographic research, however, we discovered that consumers were really buying the pride that came with a clean home.  Bugs weren’t seen as a nuisance or being gross; they were a reflection of that person’s ability to provide a clean environment for their family.

Changing our marketing approach to speak to what people were buying increased sales and customer retention.

Are you selling or are your consumers buying? Answer these five questions to find out:

  • Do you speak in terms of product benefits?
  • What is the true benefit your company provides your audience?
  • Do you know all the ways your audience uses your product or service?
  • What is the one question customers ask most often about your product or service?
  • Have you addressed that question in your communications other than in the FAQs?

If you answered “no” or “I don’t know” to any of these questions, take a step back and look at your entire organization: from how you answer the phone, handle a sales call, promote your company to communicate on your website.

Chances are you’re telling your customers what you want them to hear instead of answering what they need to hear. Remember – the audience is always buying if you deliver what they really and truly want.

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Rethinking iPhone Apps As A Branding Tool

iphoneWhat if every time someone picked up their iPhone (or other mobile device) they saw your logo?

It’s possible through mobile phone applications  or apps.

Apps range from the helpful like The Weather Channel, to the ridiculous like Pee Monkey (and no, I did not make that up).

They have transformed how we judge and use mobile devices.

Apps are also becoming big business.  In fact, Apple apps are fast approaching 1 billion downloads.

So how does the average business benefit from apps and justify development costs?

The answer: top of mind awareness.

Let’s just say a pest control company creates an app that lets you identify common household pests. The downloadable app is handy when those little black bugs are swarming in your kitchen, and a reminder of a company’s brand when the user sees your logo on his phone 20x per day. More importantly, when you have a pest control problem, what company would be top of mind?

This can work for so many industries: electricians, attorneys, plumbers, fitness centers, etc. And chances are, creating an app is more affordable than a sustained advertising campaign. (One company I recommend for iPhone app development is A Clever Twist.)

An app can be a valuable – and unique – tool for building your brand, so consider it as one aspect of your overall branding efforts to keep your name out in front of potential customers.


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