Marketing results can surprise us all, and I’ve certainly had my share of unexpected results just recently. Taking the time to embrace these moments can lead to much more relevant messaging and a healthier approach to work.
I recently completed my MBA, and the structured learning environment was a wonderful, though exhausting, experience. I deeply appreciated the challenge of it all, and I put other learning endeavors on hold as I focused on completing the curriculum.
Since school has finished, I started getting caught up on other business and personal health books that I wanted to read. I’ve knocked a few out, but I’ve had this nagging feeling for a bit: now isn’t the time to keep cramming more knowledge in.
It’s time to reflect on all of the lessons I’ve received, whether at work, in school, or in my own time reading.
Today’s post is just that: a chance to slow down and really take in what’s happening. These thoughts aren’t overly profound, but in talking with a number of other marketing professionals, I’ve noticed that we have too much tendency to run on to the next thing and the next thing after that.
With all of the demands for our time and attention (not just marketers, but all professionals), it’s easy to blow right past the obvious.
Like any business, we have a group of clients that aren’t as engaged. We send outreach every once in a while, but we aren’t looking for that messaging to have a major impact when we send it out.
We recently had a discussion as a team about a more important message that we wanted to make sure our clients saw, and there was concern about this message getting ignored by too large a group.
I came up with a plan that would allow us to update contact information for our clients, first by a personalized email sent manually and then by phone if we had no response. The reasoning here was that we needed to make sure we were at least getting to the right people.
After the verification stuff was out of the way, then we could focus on the important part of the engagement (in my mind), which was getting our message out.
In our contact verification process, our team took the time to explain that we were reaching out to verify that we had the right contacts so that we might continue to improve the service we offer.
That was the only “pitch” we were making in the letter. Are you the right person, and are these details correct?
Here’s where the surprise came in. I was just hoping for people to reply with a yes or no (and maybe even a “here’s the correct info” if we needed it). We certainly got plenty of those responses, but we also ended up with an unexpected batch.
Our letter led to several conversations of “I’m so glad you reached out, we have all of these needs.”
This one customer service message or account management message (whatever label you prefer) was more effective than several marketing messages we had sent in the past.
I have some theories.
- Email clients are getting better and better at filtering out marketing messages.
- People are getting better at ignoring marketing messages.
- This is the one that hit home the most, a personal touch makes a big difference.
This was a genuine conversation, not an attempt to just pitch someone on a new service or an attempt to squeeze a broadcast message into an email.
Announcement email has its place, but I hardly feel compelled to respond to that message when it arrives.
My takeaway here is to embrace the personal when possible. Yes, automation can be very helpful, but personal engagement still stands out.
Naming a Podcast
We have a new podcast coming. I’m crazy excited about this project, and I can’t wait to see it get off the ground.
More about that later, but for now, I want to talk about coming up with a name for the podcast. I came up with an idea that I loved, and my boss came up with an idea that he felt strongly about.
I’m going to tell you now that I’m not listing out the podcast names we came up with in this post. (I know I’m being a tease, but bear with me.)
We had two podcast names, and I went ahead and threw in a third, which was a close variation to the name my boss had picked. I figured that maybe I could get at the spirit of what he was saying without using the exact language that he had.
I remembered something I’d read in Tim Ferris’ book 4-Hour Workweek where he talked about creating a few different book covers with different titles and placing them on a shelf in a busy bookstore. He then took notes about how often people would stop to pick up the different versions of the book in order to understand what most appealed to people.
Thankfully, I can test a podcast name with a landing page and some targeted audiences in Facebook and Twitter.
I set up my campaign, targeted my desired audiences and started the campaign.
Within a few days, I had an overwhelming leader… the name my boss picked.
When I say overwhelming, I think the final results were something like 3 to 1.
My name was nowhere near the lead.
My takeaway: you have to test. We could have spent a lot of time arguing about the name. One of us could have conceded in the interest of getting the name settled more quickly, but we wouldn’t have found out if we were on the right track until we got the podcast published. At the point of publication, we’ll be fighting a lot of battles for attention simultaneously. It would be tough to know if the podcast name was the true point of friction.
Testing has its limits. Plenty of people do market tests with new movies or new products and still end up bombing on release. It’s not a panacea, but it’s worth the effort.
I’ve been in marketing for ten years now. My work keeps evolving, and I have to keep on learning. I would love to say that I’ve gotten to a point where I fully understand the minds of our consumers, but I haven’t.
Even if I had it all figured out today, it would be different tomorrow.