The Big Idea
As business owners and marketers become increasingly frustrated by the questionable results of cold calling, emailing, content marketing, and social media, the author offers the alternative of laser-focused campaigns targeting the few people that can really impact your business. This is all about accomplishing a lot with very little indeed!
Marketing campaigns have become all about big numbers. Cold call 1,000 people and maybe 5 will become clients. Cold email 100 and maybe 1% will respond back. In order to get results, we need ever bigger numbers. Which means that our message has to appeal to larger audiences. Which, in turn, drives us by definition to more generic and un-differentiated messaging.
Instead of looking for a needle in a haystack (the lone client who isn’t exasperated by cold calls and emails anymore), how about creating a list of 100 companies that can change the future of your business, and focus all your resources on a highly targeted message and approach to break through to them?
The good news is that everyone else is using a mass approach, so it should be easier to stand out. It’s a risk because you only have 100 targets, so by traditional measures you might not even get a single client. But it’s a high-potential bet because even a handful of these clients could have a huge impact.
When the author started his marketing agency, there were only a dozen or so major clients in the industry that he needed to reach out to. With a budget of $100 he produced 24 large prints of his cartoons, personalized for each potential client and framed, and he mailed them out. That campaign had a near-100% success rate with each client paying up to $25,000 per engagement!
Imaging what a focused campaign with a high success rate could do for your business. With a mass-marketing campaign, you could never break through to your A-list or “whale” clients… never! This is a path for your marketing efforts, especially if you’ve gone through many email lists of potential targets, who you know would never become clients through spammy calls and emails anyway.
How does it work?
Contact marketing involves 3 steps:
- Researching a short-list of your VIP clients, who can have a major impact for your business.
- Crafting a highly personalized message for each of them.
- And delivering the message through an intriguing ‘device’, which can be anything from an oversized cartoon print to a sword blade or a remote-controlled helicopter.
Even though you’ll be spending significantly more per person than any mass campaign, your overall marketing budget will be insignificant compared to mass marketing campaigns, and your ROI can be astronomical. Because you’re only targeting a small audience with a very high anticipated success rate, often north of 50%.
Putting it into action
In the book, the author has a complete flow-chart and numerous examples of campaigns to demonstrate how you can put contact marketing into action for your business, with costs ranging anywhere from $10 to $10,000 per contact.
One example from the book is the campaign by NoWait, a restaurant app. They sent an ipad preloaded with a video to each of their 35 VIP clients – COOs of large restaurant chains and franchises. They invested $35,000 on a single campaign but they knew they’d get the attention of exactly the people they needed – and it worked!
Some ideas to inspire you…
We recently caught up with a couple of business owners, who shared with us their plans to use contact marketing, which may inspire you as well!
Fortune 500 IT Services company: Every quarter, the Sales VP for one of their largest industry verticals, picks 5-10 of their ideal target companies and sends them a customized package. Inside the package, he prints a hyper-targeted selection of his company’s white papers, and spends about 1 hour for each company typing a letter of how he thinks each white paper relates to the target company’s operations.
It’s a lot of work but yields tremendous results that have led to numerous meetings and clients. The idea is to use your expertise in order to add very specific value to a handful of clients. And no matter how busy you are you can afford to dedicate these resources, because the expectation is that a good number of these companies will become clients. You’re not shooting in the dark but rather know that you can add value to these companies, they see you as a thought leader, expert, and trusted advisor, and prefer to engage with you over sales people who’re cold calling them all the time.
Top-tier B2B Video Agency: The owner of a B2B-focused explainer agency was having trouble engaging potential clients. His offering was simple and a no-brainer, but it’s difficult to break through without adding tremendous value, and demonstrating what you can do for someone.
So he decided to target a handful of potentially very big clients who were attending a conference. For the conference, the clients would naturally need graphics for their booth, some type of giveaway for interested visitors, and a video in the background. All this takes a lot of time and it’s a hassle for a client’s team: they have to find different graphics and production companies, coordinate across them, figure out the messaging, etc.
Instead, how about a one-stop solution to provide everything in one package and at significant cost savings: booth graphics, trifold giveaway, and tradeshow video. Still, how to convince prospects of the value proposition? He decided to demonstrate value by developing all the custom messaging and graphics on spec, printing the trifold in high-quality paper, and mailing it out to the VIP clients.
The risk was that it took quite a bit of time and expense to produce these materials on spec. On the upside though, it’s perhaps the only way for VIP clients to notice you. He did a great job and demonstrated how he could elevate a company’s presence at a big event. Putting something tangible in front of clients can be a show-stopper these days because we’re so used to doing everything via email, which also makes it very simple to discard and ignore messages (just hit ‘delete’).
If you’re tired of the ‘spray and pray’ mentality of mass marketing campaigns, contact marketing is a novel approach to outreach. Who are the handful of people who can change the course of your business? Instead of boiling the ocean to increase awareness, there’s a more effective way to stand out before you can build meaningful partnerships and win large accounts.
Have you tried any ‘contact marketing’ campaigns? Do you have any cool ‘contact marketing’ ideas? How can you apply micro-focused marketing campaigns to your business? Comment below with results or questions for the group.