Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Knock, Knock

Knock, knock

It happened again.

I answered the front door - which was an interruption. It always is. Why don’t door knockers understand that they are interrupting? I was not waiting for the visit.

As a marketer I am always interested in what salespeople are doing and saying. But I don’t have much patience. And I can be more edgy then some. Yet I have some empathy because I knocked on a lot of doors as a sales person, fund raiser and political campaigner.

I opened the door.

“How are you today?” (A stupid opening.)

“What do you want?” was my reply.

He then backed several steps away and mumbled something I didn’t hear.

When he had retreated to a safe distance he recovered, “Hello, I am Roberto. We are doing a lot of business in your neighborhood and my boss sent me.”

“So who cares?” was my reply.

Then Roberto backed up even more and replied, “I’m sorry” and then he walked away.

I don’t know if I wanted what Roberto was selling. I don’t know what Roberto was selling. He clearly didn’t understand that I wanted to know what was in if for me before I would listen to anything else he had to say.

Poor, stupid Roberto. He didn’t know how to describe what he was selling – because he failed to clarify it in the first few seconds of contact. He failed to capture my interest.

He wasted my time by asking, “How are you today?” That question is both an insult and waste of time. I knew that he didn’t care “how I am today” yet he pretended to care. I was insulted by that. Too many telemarketers still start their call with that phrase.

I was interrupted and then he wasted my time by telling me his name and a stupid lie that they are doing a lot of business in the neighborhood. So by that point I didn’t like him or trust him. And I still didn’t know why I should listen.

After he wasted the first critical seconds of our contact I posed the question, “So who cares?” A question for which he was not prepared because he retreated. That was a question – not an objection. He had not told me what he was selling and refused to tell me. A question is just that – a question. I asked a question – gave him an opening - and he failed to pounce on it. Have you noticed how some sales people shut down when you ask them a direct question?

Poor, stupid Roberto. He failed to engage me in the first critical seconds of contact. I wonder if he will play back that scene and analyze it so he can correct his behavior for next time. If not then he wasted his time as well as mine. At least I got a story for my blog.

So what can you use from this incident?

1. Questions might just be questions.
2. Always be prepared for your worst questions.
3. Be prepared to adapt to different styles of your listener.
4. Time is a valuable resource – don’t waste it.
5. The first few seconds of contact can make or break the sale.
6. Ask yourself “So who cares?” before you deliver your sales presentation.

For more tough questions and a Marketing Tune Up contact;

George Torok
Marketing Agitator

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Marketing Art or Science?

Marketing Art or Science

Is marketing an art or a science? The answer is yes. Marketing is both – an art and a science.

Marketing Science
Marketing is a science because marketing is about understanding and influencing behaviors. Psychology, the science of behaviors, studies how people react to certain stimuli in predictable ways. This is similar to Newton’s’ third law – cause and effect.

Marketing Art
Marketing is an art because marketing is about appreciating the nuances of human behaviors. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is art.

Marketing Science
Marketing is a science because marketing is about measuring and analyzing the numbers. How many do you reach? How many read your message? How many do you convert to buyers? How much do they spend? How many buy again? These are numeric questions and answers and important to the success of your marketing.

Marketing Art
Marketing is art because marketing is creating a demand for your product. Some of that demand is immediate and some of it is in the future. You can try to use science to predict the future part but you might pick a number based on art. There is always an unknown aspect that we attribute to art.

Marketing Science
Marketing is a science because the most common question is “How much money should I spend on marketing?” The business owner and the accountants want the answer to this question. It’s a good question but the more important question is, “What return can you expect from your marketing investment?”

Marketing Art
Marketing is an art because there is the issue of branding which is difficult to measure. To generate a good return on your marketing investment requires a creative approach. That means apply the art of marketing.

Of course the argument of science versus art over marketing could go on. Is it art? Is it science?

I believe that many marketers try to portray marketing as art. And hence they give up responsibility for their marketing programs. They suggest that marketing is all chance. Instead it is a science that should draw upon the art. Don’t let art dictate the direction of your marketing. Use science to determine major decisions and use the art for the nuances.

Is marketing a science or art? I believe that it is both art and science. Most importantly the science should lead and measure and the art should inspire and create.

That is the art and science of marketing.

George Torok
Marketing Specialist

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Viral Marketing

Viral Marketing

Viral Marketing is so powerful because it is like a train building up speed. Once it is moving you can’t stop it without derailing the train. It takes a lot of steam to get the train moving. And it is difficult to stop.

Viral marketing is apply named because, when done right, it spreads like a virus. The term viral marketing might be too graphic for some because it brings to mind the viral spread of disease such as the bubonic plague, typhoid, and AIDS.

None of those viral diseases are nice things. But a virus in your marketing is powerful and can be hugely profitable.

Viral marketing is about spreading your message through networks. Some networks are more efficient than others. Meetings, family gatherings, community groups, religion, phone calls, peer pressure, media, email and blogs. Viral marketing is by persistence, passion and purpose.

The growth of almost every religion was the result of viral marketing. Every social change is the result of viral marketing.

The growth of Rock and Roll was because of viral marketing. Rock and Roll wasn’t big business until big business noticed the success of Rock and Roll despite the actions of the establishment.

The American Revolution was sparked because of viral marketing. The end of the Vietnam War was the result of viral marketing. Neither was a military decision. Nelson Mandela was freed from 28 years of prison by viral marketing. It is also likely that the Soviet Union was destroyed by viral marketing.

The success of viral marketing is determined by critical mass. And critical mass is determined by numbers and the power of the individuals. The power of the individuals is determined by their ability to connect and influence.

When John Lennon suggested that the Beatles were more popular/powerful than Jesus Christ he was correctly pointing out that power. The popularity of the Beatles was the product of viral marketing. Why else would anyone remember where they were the day that John Lennon was shot? Why else would so many people revere the Beatles 35 years after they disbanded? Viral marketing.

The reaction to the introduction of New Coke was viral marketing in action. A powerful critical mass rebelled against the corporate decision. Drug use has grown because of viral marketing. The explosion of cell phone use is the result of viral marketing.

Viral marketing can help you. It can also hurt you. If you plant and fertilize the seeds of viral marketing you must listen to the virus. Because viral marketing is about planting seeds, fanning the growth, letting go and watching what happens.

Are you ready for viral marketing? Ready or not it’s here. The real question is how might you leverage viral marketing to work for you.

George Torok
Best-selling Marketing Author
Marketing Consultant
Executive Briefings

Friday, July 13, 2007

Port Dover & Friday 13th

Port Dover – Viral Marketing

Port Dover & Friday 13th. What image does that stir up in your mind? Port Dover, Ontario is a sleepy little cottage town on the northern shores of Lake Erie.

If you are a motorcycle rider then you might know that Port Dover is the place to be on Friday the 13th. This week Friday the 13th falls on July 13, 2007. Port Dover expects to receive up to 100,000 visitors. Many of them will arrive on motorcycles. Some will stay for the day and many will stay for a few days. For the town of Port Dover that means a huge influx of business. There is an important marketing lesson in this.

Port Dover used to be a sleepy little fishing village on Lake Erie. Lake Erie Perch makes a delicious meal. Port Dover still has a small fishing industry. When you are in Port Dover you might eat at the Arbor which is famous for its foot long hotdogs and fries. (The fries are not a foot long.)

How did this Port Dover Friday the 13th thing start?

From Wikipedia
“Since 1981, there has been a tradition of motorcycle enthusiasts gathering in the town of Port Dover on Friday the 13th. Chris Simons and approximately 25 friends, through word of mouth, got together at the Commercial Hotel, now known as Angelos of Dover. It was in November and it was Friday the 13th. They decided they should do it every Friday the 13th. On May 13, 2005, an estimated 75,000 bikers and spectators crammed into Port Dover.”

This is a great example of viral marketing in action. Because a group of 25 motorcycle riders got together on Friday the 13th in 1981 a tradition has blossomed. Twenty-five blossomed into tens of thousands. That’s how viral marketing works. Word of mouth and it takes time. Predictions are for 100,000 visitors this Friday 13th in Port Dover.

I often advise my clients to claim one day of the year for their annual promotion. This is even better because Port Dover claims Friday the 13th which comes up two or three times a year.

George Torok
Marketing Expert
Motorcycle rider
Port Dover Friday 13