Master of Moments is MOM
don't you think?
It not only takes just a moment to capture and keep a potential customer's attention—it's also the amount of time you'll have to do so. Regardless of whether you're approaching your customer through email or a direct-mail campaign, you need to grab their interest in the first five seconds because they will be immediately evaluating your value proposition and making a decision to either act on it (now or later) or toss it in the circular bin (real or electronic). In that five seconds—in that moment—they will be asking and answering themselves a series of questions like:
1. Research. You need to understand what your audience needs. Marketing paints a picture of a better experience: it's faster; it's easier; it's simpler. But you need to know what a customer’s current experience is—for better or worse—before you can deliver a persuasive message about how you can improve that experience. For example, if you’re selling cable service, the first step is understanding your target audience. So find and analyze research that answers the questions you have about your target audience. For example, if 90% of survey respondents reply negatively to the question, “Would you switch cable providers?”, go beyond the numbers and find out the reasons. It's possible they thought it would be a hassle or the experience wouldn't be any better than the one they have currently. Based on these answers, the reasons, you have all the information you need to work backwards and make sure your communication addresses the “hassle” and “service” aspects. Demonstrate how switching cable service is easy and then provide them the tools to do so. (You could consider creating a demo that portrays this better experience.)
2. A great offer goes a long way. Whether the economy is good or bad, people are always looking for something extra. How many times have you been tempted to act on something based on a compelling offer alone? The most successful product launches are usually the offspring of marketing campaigns that boldly present a too-good-to-pass-up offer. (“Is there something in it for me?”: Yes.) And even though cash is still king, the incentive need not be monetary—it could be anything from prepaid cards and product tie-ins to free or discounted services—it does, however, need to demonstrate tremendous value or savings for the customer. Such was the case with the launch of Verizon FiOS fiber-optic service. New to the market, Verizon offered a free HDTV with a service subscription. As a result of this, and subsequent cash offers, long-time cable suscribers have been switching to Verizon FiOS in droves.
3. Keep it simple and crystal clear. The product's benefits, and offer (if applicable), should be front and center. They should be conveyed clearly—and concisely—and it should be supported by visuals that amplify the message. Make the product the focal point, and don’t overburden the core benefit/offer with gratuitous words, superfluous visuals, or distracting graphics. Use minimal content, hierarchy, and clear typography that brings the reader through the communication in a logical format. Just remember this: it needs to be easy to get through, enticing to act upon, and exciting to be a part of.
4. Tailor it to the audience demographic. Knowing the demographic breakdown of the neighborhoods and communities you’re marketing to is important. It allows you to fine tune your message to a specific community profile. And demographics goes well beyond age, marital status, HHI, and diversity. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to not use a one-size-fits-all approach.
5. Roll it out slowly, evaluate results, and adjust. In their haste to get their message out or meet an unreasonable mailing date, many companies will prematurely run a direct-mail campaign without taking the time to do a proper sample testing. And these campaigns are epic fails because the communication assumptions (message, benefits, offer) don't align with reality—and the moment is gone forever. It's important—no, necessary—to test your materials in a few key regions and use focus groups. Always make the time to test, get answers, and be open-minded to change your original assumptions.What do you think? What’s been successful for you in getting past the moment? We’d like to know.
Learn more about the author, Alexander Acker.