Having recently attended an industry conference, it’s always refreshing to take the time and go through my notes to see what nuggets have been gleaned. I am a firm believer that if I can find three or four “takeaways” that allow me to improve what I am doing, then it was money well spent.
This year proved to be no exception, with ideas on improving productivity, new markets to consider, and a heightened awareness of the continuing challenges that lay ahead. As has been the message for some time now, we can’t really expect an upward shift in the economy to assist our industry. Instead, we will have to continue to create and manage our own recovery.
Often during these conferences, the message is more of a soft sell. “You might want to look into this opportunity.” “Hey, it’s possible this could work for your operations.” And the ever-present, “There is no better time to get out than now!”
This year had a little stronger tone, and more of a sense of urgency. Basically, the prevailing message shouted: “If you aren’t doing this, you are stupid!!”
So where is it that some of us are so lacking in intelligence?
Today our audiences are found in more marketing avenues than ever before. Social, web, email, mobile, and yes, even print. Print is still a viable alternative, just not the only alternative. Are we taking advantage of the opportunities within these channels? Many are extremely cost efficient, and all offer more ways than ever to properly measure this effectiveness.
If we aren’t doing this, we are stupid.
We know that mobile penetration is over 100% of the US population, and that smartphone adoption continues its upward trajectory. We’ve seen statistics that tell us local mobile searches continue to soar. In fact, some studies have reported that 65% of smartphone users perform local restaurant searches. And surprisingly, 95% of independently owned restaurants do not have a mobile site. Do we have a mobile friendly presence? Are we preparing for the continuing migration toward mobile? Are we looking for ways to improve our clients’ mobile experience? Are we using best practices with QR codes? Are we learning about NFC and Augmented Reality?
If we aren’t doing this, we are stupid!
Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM)
I mentioned that print is still very much in the mix when it comes to direct marketing channels. And the USPS current mail saturation program – EDDM – allows businesses to specifically target zip codes, neighborhoods, or certain postal routes to send information, offers, coupons, and more directly to the customer’s home. EDDM lets you reach EVERY address within a neighborhood. No need to purchase address lists; and the postage is at a fraction of the cost of standard postage.
If we aren’t doing this, we are stupid!
Learning, talking, engaging
Communications tools continue to evolve. For better or for worse. But now, more than ever, we have ways of reaching our target audiences, engaging them, and measuring their responsiveness so that we can learn more about them. And that’s the difference. Today, it is all about them. Not us. So if we aren’t using these tools to engage, to listen, and to learn more about your clients, we should be. Now.
So basically, if we aren’t doing this, we are stupid!
Because this was a seminar that I paid for, I originally took some offense to this name calling. Yes, I realize if I’m not doing these things, I need to get smarter about making them happen now. But the very good news I see, as I review where we are and where we are heading, is that we are doing most, if not all of these. And doing a pretty good job of it.
As a final day wrap up, these seminars always have a session on interpersonal skills. And my takeaway from that is that I would certainly never, ever stoop to telling clients, prospects or readers that they are stupid for NOT considering some, if not all of these tools.
That being said, I mean really, if you aren’t doing this…
Paul Strack, CustomXM