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More Marketing 2.0

Originally published: 03.01.09 by Mike Callahan

More Marketing 2.0

How far is too far when learning and using customer information in your online marketing efforts?

Last month, we examined the first three online strategies that President Barack Obama employed during his campaign.Below are two more to consider, as well as a discussion on privacy and getting your own online marketing revolution started.

4. The Cellular Phone tool

Just like with the e-mail tool, the Obama campaign used text messaging to segment, target, and deliver their marketing messages. The staff collected more than one million cellular phone numbers during the campaign. Potential voters and volunteers then received between five and 20 text messages. Using geographic segmentation, text message targeting was divided by states, counties, zip codes, and what kind of messages the recipients had opted to receive.

Text Messaging Opportunities

Once again, as contractors, we should learn the power and results of building a database of cellular phone numbers. According to Lawrence Hart, the author of a recent book entitled Introduction to Mobile Advertising, the click-through rate for ads run on cellular phones is 4 percent. This compares with a click through rate of less than 1 percent for Google. Clearly, this marketing tool has tremendous potential for helping grow your business. So how

do you design a cellular phone text message marketing program? First, request the cellular phone numbers from your customers. Then ask them for permission to send them text messages. Be creative in your message delivery. For example, you could inform your customers of local news that is interesting to them. Maybe you could provide high school football scores or local weather alerts sponsored by your HVACR company. In addition, if your company has a catchy brand identity jingle, you could offer it as a ring tone download for the cellular phone. Cellular phone marketing provides a very powerful vehicle to connect with your customers. What’s important to rememberis to always be sure that your marketing messages are informative without being intrusive.

5. The Viral Marketing tool

Dangerous as it may sound, the Viral Marketing Tool does not cause damage to computers. In fact, this is the most powerful and cost-effective tool of all. The Obama staff realized that everyone receiving its messages, whether by e-mail, social networking or text messaging, has their own personal, lists of friends’ e-mail addresses, social networks, and cellular contacts. Therefore, a carefully crafted message appealing to a recipient was likely to be forwarded to his or her contacts, who, in turn, would forward it on to their contacts. In this way, the message becomes viral—it spreads. This is every bit as powerful as a personal referral. The Obama staff used this tool every day to spread their message among American voters. How powerful is Internet Viral Marketing? Have you ever seen Amazon or EBay or Google advertise on television? The answer is no. The Internet is their only means of advertising. Yet, theyare among the most recognized brands in America. All of this is accomplished by providing a site button that asks, “Send this message to a friend?”

Spreading Your Word

As contractors, we can have the same impact by simply adding this button to all of the messages that we send to ourcustomers and prospects. This is accomplished by asking your Internet Service provider to set up a “Send to a friend?” inquiry on your text message and Web site. Using this viral approach provides you with an in expensive yet powerful vehicle for building your customer base and your brand.

Invading Privacy?

There are some who may believe that using these tools hint of snooping into your customers’ and prospects’ privatelives. I disagree. Successful marketers and advertisers have been focusing on consumer trends and needs since the dawn of advertising. More than 20 years ago, in his book Swim with the Sharks, Without Being Eaten Alive, Harvey McKay, the business and marketing guru who owned an envelope factory (talk about a mundane product), had this to say, “Knowing something about your customer is more important than knowing everything about your product. ”To that end, he insisted that his sales force use a survey called the McKay 66 as a guideline for the first meeting witha new customer or prospect. This survey asked 66 questions about such things as the prospect’s family, favorite sports and teams, hobbies, foods, restaurants, and personal goals. There was not one question devoted to product or business expectations. Because he knew his customers, Harvey’s envelope company became the most successful envelope company inthe world.The tools that Barack Obama used tobuild his brand and his “customer base”are merely an extension of the McKay 66.He used 21st Century technology to determine how voters felt and what they were thinking. Then, he built marketing strategies to customize his messages about his policies and principles to appeal to the particular group that he was addressing. Using these same 21st Century tools and approaches to learn more about your customers and prospective customers will do wonders to improve your brand and build your business.

Start your Own Marketing revolution

The Obama online revolution not only promises future changes to elections, but also provides marketing direction for your business. A well-constructed and coordinated online marketing program will help you keep regular contact with your customers, reach out to them when you have a special offer, and provide a forum for customer input and ideas. Every Internet message and online advertising exposure can be tied to an action by a consumer, and these actions can be counted, tracked, and analyzed. The Internet is highly measurable and accountable for dollars spent. This should lead to more subtle changes in the way you spend youradvertising dollars. On the Internet, you, the advertiser, get your information directly from the user because he or she has indicated what they feel is relevant, useful, and even fun. The work is being done by the consumer who best knows his own needs. Tap into this audience, and you’ve found the secret force to take your market by storm and grow your business in an efficient and cost-effective way. The Internet is far and away the most effective and least expensiveway to reach your audience.

Mike Callahan is President of Callahan/Roach & Garofalo, Inc., marketing and managementtrainers, consultants, and merger/acquisition specialists to the hvacr industry.Contact mcallahan@crginc.cc

David Stein is an expert in hvacr marketingand advertising. He is new media andmarketing consultant at Callahan/Roach &Garofalo, Inc. Contact dstein@crginc.cc

About Mike Callahan

Mike Callahan

Mike Callahan is President of Callahan/ Roach & Garofalo, Inc. The firm is an industry leader in management and marketing training, consulting, and business sales, mergers and acquisitions. Mike served as President of The Air Conditioning Contractors of America and is an internationally known speaker and writer on business topics. Contact him at mcallahan@crginc.cc or call 800-462-8217.

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