It’s not about ‘Share of market’. It’s all about ‘Share of customer’

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Writing to Sell.

It’s not about ‘Share of market’. It’s all about ‘Share of customer’.


Meeting introduction.


  • Do the people you are addressing have a pre-conceived mind-set?

  • Have they a ‘hidden’ agenda?

  • “Butt in any time,” versus “Leave your questions to the end”

  • What length-of-time will the meeting take?

  • Do you want an aggressive/passive attitude to their learning curve?

  • Should they take notes? How long for questions during or after, notes left etc.?

SWOT analysis.


Always scan this checklist to ensure you’re not missing something vital.


  • What business are you in? (If you can’t get this right in five words, go back to the drawing board.) Qantas…“Airline “ versus “Communication.” “ Death initiation” versus “Making explosives.”

  • Product: How does yours compare with the competition? (Remember Champagne.)

  • Pricing: (When Volvo doubled their price, they doubled their sales.)

  • Packaging: Does it reflect your company’s philosophy/ care for the consumer? And do you find over-packaging a ‘PITA’?

  • Trends in sales and market shares: The history, how, why and by whom?

  • Too hard, but try! Distribution levels, by region, by wholesaler. By retailer.

Advertising spend, in which medium, by brand and by retailer. What worked? What didn’t, and why?

  • Promotional spend, again by city, by state, country versus city.

  • Creative: Test at low cost. The consumer will tell you what does, and what does not appeal. And test what communications your opponents are running too.

  • Brand awareness: (High awareness does not necessarily relate to market share.)

  • Consumer loyalty to the product or service. (Important or not?)


  • Attitudes to purchase by psycho, demo, income and ethnic.


Note: The ethnic culture in Australia is fascinating. They tend to be; brand loyal, deeply family oriented, follow the leader, wear their wealth on their sleeve, are often in food-related businesses, are proud of tradition, are high users of mobile ‘phones and visually ‘fast’ cars. Depending on nationality, assimilation into ‘traditional’ Australian culture takes time. Italians? Dutch? German? Brits? Easy. Middle Eastern country’s, …little more difficult.
Briefing: (Traditional.)

Objective, Target audience, Key consumer benefit, Support, Tone and manner.


My best brief:
Who are we talking to?

What do they think/know about the product/service now?

What do we want them to think?

What do we want them to do?

What emotional residual do we wish them to have?
Presenting:
War room. Know your client/prospect intimately. Content, not quality. Read along? Flash or Powerpoint? Overhead? Slides? Hand written /blow-up charts?
The Importance of the Unique Selling Proposition. (USP)

It should be five words or less. “Things go better with Coke.”



It’s particularly relevant with outdoor.
Kick tyres.
The more you know about your client’s product or service, the more likely you are to find a USP. (‘Spray starch’ v/s Ironing easier, better result, proud mum. ‘Steam cleaned.’)
I’ll bet you remember your lover’s first letter!
But think about it. What chance you still have it? But…do you want her/him for life?
Successful relationships are built on trust.

And like a good friendship, they need a lot of time, care and effort. (E.g. American Express versus the local pub.)

But then, how do you say it?
The following is a partial ‘knock-off’ from Drayton Bird. He’s well recognised in the CRM ‘business’. See if you can argue his logic.


  1. Is there a letter? It’s vital because it’s personal. Put a brochure in the same envelope, you’ll scan the brochure and chuck the lot. In many cases, the lack of a brochure raises the response rate. (Would you include a brochure in a letter to your lover?)

  2. Does it read like a letter? Read it out loud. It should sound like a good friend talking to you, caring about you, possibly giving you advice.

  3. Does it look like a letter or an ‘ad’.

  4. A hand written envelope, with an ordinary postage stamp works better every time, particularly in charity work.

  5. Does it waffle? It depends on the consumer, but in general, benefits versus features, interest the reader. (Let’s not debate automotive. Features are paramount.)

  6. Talk his/ her language. Who cares that you’re a brilliant writer. If “ Good to seeyus luv” works better than “Good morning madam”, go for it.

  7. Please don’t use boring or jargoned clichés! “Key issues”, Cutting edge”, “The state of the art”, “Our strategic stance, our tactical objective”…all of which is laughable.

  8. In a world filled with jargon, speak simply. If you want someone to listen, whisper. No one really wants to listen to a ‘SHOUTER”.

  9. Use short words. “ Now you can get it for free!” Just say, “Free”.

  10. Active or passive? “Tomorrow” sounds like a good delivery time to me.
  11. Warm and friendly. Charming. Enthusiastic. “She made me smile. I don’t need one of those today, but I’ll go back there when I do.” Ask yourself how many times a happy, smiling face (How about a letter?) will take to back to that point of purchase?


  12. “Why on earth should I believe you?” Testimonials from someone you KNOW has knowledge in a specific product category will convince you there are good reasons to consider the product/service. Personalities (E.g. A fashion model.) are not believable when we discuss the fine detail of automobiles.

  13. When writing letters, the ‘PS’ works its balls off. It is often the most read sentence in a DM letter. Take care. It must be worth reading.

  14. KISS! Everyone knows it. Don’t talk down. Don’t talk up. The consumer is not a moron. He/she is you partner.

  15. If you can’t sign the letter by hand, spend a little more money having your signature printed in blue/black ink. Promise. It changes the response rate. Always up. Never down.

Be ‘objective’ mad.


“Mr Client. Repeat after me. The objective of this communication is….”

And don’t leave until the objective is agreed.



Similes rarely work.

‘Extreme sport’. So you’re a great skier. A world best at surfing?

Because you are good at one thing means nothing to me, as a cyclist.

Skill in one area, irrelevant to the product category, leaves most consumers baffled.

Test, test, test…


Then bloody well test it again.

Copy, layout, colours, offers, terms, pricing, conditions, envelopes, mailing lists.

Then challenge your best result.
Success in CRM is measured in results. ROI!

If you’re into awards, get out of the business. Never forget the call to action.



What should you spend?


What level of investment should you make against a specific prospect/ current customer? Again, it’s called ROI!

What’s a ‘good’ response rate?

2% can be excellent. Aim for 100%…and don’t forget the wedding.
Don’t be afraid of long copy.
David Ogilvy wrote an ad. called,

“How to create advertising that sells”


It was a full page. Serif type. Maybe one illustration. In the last paragraph in the ad. of around two thousand words, he wrote a sub-head “ Do people read long copy?”

You know the rest of the story.



New versus Old?

It cost nine times more to gain a new customer than it to keep a current customer.



It costs around fifty times more to re-gain a dissatisfied customer than to gain just one new customer.
Never forget! A complaint fixed quickly and professionally, is one of the best ways of building loyalty for life.
Follow KISS.
The fewer decisions a customer or prospect needs to make, the greater the response.
Word of Mouth.
This has always been, and will always be, the most effective form of advertising.
Incidentally.

  • Envelopes can telegraph a message.

  • “How to make money”, ”How to save money, save time or avoid effort.” are headlines which simply will never wear out.

  • Attention, Interest, Desire, Action, or AIDA, is an oldie but a goody.

  • If a TVC does not work with the sound turned off, the message should be on radio. Grab the reader’s/watcher’s attention.” I’ll have five Cougars please”.

  • Involvement is important. (“How to get there. Anywhere. And Back!”)

  • Measure results any way you like. It’s always ROI. (Cattle dogs and ‘Cost per sale’.)



Any Questions?

Hugh Kidman. Mob: 0412 200 320 Evening: 0510 0410.


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