I write in defense of the American consumer. So many direct marketers go about the task of lead generation at a fairly lowbrow level. Past marketing schools of thought have touted the merits of the quintessential “giveaway” to stoke response rates. They have held tightly to the tired image of a consumer sitting by the phone salivating over a free widget, a bonus gadget, or a complimentary thig-a-ma-jig.
RING. RING. RING. The 1990s called and wants their D-to-C Marketing Plan back! It would behoove all Direct Marketers in 2015 to toss away their old metrics, burn their past assumptions, step out from behind their offer templates, and have a chat with their base… they are far more sophisticated and discerning than you give them credit for.
New consumers are multi-channel, real-time creatures. They are savvy and contemporary. They download, link, chat, post, tweet, connect and share new sources of content faster than we can predictive dial. They really don’t long for gimmicks. What the explosion of review sites, referral networks, and peer-to-peer rankings has taught us is that they crave information; they covet communication; and they very much value the experience of others.
For the first time, the consumer doesn’t really have to “take a chance” on a product or service because they can seek out references and testimonials first-hand. They don’t have to believe your expert because they can put the question out to the airways and get a landslide of unsolicited opinions about the merits or shortcomings of your brand.
So it’s important to have an intelligent conversation about who you are, what you do, and why a prospect should give you their consideration. You must put dynamic and insightful information in their hands… because Information gives them knowledge and knowledge is power. Information also gives them control over their decision making process and that helps them take an action.
The more the consumer knows, the more qualified they are. And, the more qualified they are, the greater their degree of engagement. Why does engagement matter? Ask your sales people, your landing pages, your shopping carts, your order forms… or whatever means you use to convert leads to revenue. Engaged customers are far more likely to not only listen to a product pitch or download more information, but they are your best shot at creating a loyal customer and an invaluable addition to your database.
So whether your product or service can help them grow hair or secure their retirement… lose 10 pounds in 10 days or take away the signs of aging forever, the relevance, authority, and verifiability of what you tell them is the most important thing you can do for your brand this year.
Trust me, today’s consumers are not sitting up at night dreaming about BOGO’s, but they may very well be worried about their life, their health, their future, and the world. Marketing in 2015 has to hit the right note, strike the correct chord, and ring completely true to the end user. And don’t forget the passion… it’s the difference between a good marketing campaign and a truly legendary one.
Trish Mahon is a Multi-Channel Content Strategist with over 20 years of experience in Consumer Brand Marketing and Demand Generation. She is a Direct Channel advocate for brands and products marketed via: TV, Radio, Direct Mail, Print, Digital, Email, PR, and Social Media. She is also the author of countless E-Books, White Papers, and Custom and Commissioned Content pieces. She can be reached via Outsource Marketing Group at: 818-884-4690 or at www.omg-usa.com.
Photo Courtesy Stefano Maggi [FLICKR]