Last Tuesday as I was having lunch in the Tampa airport, an article in the local paper reminded me that our neighbors to the east in Wisconsin were voting to recall their governor, Scott Walker. He was not a crook, didn’t sleep inappropriately with anyone, but he was being recalled because he did his job and a lot of cheeseheads over there didn’t like him.
Let’s translate the headline, “Wisconsin Votes Today to Recall Governor” into your everyday marketing.
This week’s AH-ha! moment suggests that every brand, every business, every service, every non-profit is in a daily recall election – and it’s really personal. Not only is it personal, it can be deadly. We are not considering the internal recall elections where stakeholders try to oust the leadership team or hostile takeovers. We are focusing on your business and how marketing teams have to include this concept in their business and marketing plans.
It may be more operational than marketing driven. It may be more tactical than strategic. In either case, it’s real and we believe that marketing plans have to include strategies that continually combat the real, yet often invisible, recall threat.
Every customer, every guest and client VOTES on whether to recall your business from the “approved” list of businesses that they will exchange money for goods and services. It happens every day. And that’s why your marketing strategy and associated tactics have to be IN PLAY every day.
Customers and potential customers vote two ways. They vote with their pocketbook and sometimes cast partial votes, only buying from you when they absolutely must and become underperforming customers, sending a portion of their wallet to a competitor. They also vote with their feet, vowing never to do business with you again. They vote every time they engage with your brand and it’s not just at the point of sale. It happens every day at every touchpoint. It happens at the first moment of truth and the second moment of truth. It especially happens at the zero moment of truth. It happens face-to-face and virtually on Facebook, Yelp, and the multitude of other social media and web portals customers interact with every day.
The Marketing Implications
You have to create your marketing plan to influence your customers to want to vote for you every day. Our Sixth Star marketing strategy is built on putting your customers at the heart of your business. The primary driver of the Sixth Star strategy is to create a connection between you and your customers. Rewards are not loyalty. Rewards influence the vote, but only a little. The everyday connections keep your brand close to the zero moments of truth when buying decisions and selections are made.
The retailer’s creed is, “Buy Now, Buy More, and Buy from Me.” Our new marketing creed is simpler – “VOTE FOR ME! Our strategy is simple – use historical buying triggers to influence the next vote. And do it every day because your customers are voting every day.
This week we will launch our new Ei3 marketing initiative into beta test. When we embarked on this revolutionary idea, we knew our experience would lead us in the right direction, and it has. Last week, I made my first formal sales presentation and worried that we had identified all the right buttons. The group was responsive not only to the idea of an automated, everyday marketing program but the simplicity of it. I walked away with several takeaway thoughts:
1. Businesses are overwhelmed with marketing challenges and want a program that does not require significant manpower resources to execute. Make it easy.
2. While cost is always an issue in the age of tight budgets, if the client believes in the benefits of the program, the dollars will be found.
3. Most databases are crap. Sorry to be so blunt, but it’s a fact. Our challenge is to help clean them up and clients see that as a big positive. The clients that don’t have customer databases are excited that we can help build one.
4. Never assume you know it all, because you don’t. Every brand manager and every sales manager is insulated by the business team and too often, we look inward instead of outward. Every client has its own set of business challenges.
You may think that it is counter-intuitive to think about everyday votes when marketing needs to focus on the brand’s BIG PICTURE STRATEGIES. We believe that the big picture begins with a single vote. The new customer that needs to be stroked for trying your brand; the potential defector who believes he or she found a better deal or service, and your everyday regular customers who each have the potential to either buy more or leave.
Your recall election is happening right now. Someone is casting a vote and depending on your marketing strategy toward that one customer, you will either get booted out or have a chance to serve your customer another day. It’s up to you.
This week, ask your team how your customers are voting. We’ll bet they don’t know.
Have a fantastic week and don’t forget to vote.
Bart Foreman and the Group 3 Marketing Team