Ask Mr. Marketing: Kiss me. Buy from me.

Please explain “touching” your customers.

--Demetra Pappas

If you were seeking a mate, it’s doubtful you’d marry the first person you met merely because you were asked. You’d need coaxing, making that special someone work hard before giving your heart away.

Similarly, most potential customers need convincing to buy from a merchant, vendor, or service provider. They must be persuaded that their needs will be fulfilled, they’ll get value for their money, and that they’ll be treated well.

In other words, you must romance them.

Touching your customer — telling them who you are and learning about them — develops a relationship, not unlike dating. With your customer one typically needs seven to 10 touches to conclude the sale, and more when trying to generate referrals or repeat business.

A consumer goods company like Pepsi might run a TV commercial, post a billboard, develop a direct mail campaign, and place a coupon in the newspapers. These vehicles will drive consumers to their website to subscribe to Pepsi’s newsletter, which invites them into a sweepstakes.

Here Pepsi’s already made seven customer touches before anyone’s bought a thing.

The key to any marketing success is understanding your goal, audience, and ways to maximize resources. Recognize that the touches needed to close the deal will naturally differ by company, product, and price point.

For example, Pepsi says it wants personal relationships, yet its millions of customers will never meet company president Indra Nooyi. Both sides seem OK with that.

Your legal practice has different needs than Pepsi. You’ll probably insist on establishing personal relationships with every client, require a more targeted customer outreach effort, and find TV ads strategically and economically unrealistic.

Reaching your clientele will be done more effectively utilizing networking functions, speaking gigs, websites, monthly newsletters, referrals, published articles, and joining non-profit boards.

While your strategy’s more low-key than television, radio, or billboards, it’s personalized and appropriate for your style, service, and clientele.

Like Pepsi, you must recognize the importance of understanding your objective, audience, and budget. Unlike them, you can’t handle millions of customers.

Before beginning, consider what your customer wants from a relationship with your business. Then decide how best to communicate that you’re fulfilling that need.

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.

Let Mr. Marketing help strategize your next marketing success. You can reach him at www.askmrmarketing.com.

   
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