It came to my city this year. This thing called the NFL Draft.
Some would call it a football fan’s ultimate pre-game off-season rally to celebrate the country’s newest gladiators whom they will follow religiously. To others who live or work in Center City Philadelphia near the Franklin Institute, it’s a people-moving and parking nightmare. (Just ask my daughter whose college is less than a block away - who’s sleeping on her studio floor at school this week to avoid the mayhem.)
To NFL marketers, it’s truly a phenomenon. It’s an internationally televised event with sellout crowds of the sport’s most die-hard fans strutting their team regalia, cheering wildly at every 10 minute, then 5 minute pick, ushered in by chimes on elaborate sets, uber dramatic countdowns, electified by crowd-stirring jumbotrons. Yes, a phenomenon. With swirling stats of each player, debating commentators, and a social media frenzy of opinions and predictions.
For someone who is hardly a sports fan (except when her kids were playing on teams)… I have to question… why all the hoopla? Why all this pomp and circumstance? We’re kids on a bench. And the coach is picking his team. But this is on steroids. Fancy suits, backstage passes, face-painted fans, world-wide press, roving spotlights. And those jerseys – customized with the right player’s name, with the right team – how do they make them so quickly?
As a marketer, it all makes sense. They are simply promoting the promotion.
No matter how big an event you have – even as giant and as beloved as the NFL season and the Super Bowl – you have to continually promote the promotion. Build excitement, pump up the brand, gain momentum for the product. That’s why smart marketers – no matter how small their event or campaign – do things to drum up interest before and after a promotion.
It’s why a company sends an email inviting you to an open house or special sale... then remind you again the day before. It’s why a campaign worker calls you at dinnertime the week before a town election. Why the best salespeople follow up with an email or call before a visit… to better secure their appointment. Or branders tell the world “I’m here” on social media. Why thousands of advertisers give away promotional products to generate interest and recall about their products and services, on a product that usually sticks around long after the event.
They’re just some of the ways that smart marketers are promoting the promotion. Add to it. Push it. Pump it. Personalize it. (Just like those jerseys ironed on in under two minutes for the draft… more on that later.)
So when launching your next promotion – after you’ve nailed down your plan to market you, your brand, your products and services, your event -- ask yourself, “Now what can I do to promote the promotion?”
Sure, none of us have that NFL budget. But we do have guerrilla roll-up-your-sleeves ingenuity. We can do little extras to ensure our best prospects get the message multiple times. Because it’s important. Our time is valuable. Our resources are precious. And often it’s that extra promotion – that extra play - that scores the touchdown.
So what are you doing to promote your promotion?
The NFL worked out a way to have each new draft pick holding his own customized jersey just minutes after his name is called. Want to see how they do it? I'm proud to say I know the great people at Stahl's who handle the process. Here’s a video from the New York Times showing how. Just goes to show you… when there’s a will (or a great promotion to be had) there’s a way to get it done.
You've seen those viral Facebook and YouTube videos that are passed around more than Mom's mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. Chewbacca mask mom. Children interrupting the BBC interview. Guilty dog videos. Mostly for entertainment purposes only.
But then I saw this little clip from a BBC Earth Video about a Japanese Puffer Fish. I first viewed it to marvel about the beauty of nature. But then it got me thinking about what we marketers have to do to attract customers.
For many of the small to mid-size business owners that I have come to know, Marketing is a "when I can squeeze it in" enterprise. They have limited budgets. Limited time. And usually no staffers dedicated to "attracting the prospects."
In fact, many of them do not have a written plan at all of what they want and need to do to drum up attention and new business. (And if it's not written down, experts say it's a DREAM and not a PLAN. Most never come true. Life just gets in the way.)
Now enters the puffer fish in this video. He spends a full week working 24 hours a day crafting his marketing masterpiece... working out his plan to snag a mate. A tiny fish invests a week.
So what are you doing to snag your next customers? To keep the ones you have?
I'm not suggesting you work 24 hours a day for a week. But how much of your week are you dedicating to fill your pipeline? To write that plan. Launch it. Make new connections. Attract the kind of customers you'll have for life.
And if you can't finagle an hour a two per week to do it yourself, hire a pro to do it for you, just as you would hire a contractor or plumber if you needed something done right.
Isn't the growth of your business worth it?
Enjoy the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1PID91sEW8
Wishing you swimmingly fabulous marketing...
P.S. If you need help, drop me a line. That's what I do to help other suppliers and distributors attract new business... for less than you might think. <WINK>
You've just met a prospect. You asked great questions... learned some of her challenges. Now before you slip her your business card... here's how the networking elite suggest you end the conversation.
(And it's NOT with trying to sell your product or service. You're selling a next appointment.)
After you acknowledge her work challenges, you say, "Maybe I can help you with that.. and maybe I can't."
Whoa. Maybe you CAN'T??? What have you just said?
(You were being honest. You don't know enough about her challenges, her scenario, her budget, her timeline... much of ANYTHING, really, so you build trust by saying "Maybe you CAN'T help her." It goes a long way on building future credibility.)
You then say, "What I'd like to do is set up a time when we can sit down and discuss them in more detail. If I can help you, I'll tell you. If not, I'll tell you that, too. Or refer you to someone else who can. Or perhaps send you some referrals, once I understand your business better."
So what have you just said? And why does it work?
You've asked for time to help solve her problems... not to sell her.
You - again - showed honesty by admitting you may not be able to help. But then again, you may. But if you can't - hey - you may know someone who CAN. And best of all - you might be able to generate some business leads for HER. (The real beauty of networking.) She can't lose!
So now that the wall is down, trust is built, and you offer a chance to improve her sales... now ask, "What's a good day and time to get together?"
Now, your business card comes out. And hopefully hers does to. Or be prepared to enter her name, email and phone number into your phone or jot it down. NOW you've made a valuable connection. Your Elevator Speech developed a true lead, or a connection to someone who might be.
But you don't have the sale yet. You have some follow up to do. Secure the appointment. Do your research. Prepare your questions. And make that visit or phone call your next great learning experience toward the sale. (After all... that was your goal all along. Wasn't it?)
The Networking Ninja
Mary Ellen Sokalski
Diva of Direct Marketing.