“15 to 20 years ago, you could mail a bunch of postcards and get the phone to ring. Not anymore,” said a wine master to me last fall at a vineyard outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. “What’s going on?” he asked.
The answer? Technology, pure and simple. The “silver bullet” no longer exists for lead generation today.
Here’s a good example. I get to meet all kinds of people with my work, and I’m seeing a trend. People in today’s workforce – regardless of their career path – feel technology keeps them continually connected to their job responsibilities, virtually every waking minute. The result for marketers? What we used to know as relaxed mindshare for brand message penetration is more difficult to achieve. Next, add the web and social media to that dynamic. Between Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and various information portals, it’s becoming more difficult to reach people with brand messages and lead generation tactics because mindshare is so fragmented.
So, how should you plan your marketing strategy?
Think of an orchestra, with you being the conductor. You need to assemble the right collection of “instruments” to make the “right kind of music.” Start by creating a personality for your brand, and have those key brand attributes reflected in the look and feel of your messaging. As for your marketing mix, depending on your type of business, here’s pretty much the core set of components for a well-integrated lead generation campaign today:
- Public Relations and Social Media: Be sure to use the right keywords that your customers would typically search for when you issue news alerts about your business and when you blog.
- Networking and Community Outreach: If you’re not comfortable talking to total strangers and engaging them in a dialogue, you better learn how to do that if you want to succeed in your own business today. The days of hiding behind your desk and waiting for the phone to ring are over. Connect with clubs, organizations – even your local Chamber of Commerce – focusing on people who are good candidates for whatever it is you’re selling.
- Pay-Per-Click and Search Engine Marketing One of the wonders of the web is that today we can identify potential prospects that may make good customers based on their purchasing behavior and their demonstrated interest by what they view and contribute to in blogs, on message boards and throughout social media. There are many good resources available to help you in this regard, including Google AdWords and Reach Local.
- Mob Discount Promotions: With Groupon, Living Social, Google Offers now in full swing – and Facebook starting to monetize its “Like” pages, spread your brand message to your community with this growing concept in “introduction by discount.” If your business clicks with the person redeeming the offer, you just may have a customer for life if you cultivate that relationship. Be sure to obtain the e-mail address of every prospect for future re-marketing.
- Direct Mail: Be it one-on-one life stage targeting (selling to people who are more inclined to be interested in what you’re selling because of the current stage they are in their lives – think expectant mothers – or participation in a packaged shared mailer concept (like Valpak, Home Mag, Clipper Magazine, RSVP Publications, City Publications or Money Mailer) I still like direct mail. It’s all about staying in front of your prospects (three impressions a year is recommended) so that when the need for your product or service presents itself, you a greater likelihood of seriously being considered because you are “familiar” and remembered.
Larry Spada is Brand Strategist for Outdoor Living Brands, the world’s only outdoor living concepts franchise company. An integrated brand expert, he has held top posts at iXL Enterprises, Wray Ward and at his own brand consultation practice.