Make A Promise, Keep A Promise

One of the keystones to a marketing campaign is the promise.  What does the product promise to do for the customer?  Does it do what is promised?  Does it follow through to build trust with the customer?  Is the promise going to be met consistently, or just for the initial sale?

The promise established a level of trust in the mind of a customer.  This can make the difference between a one-off sale and a lifetime business relationship.

For this column I’m going to use the example of a hotel to illustrate the three levels of trust.

The promise is simple.  The guest expects a warm, comfortable inviting room with amenities that make the guest feel at home.  This perception is created the moment the door to the room is opened for the first time.

If the promise is met, the feeling toward the owner of the hotel is positive.  The guest feels the owner respects them and the money they bring to the table, so to speak.  They also feel that, when the come back again, the quality of the property will be consistent.  As a result they are willing to recommend the property to family and friends.

If the promise is met, but only conditionally, the response is mixed.  The guest may open the door to the room and think “Well, I just drove 300 miles.  I guess I can stay here.”  Their first impression might be that the owner is not managing the property effectively and may even be “phoning it in.”  They will be suspicious of the future of the property and the quality of its amenities, so they will not be open to recommending the property unless there are no other options available.

If the door the room is opened and the first thing they see is a badly kept carpets, bed linens that have a suspicious stain and so forth, the first response is to run away as fast as possible.

I’ve stayed in hotels on the first and second level and run away from the third, so I have a clue about what I’m talking about here.

Everything revolves around the promise and the trust it creates.  As children and adults, we still respond, even subtly, to the idea of a promise.  Pick a product or service and experiment with this idea.

NOTE:  Ever meet someone who would only buy a specific kind of car because all the others didn’t have the quality he expected?  Think about it.  In his mind the car made a promise and kept it consistently enough that he was fiercely loyal.

Maybe the reason consumers are so fickle these days has to do with this simple concept.

© 2015, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Don’t Try To Create The Desire To Buy

The best advice I got about creating a marketing plan is to concentrate on those who have the desire to buy the product. Don’t Try To Create The Desire To Buy.  It”s time consuming, frustrating and just plain expensive.

By concentrating on customers who have a strong emotional connection to the product, several things happen all at once.  First, they are motivated because they understand the value of the product, so very little in the way of educating the prospect is needed.  Second, they have the ability to make their buying decisions quickly and on their own authority.  Last, and not least, they are financially qualified, often in the position to buy for cash and close quickly (this applies to almost any product or asset so stay with me here.)

Take the situation with a local auctioneer, for example.  He was new to the business and wanted to specialize in selling foreclosed properties.  The first time around, he decided to buy a huge list of potential investors – some 25,000 names.  None of the names on the list responded and he had to eat a considerable amount of money.

When I interviewed him, I found out that none of the names on his list were tested and, as it turned out, not even oriented toward real estate investors.  They were just names of people who, at one time or another, bought a book or attended a seminar on real estate investing.

I connected him with a friend of mine who specializes in highly focused postcard and email campaigns aimed directly at highly qualified, motivated real estate investors with a strong desire to invest in the Puget Sound area.

Once he had the list, he created a website to show off the most attractive properties in his portfolio.  His marketing campaign invited the investors to check out the website and, if interested in attending the auction, to RSVP.

The initial results were not spectacular, but they were profitable.  Of the 5,000 names contacted, fifty showed up (1% is about average.)  Five actually bought properties to the tune of around a million dollars, so the targeted campaign paid off nicely.

© 2015, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Nothing Is What It Seems

One of the challenges I was given a few years ago was to come up with a marketing idea for a hotel.  It’s located on an island just outside Seattle.  The main business of the island is tourism, which means the season for guests is between May and September.

When interviews started the owner was convinced the best marketing focus was to promote the hotel and its amenities.  Since all the other hotels on the island had many of the same amenities, there was nothing really unique to promote.

After a few more meetings, and researching the various events within the island community, I came up with a two-pronged approach.

First, I focused on specific community events, like the 4th of July, Labor Day, and various local events like monthly wine tasting excursions.  There were also a wide variety of whale watching tours available from the island.

Next I researched the other hotels to see if they were connected in any way with these events and vendors.  Turns out they weren’t.  They, like my client, pretty much waited for people to walk through the door.

My marketing solution took the form of being the center of the island experience.  I suggested that the owner create connections with the promoters of all the major events and the vendors of the various tours.  This gave the marketing plan considerable leverage because we were promoting the idea that, because the hotel was so well connected, they were THE PLACE to stay.  Not only would guests have a comfortable place to stay, but they would also have a one-stop shop for anything they may want to experience on the island.

The project took two years to start to build momentum and it did bring more tourists to the hotel during the prime season.  Unfortunately, the owner decided that making and keeping the connections was too much work and abandoned the project.  It happens, what can I say.

The point of the story, though, is nothing is what it seems.  A hotel is not necessarily a hotel.  It is an opportunity to experience a community, when marketed effectively.

© 2015, Moody Publishing Co., LLC