Selling needs trust
We all know, after centuries of selling and trying to get people’s attention, that one of the most important factors in getting a person’s attention and then selling to them is that you have to first gain their confidence. Without confidence, you can not hope to sell a meal to a starving man.
Flyers are the worst, but how can anyone engage with, and then trust, a company who repeatedly sends “personalised” direct mail to a current customer which does not respond to their needs, but rather communicates a lack of personal knowledge?
In this new world of ours, environment-damaging waste is in almost everyone’s minds, as is (taking banks again as an example) the need to believe that those charges and fees exist for an understandable reason. How can we trust a bank who wastes money and paper on something that is clearly pointless?
How does online marketing work? It displays ads tightly linked to a need that you have openly expressed – it is personally relevant and timely.
Any company with customers and a data centre can send relevant offers and information, whether it’s by electronic or physical means.
Look at supermarkets and their loyalty programmes (e.g. Tesco), online sellers (e.g. Amazon), professionals (corporate newsletters and white papers based on expressed interest).
With a bit of thought, banks could develop a very powerful system, and in many cases remove a lot of paper advertising or at least make the dispatches timely and relevant according to the market and the customer’s needs.
And small businesses?
Yes, it is more difficult because of the costs. Pizza delivery companies already use technologies like CallerId matching, so they have already embraced the need for technology, but the options for advertising is confusing and consultants (brrr) are expensive.
Some ideas (taking independent pizza delivery as an example) :
- There are more and more groupage services online (takeaway.com -style) who could offer their clients services based on special offers and customer data. The economies of scale can thus be enabled;
- Using special offer services such as Groupon. I don’t know about the financial viability of Groupon specifically for this, but if doesn’t work, someone can invent it;
- Social networking. I am sure that the bosses and employees of these small companies use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and others for personal use. Why not use them for work, too?
Just three ideas, but I am sure that if you locked 7 marketing specialists in a room for a day they can make a list of 100 ideas.
In short, I am sure that we are far from having zero physical advertising in our mail, but an effort to cut the waste and increase the relevance can only help. We can trust the companies more, and above all the company will achieve new levels of efficiency, feel good, and help the shareholders.