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Marketing all about promoting a conversation

When I’m working with a client to create a marketing campaign, one of the questions that always comes up is how to best present the company so prospective clientele is ready to buy.

I have pondered this question for quite awhile to really process the methods that are most effective. One of the biggest changes in the marketing world has been the transfer from representing the company as a large entity and instead presenting a spokesperson or point of contact.

There are certainly examples where promoting your team will be most effective. In most cases, the answer, as I found it, is that by addressing potential prospects in the first person, you’re cultivating the development of an interpersonal relationship. What I mean by this is you start becoming a tangible human with whom a prospect wants to talk instead of an unapproachable corporate team.

This goes past the stale business-to-business relationship and follows the same evolution of marketing from a “campaign” to a “conversation.” It’s no longer about how well you can put together an “ad” campaign. In today’s business environment, it’s about how well you can hold a conversation.

Large companies are finding that if they have a spokesperson or a point of contact, consumers are more likely to make the purchase.
This is exactly where companies of all sizes are finding success in the social media realm. By encouraging conversation, individual members of a company actively communicate directly with their clientele. This creates the interpersonal feeling in the relationship, which equals more sales and therefore more profit.

How is it possible that something like this is actually working? In many ways it flies directly in the face of traditional marketing methods that have worked in the past.

My personal theory is that consumers are tired of the barrage of advertisements and marketing campaigns.  Instead of being told they should buy your product, consumers appreciate that companies ask them what they want. By opening themselves up to active communication and conversation, companies are creating products and services consumers enjoy more. This means consumers are willing to buy more of the product or make the purchase from your company over your competition.

It’s all about approachability. Is your brand and your company approachable? When someone wants to talk with your company, do you make sure the path is clear and that they will not only be listened to, but their views will be respected and used in product development whenever possible?

When you’re walking your prospect through the process of purchasing from you, there will come a time when they need to see you have an entire team working with you to make the product or service sale come to fruition. By allowing the prospect to have a go-to person they trust, you’re creating the foundation for not just one successful sale — but the prospect of many sales in the future.

Knowing in advance of your marketing campaign what you want consumers to do is imperative to a successful campaign. If you’re the point of contact for the company, you should know exactly what you want a consumer to think and feel when they learn about your product. Have a plan for what steps they will take after learning about you and know exactly what your response will be when they approach you. Develop a plan for followup and be willing to change and mold that plan as you move forward and measure its effectiveness.

As a general rule of thumb, I recommend you always follow up with a prospect, even if you know they’ve purchased from your competition. By showing them the conversation is still open, you’re demonstrating your willingness to hear what they have to say and continue to strengthen your own product or service for the next consumer. By showing you’re still accessible if they ever need your product again, you just may have that opportunity for the sale.

Here’s the gist: If you talk like a large corporation, no one wants to work with you. If you talk as just a guy who does a good job and who happens to work at a large corporation, then you’re on the path to a successful business relationship.

Christy Hovland is managing partner at Hovland Marketing in Fruita. Hovland is available for public speaking engagements that inspire your inner marketing genius. Contact her at http://www.facebook.com/hovlandmarketing and follow her on http://www.twitter.com/christyhovland
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Posted by on Feb 9 2011. Filed under Contributors. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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