For this ‘Tuesday Tip’, I incorporated a little help from my late father, Gilbert Kipp Good II. He wrote an article for our newsletter back in 2005 on the timeless subject of customer perception. I’ve taken some of his advice and added some contemporary updates, but the focus remains the same. But first, a little bit about my co-author.
My dad was a pioneer in marketing and direct marketing and well-known in media circles across this country. He was National Circulation Sales Director for big name companies you know such as Condé Nast Publications and the Wall Street Journal. He served as an Account Supervisor for several large advertising agencies. My mother, at one time was his secretary at Ketchum in NYC. She was someone else’s secretary until he had her moved into his department. No, this was not an episode of Madmen or a #MeToo moment, but it was life in the heyday of the NYC ad agency world very similar to the show. They were fast, wild and produced some of the most legendary campaigns in history. I have two of his CLIO awards in my office to prove it.
Some things have definitely changed, but solid marketing principles are timeless. The vehicles and media may be different, of course. But, there is one constant; The architecture of a solid, well-planned marketing effort must be built upon a foundation of three clearly defined, highly related supports. Let’s take a look:
This may cover a wide scope of the marketplace. Or it may not be as extensive as you thought. This no place for complacency. Find out where your territory is and who is in it. Use data tools, customer history, market trends, everything you need to accomplish this task.
Now that you’ve built a solid awareness foundation, what about your image?
- First of all, how many prospects have heard of you?
- Among those who have heard of you, how accurate is their perception of who you are or what you do?
- Of the many answers you get, how many are right on the nose?
- How many don’t have enough information. And, how many are downright wrong.
This is place to write your own story. Don’t let the marketplace dictate it to others, particularly if it isn’t correct. A completely out-of-focus and inaccurate idea of who you are, what you do, what is wrong about you, and what is good about you can take the spin out of the best marketing plan. You may have a need for marketing objectives that straighten out your image in the minds of the marketplace you want more action from.
What about attitude? Could entire segments of the market that you want so badly feel they couldn’t care less about you? Could this be largely due to a soft attitude and /or misdirected image that is uninformed or (inaccurately) negative? Cultivate a rapport with your markets and prospects. Speak with your audience on their level and understand they are more educated, more informed but harder to impress than ever before in history.
Lack of awareness, wrong images and low or no-interest attitude can sink your ship, fast. You know the old saying, “out of sight, out of mind”. There is no greater asset for your product, brand, service or company than a high awareness quotient. We used to call this a “household word” like a “Xerox copy” or a “Kleenex”. But let’s be clear, there is nothing automatic about it. How well established or how old it is, how widespread, how good or bad, maintaining and growing a healthy awareness consistently and with purpose is your number one priority.
In a tech era with smartphones, a 24-hour news cycle, and social media moving faster than you can physically keep up with, this is more important than ever. Stay visible. Stay relevant. Stay interesting.