The Power of Well-Placed Marketing, Part 2

You may think this is odd, and that’s your right, it’s your opinion. But it fits with what I said in my last post.

I had the opportunity to venture into a correctional facility recently (as a VISITOR, mind you, a VISITOR). And lo and behold, what’s on the wall in the waiting room but an ad for Western Union. It was rather benefit-oriented too, describing how the fees were cheaper compared to other similar services from competitors. There was even a Spanish version of the ad accompanying the English version. I suppose this is a good venue to find folks who need to send money.

See, even in a jailhouse waiting room you can find a captive audience (no applause for the humor, please) of customers. Again, if you know who your target customers are, you can think of where to find them when their attention is meaningful.

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The Power of Well-Placed Marketing

A couple of timely developments heavily influenced the writing of this post.

One is that, against my better judgement, I ignored AT&T’s repeated attempts to lose me as a customer and got an iPhone (turns out the customer-friendliness of Apple trumps the terrible service of AT&T). So I have WordPress on my iPhone, as well as Airplane Mode that let’s me use it on a plane. I can write this post, save a local draft, and publish it when I land and reconnect to the world of 3G. It’s a beautiful thing.

The other inspiration for this post is the ingenuity and timliness of marketing ( and marketERS) that hits me at times when I experience it from the other side of the fence. I’m flying JetBlue right now, and just got handed a sample on the plane. It’s a Dove lotion sample with a coupon included. If you travel alot you know airplane cabins mean stuffy air, or dry air from the air vents blasting. In the cold of winter it’s worse. I tend to travel prepared for that, but sometimes (like today) I’m among those whose lotion is packed in a TSA-compliant plastic bag in my travel bag in the overhead bin. So it’s a clear case of right sample at the right time. That’s the beauty of that tactic.

That simplicity and effectiveness are what our jobs as marketers are all about. For all the times we have to sell ourselves to management, sell our brands to customers, and put so much work into that big idea, sometimes it’s just as simple as doing the right simple thing at the right time. Dove just made it happen in a very simple and metric-measurable way on my flight. There are a few others for sure, like the DirectTV I’m watching and the RockStar enerygy drink I can order — two perfect things for a flight.

Take a minute to rethink how your customers make it through each day, and where your product or service fits perfectly. What do they do, travel on, travel to, watch, eat, read and buy? And where do the opportunities lie for you to hit that sweet spot of the right time and place for your message?

Takeaways from 2008

Took a little holiday break, recharged the batteries, and now I am back and ready to blog. Hope you all had a good holidays.

The thing I thought of the most over the last few weeks was listing the key things I learned from the 12 slow-grinding months of 2008. What things were most impactful, what did I spend time on that was not worth it, what worked and didn’t work, and what things do I need to be aware of for 2009. Here’s a few things on the list, take a good long look:

Heed the Importance of Integrated Search Strategy
Everyone needs an ISS. It’s no longer just buy a few keywords and add some meta tags to your site. You need to tie in your paid buys with everything from site content to link text to URL strings. And you need to understand the metrics that provide the ROI you need to refine your strategy.

Cost Doesn’t Matter — It’s Value
Even in a disastrous economy like we have now, price-cutting or giving something away for free isn’t necessarily the answer. The answer is ensuring your customers find value in what they get for what they pay. So focus on improving your product, your offer, your knowledge of customer needs, and the way you communicate your value proposition.

Get Closer to Customers
No groundbreaking revalation there, yet it always pops up to the top of my lists. Without systematic, frequent and measured analysis of customer needs and perceptions, how can you do important things like deliver value?

Be Prepared for the Worst
No marketer plans to fail. Yet we all know that things happen to throw us off track — bad economies, last-minute changes, website crashes, even some knucklehead hijacking your Twitter account (a Twidiot, if you will). So put your time into crafting a solid strategy, yet be aware of what the options are if the bad happens.

Best of luck in 2009. Charge ahead.