Don’t create a disconnect for your customers

October 16, 2013

Don't create a disconnect for your customersI live in Des Moines, Iowa and fly in and out of the Des Moines International Airport (I’m pretty sure we got the International because of air cargo, not because I can hop on a flight to Madrid from here) a couple weeks every month.

Recently the airport went through a major renovation that added some incredible gate seating, more plugs/outlets than you could imagine, some nice restaurants and all kinds of technology.  All in all — they made a good airport great.


All of a sudden, all of the airport announcements (the “don’t leave your baggage unattended.  If you notice an unattended bag, please alert the authorities immediately” sorts of things) are being done in a British accent.  I’m not sure how good you are at geography, but Iowa sits in the heart of the US.  I don’t think I’ve ever met an Iowan with a British accent (although I know there are a few who have migrated here, I just haven’t bumped into them) and we actually don’t have an accent at all.  We sound like the national TV newscasters try to sound.

So here’s the problem with the new announcer.  Her accent is so out of character and so out of place that it not only gets noticed but it overshadows the actual message.  The disconnect becomes the focus.

The takeaway from this story — don’t create a disconnect for your customers.

We’ve talked a lot of on this blog about the importance of consistency in your marketing.  Normally, people immediately assume that I’m talking about visual consistency — using the same logo, the same font and color palette etc.  But that’s only part of it.

A question you should always be asking is — does this sound like the brand? Now, in my example — I mean it literally.  The airport announcements do not sound like Des Moines, Iowa.  But it can also be about tone, word choices and attitude.  Is the writing conversational?  Does it use humor? Jargon? Slang?

Remember — whether it is your Facebook presence, your website, your radio spots or how your phone is answered — every one of those choices either connects me closer to your brand or makes me notice the disconnect.

Why does that matter?  Remember the know • like • trust model.  No one will buy from you until they trust you.  Every disconnect feels odd.  Every disconnect makes me wonder. Every disconnect makes trust more difficult.

You might want to review your own marketing materials.  Are you creating a disconnect that needs to be re-aligned?


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Are you a speed and sputter marketer?

September 30, 2011

Are you guilty of speed and sputter marketing?

I do a lot of driving.  Between work, providing my mom (3.5 hours away) with computer support and fetching my daughter every so often at college (2 hours away) — I’m on the road quite a bit.

I found myself wondering if I’d make better time if I used my cruise control on those longer drives so I decided to experiment with it.  (I know, I’m a wild man!)

I set the cruise 5 miles over the speed limit, which if you’ve driven with me, you’ll know is a little slower than I tend to drive.  So I thought it would take me longer to get to my destination.

Long story short — I definitely shortened my drive time when I used the cruise as opposed to me manually controlling the speed of my vehicle.

It makes sense — it’s easy to get distracted by other cars, something along the side of the road, the book on CD I’m listening to, a phone conversation etc.  And if nothing else, no doubt my speed is varying throughout the journey.

But with the cruise on — I’m absolutely consistent and incredibly steady.  It turns out – that’s the winning combination in terms of making good time.

Since this isn’t a car blog, you’re probably wondering why I’m sharing.  Well — it occurred to me that the same is true of marketing.

Most companies are speed and sputter marketers.  They get a great idea, have a lot of energy around it and blast it off.  But then they get busy and things get stalled.  That monthly enewsletter becomes a sort of quarterly piece.  The print ad series never actually runs.  And the customer survey is drafted or even deployed but no one got around to crunching the numbers.

Their marketing success is very hit or miss and is greatly influenced by lots of outside factors.  There’s no consistency.  And as we’ve talked about before — consistency breeds trust which is what leads to a sale.  (I know, like and trust you)

But if your marketing is on cruise control — that is to say there’s a process that keeps chugging along no matter how busy you are — your consistency will speak volumes.  You will be able to take advantage of the DRIP method of marketing that allows you to just keep a nice, steady stream of connectivity and relevant communication out there — tethering you and your audience to each other.

I can hear you now — how can we do that?  If it was easy, we’d never speed and then sputter.  I’ve got some ideas around that so stay tuned next week.

But for today — think about how your marketing/company is perceived when you stop and start all the time.  Is that who you want to be?


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Know. Like. Trust.

May 12, 2011



Too many organizations go hot and cold with their marketing.  They’re aggressive or at least active one month or one quarter and then are dormant for months at a time.  Or other companies market like crazy when sales are down but when they get busy, marketing falls off the radar.

Or maybe your particular version is that you only deliver the first half of the one/two punch.  You drop the direct mail piece but you never follow up with the phone call.

Regardless of how or why — the inconsistency of your marketing hurts you.  It turns a warm prospect into a cold one, by the time you get back around to marketing again.

This is one of the most common marketing mistakes that companies big and small make over and over.  They try to time their marketing.  Much like a day trader who believes you can time the market, knowing exactly when to jump in and out – some business owners and marketing types believe they can guestimate exactly when their marketing message needs to be in front of their consumers.


I’m not saying it’s impossible.  I’m saying it’s not necessary. And I would contend, it’s actually detrimental to your long-term success.

Here’s the kernel of truth we don’t like to acknowledge.  We can’t know (unless you sell Christmas trees or some other very seasonal product) when our prospects are going to begin their buying process. I’m not talking about when they’re going to buy.  The reality is – we need to get to them way before they make that decision.

To be one of the considered choices – you have to on the list to begin with.  Marketing is all about getting a prospect to know who you are, like who you are and trust who you are.

Just like in our personal relationships – that doesn’t happen in an instant.

Getting them to know you: We get to know others gradually, through either an extended contact or many quick hits.  Marketing works the same way.  In most cases, a prospect isn’t going to give you their time and attention for more than a few minutes…so you have to go with the “be present all the time, so when they need/want you – you’re there” model.  We call this drip marketing.  There are lots of ways to do this and I’ll dig into them next week.

Getting them to like you: This is about being authentic.  Will everyone like you?  Nope…but you don’t need everyone.  You just need enough of the right someones.  Here’s the tough part about this phase.  They have to like more than what you sell.  They also have to like the people selling it.  Let them get to know your organization and your people.

Getting them to trust you: The bigger your price tag, the deeper the trust needs to be.  But no matter what you sell, trust is the cornerstone of actually making the sale.  How do you get a buyer to trust you?  In marketing terms, it’s actually pretty straightforward.  You are honest (see getting them to like you), you are consistent and you actually follow up when you say you’re going to.

While all of that sounds simple, most businesses fail miserably at it.



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