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Marketing

Keep It Simple and Memorable for Maximum Success

By E.Sue Thurman (esthurman@wwwiz.com)

 Online marketing, brought to you by the letter M. Sound familiar?  Those of us who once watched Sesame Street on a daily basis were comfortable with the alphabet sponsoring our favorite programs.  Try to find one of those letters today to assist with online marketing and you're out of luck. 

Actually, Sesame Street taught millions of us at a young age that entertainment is a crucial element in securing the attention and devotion of the buying public.  Television commercials are filled with cute and catchy jingles and the most successful are short stories with unique characters.  Who doesn't recognize the Keebler elves?  Those sweet little guys make goodies for everyone, all in the unique, magical manufacturing realm of a hollow tree, proving that the technology of today is truly incredible.  They serve to please us and take obvious care and pride in their products. 

 The Mother Goose Technique

 Wasn't the short-story format also a technique used in promoting tons of Mother Goose books to very young audiences?  Telling complete short stories about some unusual characters?  Even many years later most of us can still recite those rhymes and have passed them onto our children.  Where's the new Little Jack Horner when he's needed most in the realm of marketing, to introduce a new product to cyberspace.  The challenge?  He only has 15 seconds to get the attention of the audience.

            The best news is there are no rules for online marketing because it's such a new realm.  When recently researching how much of a percentage to negotiate for products advertised on my future Web site, a friend at an advertising agency told me that they didn't yet have any suggestions.

If you are looking for assistance in this new area of cyberspace, help is available, and there are many sites that provide guidance.  One that I've found extremely helpful is www.gmarketing.com/.  The Guerrilla tactics phrase may put some off, but the site is extremely helpful. It provides full-length articles on a variety of relevant topics.  Another interesting site is www.telemkt.com, where you can sign up for a free newsletter, participate in online discussions and receive a free copy of a marketing magazine.

 The Return of the Elves

 One intense site, www.debrief.co.uk/, requires a no-cost trial registration to browse for seven days. After receiving a temporary registration and password via return e-mail, I browsed for several hours through abstracts. One article focused on Disney World's successful targeted marketing efforts to increase visits by Canadians to the Magic Kingdom.  Other topics discussed the lifecycles of products, performance trajectories, market tiers and an in-depth look at disruptive technologies.  Another interesting article focused on what led to the downfalls of many well-known corporations.  One of my favorite articles highlighted marketing and advertising success titled ``Elves Make Good Cookies--creating likeable spoke character advertising."  The site offers a wealth of information and it is worth a trial registration and many hours of browsing.

A site that has information and provides individualized research of topics is www.the-dma.org/.  An e-mail contact address is provided for research topics and a fee may be charged.

            My personal recommendation from my experience as the director of marketing and public affairs for a telecommunications corporation is to have a true passion for your product or services, know them better than anyone and look for creative opportunities to network.  My new company is currently offering schools a fun and entertaining newsletter that promotes the importance of reading. Our best contacts were made during two days at a local school district teacher's conference.  The invitation came after I'd appeared at the opening of a local Challenger Learning Center on educators' day and was observed by an officer of the Local Reading Foundation.  Now why hadn't that occurred to me in the past? Brainstorming with a good team is very important.  It gets the creative juices flowing, ideas bouncing and helps keep attitudes positive and excitement high.  I know it means a great deal to me personally when a marketing or sales person believes in a product and promotes it with enthusiasm.

Your Marketing/Advertising Plan

 The most important person in any company is the one that is the initial contact with potential customers.  You only have one opportunity to make a first impression. This initial contact might be a receptionist, secretary, sales person, relief switchboard operator or the owner of the company.  Most of us have had the unpleasant experience of calling a business and reaching someone who is curt, speaks too quickly or cannot be understood.  Online marketing may provide e-mail contact addresses for information and the response time and tone of the responding person will make the first impression.  A wonderful ``Customer Care" program is of vital importance in building repeat business. In my opinion, it is critical to the ultimate success of any project.  I like the term ``Customer Care" because it says a company cares and is not just servicing a caller.

            One of the best companies in terms of ``Customer Care" is Coldwater Creek , a catalog company that treats customers extremely well.

My favorite example of outstanding corporate marketing behavior is from Mead-Johnson and its quick reaction to the tainted Tylenol disasters.  The company faced the problem head-on and developed a solution to prevent future tampering that has had a tremendously positive impact on the entire pharmaceutical community.  The marketing and advertising strategy included donating thousands of samples to physicians, consumers and hospitals.  Mead-Johnson not only regained its former market share, but increased profits.  The true measure of the strength of any organization is how the leaders respond to difficult situations.  Keep this in mind when marketing anything online. 

 It's a Package Deal

 Responsibility doesn't end with the sale, but continues for a long time, beginning and ending with ``Customer Care."  Create some nice experiences, quality products and services that your customers will fondly remember.  You have the ability to make your sales stories end with, ``They lived happily ever after and were repeat customers." Without a good marketing plan, you will not sell product.  Without an excellent ``Customer Care" program, your business will not survive.

 E. Sue Thurman is president/CEO of Starshine & Company Productions, producing educational and entertaining programs throughout the country.  Her experience includes serving as director of marketing and public affairs in the telecommunications arena.  She is also a freelance writer, columnist, performance artist, and editor-in-chief of GNN, Galaxy News Network, an educational newsletter for K-6th classrooms that encourages reading, writing and visiting the realm of imagination.  GNN is planned for launch by the end of the year.  To receive the initial issue of GNN free, please send your e-mail address with "Free Issue" in the subject line to: Starshine@stars9.com.

  

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