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Amplify before you Promote 20 May, 2007

Posted by varoom in Marketing Plans.
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Too often marketing and promotional activities are not maximised before they are implemented. Publicity events need to be promoted to your target audience in order to ensure they are at least aware of the event even if they cannot attend.

Amplify before you Promote” is a theory that you will yield much more by careful build up with key targets before the event. If you are planning a press event do some research on the journalists track records, what kind of articles do they write, what are their personal interests, who do they write for, what kind of articles will these media be looking for. You could ask to see the program of planned articles for the journalist or magazine and see if your have a match. If there is a match then offer to contribute material for the upcoming article.

Then you need a plan of how you are going to Amplify the event and to increase the number of press hits you will get afterwards. What’s news worthy in what your event is announcing? Is it possible to have multiple exclusives targeted at different channels? The advance build up can be in many forms, embargoed press briefings, meetings with industry analysts, tailored stories and exclusives for specific journalists.

In some industries a tour of the industry analysts long before the embargo deadline will build up awareness in that community. Then when you come to do pre-event press interviews they will leave and call their pet analyst to check their opinion on what you are saying. If you have done a good job early enough the analyst will be aware of your announcement (good for his future credibility) and will give a positive response if you did your job well enough.

Another key tool is selected interviews with key senior people. For a few journalists offer targeted interviews on specific subjects of interest to them with some exclusivity element.

Also don’t forget the post event follow up to ensure that a review will be written, if there are any outstanding questions, missing information, maybe to give some new information (maybe deliberately) that was not revealed on the day.

This “Amplify before you Promote” is not limited to press events, any promotional activity to any audience can be accelerated in some way. You just need to find the right people to amplify. These are usually the movers and shakers, the fashion icons, the role models, the people who make an event a success just because they attend. Get the right people there and get them talking about you afterwards.

Greville Commins

Relate before you Advocate 3 May, 2007

Posted by varoom in Selling.
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The successful selling approach can be structured into stages and many schools of thought have their own definition of these stages. One such school (Wilson Learning) breaks the key selling stages down into Prospecting, Relating, Discovery, Advocating and Supporting. I have personally found that these stages are representative of most selling situations. I have also found that organising my marketing to support each stage has yielded repeatable benefits.

In simple terms Prospecting should be obvious but it is the stage where you offer enough juicy information to the potential customer to gain his attention and is prepared to listen. The prospective customer could be just passing by or a chance encounter or part of a meeting where other subjects are being discussed.

Relating, to be discussed later, but in short is the stage in which you build up the customers belief that you understand his problems and needs.

Discovery is a key stage where you draw out more information about the needs you know the customers has, maybe discover some that you didn’t know about and more importantly verify your knowledge of those needs.

Advocating, in detail below, is where you begin to offer your products as solutions to the customers specific and verified needs. You also detail various features and benefits that the customer gains from using your product.

Finally, supporting, once you have won your customer over to your product the selling process often does not stop there. Rarely will you get a purchase order at this meeting. In most larger companies your customer now has to take the case for your product inside his own company and convince others to accept the product as a solution. In effect he becomes your salesman, sometimes referred to as your champion, in the sale of your product. You need to support him in this process. That’s why it’s called the supporting stage.

Adapting your marketing approach to fall into a sales compatible approach, developing marketing support tools that can be used during each stage and finally providing materials that you champion can use inside his own company, will all yield benefits.

Two key stages that I want to debate here are Relating and Advocating.

In summary it’s important to relate to the customer before trying to sell (advocate) your product. The relating stage of the selling process is where you convince the potential customer of your knowledge of his market, applications, concerns and issues. This builds a comprehension, in the mind of the potential customer, that you at least understand and relate to his problems. Once this level of shared understanding is reached you can use this as a basis for advocating a solution to the problems based on a product that you have to offer.

Switching too early to the advocating stage or missing out the relating phase altogether risks a failure to capture the attention and trust of the customer.

Think of your own behaviour when faced with a pushy salesman, how do feel?, how do you react?, do you disengage or switch off?, what did the salesman do wrong in your own eyes?

A big part of professional selling is the understanding that the sales process depends on successful interpersonal relationships. As in real life if you try to accelerate the course of relationship building you risk losing everything.

Greville Commins