Marketing Sucks

“It’s talking people into buying shit they don’t really need. That’s marketing!”Funny-Black-Friday-Memes-07

People think that marketing is all about getting people to do what they do not want to do.

It does seem that way.

Why else is Coke one of the most well known brands in the world?

Who would ever think Coca Cola is something that people should have?

Thus if marketing is what drove the soft drink Coca Cola, and the brand Coke, to so many people – then marketing must be a bad thing!

Marketing must be about getting people to buy ‘shit’ they do not really need.

But is it?

Is physics bad since it caused us to create dynamite, TNT, flight and the atomic bomb?

Would we say, “It’s about blowing things up and killing people. That’s Physics!”

Funny-Black-Friday-Memes-13No of course not!

If our child said he wanted to be a physicist, we would commend them, think how smart they have to be, and how hard they have to work, and dream about the day they might win a Nobel Prize.

If our child says he wants to be a Marketer, we talk about how commercials are stupid, how big companies make people spend money, and we point to things like the terrible rush into stores on days like today – Black Friday.

Marketing is simply another field of study, like agrology, chemistry, psychology or physics.

What does Consent mean according to the Canadian Anti-Spam Law

(The thoughts and ideas included in this article are based on my own personal interpretation of CASL and are not intended to provide advice. Discussion is encouraged on these ideas.)

The CASL (Canadian Anti-Spam Law) comes into effect July 1, 2014.  One key aspect of this law is that you cannot send email or any other commercial electronic message (text, social media message) without consent to do so.

expressed consent
They have also stipulated that sending a message to ask for consent is against
the rules.

So what is consent and how does one get it correctly.

There are two forms of consent: implied consent and expressed consent.

Expressed consent means that you have their full permission to send them any information.  When getting expressed consent you must clearly state what type of information you are going to be sending and then stick with that.  Therefore you cannot state you will send them industry news, and then send them advertisements and offers. You must be very clear on what will be sent.Implied consent occurs when you are already engaged in a business activity with an individual.  This mean actual transaction – not just sales activity. So clients qualify for implied consent, prospects do not.

Expressed consent must also clearly state who they are giving consent to. It must have the names of the business or individual to whom consent the individual is giving expressed consent and must also have their contact information.

You must store this information and be able to produce when you obtained expressed consent and the factors relating to the expressed consent (business or people who will be sending out information and the type of information).

Implied consent is also said to be given in two unique circumstances. First if you obtain that email address (or other form of connection) directly from the person and they have not stated they do not wish to receive unsolicited commercial electronic messages.  This is often called the business card exemption.

Second is when the electronic address (email) is published on a public website, and the commercial electronic message sent to that person is relevant to their business, and role within that business.

What about existing email distribution lists – those contacts you have before the Canadian Anti-Spam Law comes into effect on July 1, 2015.

If you have obtained expressed consent – they have actually taken an action to consent to what you are sending – then you can continue to send commercial electronic messages to them. But you must take action to correctly obtain express consent according the requirements in the CASL legislation.

If your existing list of prospects and contacts have not expressed consent in some way to you – you cannot send them any commercial electronic messages (including asking for expressed consent) after July 1, 2014.

Email as a Sales Tool will change with the new Anti-Spam Law

(The thoughts and ideas included in this article are based on my own personal interpretation of CASL and are not intended to provide advice. Discussion is encouraged on these ideas.)

emailThe new Canadian Anti-Spam Law has definitely changed the way any organization in Canada can approach using email not only as a marketing tool – but even a communication tool in the sales process.

Take for instance this scenario:

A sales person meets a new prospect at a trade show on July 15, 2014.  For this example let us say this is related to financial services.  They have a good discussion about some various options and products. The individual is genuinely interested and asks the sales person to send him the product related information that they were discussing.

The sales person heads back to the office and the next day sends a PDF via email containing the product information.

The prospect gets the email and replies thanks and that he will look it over. The sales person continues the conversation either via email or even via a return call – but the prospect states that they are not going to do anything until RRSP time in February or March.

A month later the sales person sends another email (either personal or possibly a newsletter) to the prospect. The client replies thanks for the email.

The sales person, diligently working on building the relationship sends out an invite in November to a Christmas party. Again the prospect declines. Another email goes out to the new prospect in December wishing them a Merry Christmas – to which the prospect replies back with a return Merry Christmas – maybe even a few words about their plans over the holidays.

Now February rolls around and the sales person sees in the CRM notes that the client may be interested in the product that he sent out information back in July. So on February 15 he sends an email including the product information.

BANG – the sales person has just fired the Spam Gun! Six months have passed and now that original request for product information is over.   This sales person may be liable for fines up to a million dollars. And the firm that employs him may be fined a whopping TEN MILLION DOLLARS.  As well – after 2017 – there may be cause for a class action law suit against them.

The CASL is definitely going to change how not only marketing – but sales will be done here in Canada.

The above is only one scenario related to the effect of CASL on using email as a sales tool.

Are you ready for this new law? Is your firm ready? It comes into effect July 1, 2014.

Determining Content in your B2B Website

There are two key things related to how to set up the content on a B2B website. First what is the buyer behaviour of your prospects and second, how does your website fit into your company’s sales process.

Let’s go over the various ways that a B2B company could use their website in their sales process.

Is your website being used to generate new leads for your business – in that case you need attention getting headlines and engaging content.  You also need to up your SEO as well as have a landing page strategy (possibly using PPC) as well as a way to gather contact information or some other way to turn those leads/web visitors into real prospects for your business.

In this case your primary objective is to turn that website visitor into a real lead by gathering some type of contact information and any auxiallary information you can about them.  You want to keep their options limited so as not to confuse them or have them get busy doing other things on your site and not get their contact information.

If on the other hand the primary purpose of your website is to reinforce your sales message – often after a prospect is contacted by a salesperson in some other fashion (networking, phone calls, direct mail, etc) then you need to build trust on your site as well as have clear navigation system so that those leads – once arrive at your site (often directly typing it in from a business card, or link from a follow up email) will be able to find the information they need to move forward in your sales process.

In this case the depth of information is critical so that they can really understand you and your company.  Having links to white papers, having good content with graphs, charts, diagrams, etc will all help to give the prospect that information they need.  Testimonials throughout also help to build trust.

A third option for your site may be to support existing customer and to encourage additional sales – either up-selling or cross-selling.  This is very similar to the second option, except with a higher importance attached to explanations of using existing products, optimizing the use of those products, and answering support inquiries.

With this third option your content needs to talk more about using your products than the advantages of using the products.  Whitepapers would discuss how to be more efficient in their systems (including how they use your product) vs. looking at the pros and cons of your product.  It is related to point of view.  As well your support links, buttons, support chat boxes, etc need to be prominently displayed throughout your site.

So how does buyer behaviour factor into this equation?

You need to understand how your buyer makes the decision to purchase your product and then how they end up using your product, and what are their key concerns along the way. This will determine how your company sets up your sales process, and thus how your website should be integrated into that sales process.

Sales Cycles

I have been working with many organizations on their sales cycle lately.  By optimizing the sales cycle, a business can drastically improve overall revenue.  By shortening the sales cycle a firm can improve products faster, respond quicker to clients needs and improve overall client satisfaction.

First, we should really clarify what we mean by the sales cycle.  I classify the sales cycle as the portion of the sales process that starts with a qualified lead and ends with a closed sale.  Now the reason the sales cycle uses the term cycle (and one key to improving overall sales and revenue) are in the realization that a cycle is circular and that it should not end.  This has two distinct applications in business; therefore, I like to ride the bi-sales-cycle (insert awkward lol here).

The first application is that if you move a qualified prospect through your sales cycle and they do not buy – then simply let them go around again.  Too often sales people put the brakes on the wheels and simply try repeatedly to close this prospect. It is often much better to let them start back at the qualified prospect stage and go through the whole process again (but I never said you could not speed up the wheel if needed – just pedal faster).

The second application of the sales cycle is for when the client does buy your product.  It should not end there. Do not simply kick them out of the sales cycle and let them free ride in your basket. Instead move them on to the next wheel where they enter another sales cycle to up-sell or cross-sell them on to a new product.