Thursday, August 23, 2018

3 Legged Stool Of Marketing

Do You Have The Stability of a 3-Legged Stool Marketing Plan?


Have you ever sat on a 3 legged stool? The reality is it does not wiggle or shake. It can be said that every business is supported by a three-legged stool. Each leg of the stool represents one of the three marketing elements needed to run a successful campaign.

Since its inception and initial use in the early years of the twentieth century, the three-legged stool analogy has been used to describe the fundamental principles of business, leadership, investment, banking, politics, art and even baking. Its longevity and endurance speak to its strength and simple eloquence of design, representative of specific ideas and fundamental principles that shape successful organizations.

In the quintessential successful organization, the three ‘legs’ will be of equal height, size and strength. For if any one or two of the legs are shorter, thinner, or weaker than the others then the risk for the business is multiplied exponentially. This risk negates potential, slowing or stopping growth, causing instability, doubt and can lead to catastrophic failure, the whole project can begin collapse or never even get off the ground in the first place.

In order for the stool to remain sturdy, supportive and even all three legs must be balanced. Just as with this stool analogy to ensure a successful marketing campaign it is imperative to keep marketing ideas, efforts and goals balanced, on-track and on time.
For those who have worked with or spent time with us here at Larson & Associates, you are probably already very familiar with our well-established fondness for this analogy. The simple eloquence of design and purpose illustrate perfectly the need for supportive planning, strategy, and long-term implementation. For those of you who have not had the opportunity to hear our version of what we call “The three-legged stool of marketing” pull up your stool, maybe put on a pillow and get comfortable.
In this analogy, the seat represents your company your organizational idea, your dream. To be successful, you want it to be stable, accommodating, and enticing to clients and customers from every walk of life. In business this is accomplished and accentuated through marketing, a sturdy, strategically planned and dependable marketing strategy is going to include 3 main “legs” Direct Mail, Email Campaigning, and Telemarketing. At Larson & Associates, we build strategic, stable, successful marketing plans with this proven combination of direct mail, email campaigns, and telemarketing. At Larson & Associates, it is our firm collective belief that if you were to utilize nothing else except these 3 marketing tactics effectively that your business will grow and prosper. Not just grow but grow at the rate we want it to, 3 times the national gross national product.
Direct Mail is seen as a dinosaur by many but before you dismiss it do your research, it has proven to be beneficial. Don’t forget to apply the golden rule 40/20/40 the success of your direct mail marketing efforts are going to be dependent upon three factors –
40% of your success will come from how effective your mailing list is, another 40% will depend on how compelling your offer is, and the remaining 20% will come from everything else (design, the copy/text of the mailing, etc.).The takeaway here is do not spend exuberant time on flashy graphics, layouts.

Keep in mind the mail box is next to empty. 
Some key things to keep in mind when planning this campaign:

Find your target audience
Test the Market
Make a powerful call to action
Don't’ forget to proofread
Don't forget to follow up
Be sure to direct them to your online site
Email is your channel of distribution, use it wisely. To share your latest blog, a sale or just share information this is the way to go. But use it wisely. Make what you are sending them useful, make an intriguing subject line, make your content engaging and always provide an awesome call to action.
Telemarketing is the glue to make this all come together.

It gives you the unique ability to go in ask questions on what you sent and come away with the information you are after and then it gives you immediate feedback.

All 3 methods have been the focus of many arguments debating their relevance in today’s technical age. When it seems their marketing attempts have returned less than desirable results or seems to have failed, business people tend to blame the media platform first. “I should never have used email, no one opens those, I ruined my whole campaign by focusing on email.”

Or it’s the fault of the greatly derided direct mail platform, where it seems everyone is quick to advise you afterwards that ‘It’s just a waste of time and resources, no one pays attention to print any longer.’ .

But in the end these media platforms are just tools — like hammers, harnesses and remote controls — they work properly only if you can hit the nail, buckle the straps or press the right buttons.
Being in the marketing business my brain is always running, looking at products and see how they could be promoted, sales or conversions. Did you realize humans have an attention span of 8 seconds??? WOW!
The brain processes visuals 60,0000 times faster than the time it takes the brain to decode text. Being able to add graphics, pictures, and visuals to sell yourself with is a must.
  Marketing that cuts through the clutter with attention-getting graphics and copy is important to success.
Keep it simple. Due to cognitive fluency, the brain craves ease and order. Direct mail and email that creates a simple decision path with limited copy and explanation always test better. Add that to a simple call to action telemarketing follow up and there you go.

The support is in the legs. Like a stool, your campaign will topple if any of the legs are weak or not there. And before you blame the multi-channel legs of your campaign’s shortcomings, ask first whether you got the right marketing channel, list, and message.
A business owner told me “telemarketing doesn’t work’  but then after I nitched him down and slashed his overly long script that only emphasizes benefits that address the target audience’s primary needs, he went and had a successful calling campaign.

Another very common complaint was voiced by a business owner. She claimed that email does not work. Together we examined & cleaned her email list, determined her primary audience, sent targeted emails and added on a phone call to people who opened up the email 3 or more times. She saw the power of email when it was used properly.

A similar story unfolded with a couple of business owners who had decided that direct mail doesn’t work. We sat down together looked over their mailing list cleaned it up and then look at the content they were sending. The content was tweaked to be more relevant, graphics and a call to action were added. They immediately saw a turn around in the number of clients brought in this way.
Of course, all media channels don’t work for all people and purposes. But what is the right one for you? If you’re B2B like I and my clients are, I go to my stool legs of direct mail, email, and telemarketing. Time and time again this is where the real marketing action is, Everything else, yes everything in that long list only supports rolls to these 3.

But more often than not, you’ll have better luck with your marketing campaigns if you examine your target market and message first. If you don’t get those right, it doesn’t matter what media channel you choose. You’re doomed to failure.

So come with us and sit down on your companies stool and let us keep those legs strong and working

Larson & Associates

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Maximizing Trade Show ROI

Are you a Powerball player? With Powerball, the odds of winning are approximately 1 / 175,000,000. You can go out and buy 1000 unique tickets, your odds of winning are about 1000 / 175,000,000. Nice odds, huh?  Just buying a ticket is no guarantee of success. So how does this apply to us and trade shows and Trade Show ROI?
At Larson & Associates, we often hear Companies complain that after exhibiting at trade shows that the ROI was not worth the effort or investment. The first question I ask is, “How many appointments with prospects did you have set up before the show?” Usually, the answer is none.

Yep, ZERO, zilch, nada. They pay for a booth, their salespeople, inventory etc. and sit, waiting for the clients to roll in, just hoping that all these wonderful prospects with a need will drop by the booth during the show. Betting that the old “Build it and they will come” principle can work magic, whether or not they are familiar with your company beforehand, is just plain stupid. You are spending thousands of dollars to get lucky. Just like shooting for that Powerball, you might improve your odds a little but if you’re not committed and truly engaged with a working strategy beforehand then dumb luck is all you have. Not sure what the odds of success are with that, but I will bet that they’re not good.
When our skilled strategists at Larson & Associates ask these same  companies what sales goals have they set for themselves during the show, the response is a mixture of “What are we supposed to be measuring?” and “We were more focused on our booth design and collateral.” Again they spent thousands of dollars without a plan.

What follows is an outline of a pre-trade show strategy that we here at Larson & Associates have designed and developed after many trade shows and demonstrations. Strategies which have resulted in our completely booking all open time slots for sales appointments (averaging 38 appointments over a 3 day show). These appointments are invaluable in the acquisition of highly qualified leads for both team members where they are able to sit down and discuss strategy.

The key to any strategy is being prepared, knowing what to expect and how to react, planning for outcomes and positioning yourself in the best possible place to benefit and succeed. Here is what we do…
1. Make a wish list (12 weeks before show)
Go through the conference exhibitor list and highlight the companies that you would like to connect with at the show, regardless of whether you know someone there or not. Select companies that you think are a good fit to work with (yes power partners), that match your target audience, or that you simply want to understand better.
2. Research (10 weeks out)
For each wish list company, identify a contact from that company to reach out to for an appointment. First look within your CRM to see if you have any existing contracts with that company. If not, an option may be to peruse professional sites such as LinkedIn, although they are making it so you might need to have the premium account to do any real research as prospecting tool. Find companies that match your target by searching the company name and looking for employees with the correct job titles. You’re probably thinking, great, but how do I get their email and phone number?
First, see if you have any mutual connections with the lead that you can ask to make an introduction. If there are no mutual connections, you can always find general phone numbers listed on the company website.  For email, you can look in a few places – the company’s contact page, career page, or news page/press releases – to uncover if not the contact’s exact email address, then the common email format used by the company. (For example, if marketing director Joe Smith’s email is listed as, then you can pretty safely assume that product manager Mary Thomas’s email will

Research requires you to invest a bit of time (if you don’t have the time Larson & Associates have people dedicated to doing research just like this) for finding contact information. But it will pay off greatly. Fact is, 78% of salespeople using social media outsell their peers, while it is a tool to help, Social Media will never be a replacement for Salesmanship. It’s not (note to self, write a paper on what Social Media is good for) LinkedIn, specifically, is responsible for more than 80% of a business’ social media leads.
3. Email outreach (beginning 7 weeks out)
Here is where we start to hit on the entire show attendance list. Today 80% of leads take 20-40 “touches” to close if started from scratch, less if at a targeted industry trade show. There is no guarantee that you will reach your lead with every email, so repetition and careful timing are important.
 Here are a few tips for emailing leads pre-show:
Timing: The best times to email are weekdays from 9:30-11:00 a.m. That lets them clean out the night time senders.

Keep on track: and on target, for the upcoming show. Talk about your product or service, and why you should get together. This may require research beforehand about their strengths and areas of opportunity.

Follow the data: Prioritize your follow-up emails using data from the previous email. With most emailing systems like the one we use, you can view open rates, click-through rates, and site revisits. This has made our sales process much more data-driven, strategic and very cost effective.

Track your opens: Keep a record of how many times you reach out to a lead. Some leads may have more touches because of their responsiveness, so it’s important to manage multiple sales cycles as organized a manner as possible.
4. Cold calling (beginning 6 weeks out)
Cold calling can be intimidating for salespeople. In 2007, it took 3.7 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. Today it takes 8. Now there’s much more opportunity to practice this skill!
Here are a few tips for cold calling leads pre-show:
Refer to your emails: Beginning your sales outreach with email is a great tactic because you can use the email as a talking point in your call. The lead will have at least some awareness of your company or product ahead of time, which can help move the discussion forward.

Say what you need to say: Be direct in telling the lead why you are calling. It’s important for them to know what you’d like to meet about. The last thing you want to do is waist any ones time.

Have a plan B: You can’t win every time, but you don’t have to just throw your hands up and go. If they are not interested in having an appointment at the show, let them know you will be walking around and might just stop by their booth to say hello. If they are not attending the show at all, ask if there’s someone else from their company attending to meet with.
5. Setting appointments (ongoing as you reach leads)
Depending on how long you will be at the show and how sales people are attending, you can determine how many appointments per day you can schedule
Here are a few tips for pre-show appointment setting:
Make scheduling easy: If you think a lead is interested in your company, whether they have responded to you or not, list three time slots to meet with them and suggest a location. This skips a few steps in the back-and-forth of scheduling.
Consider time zones: Make sure to note the correct time zone (the one the show is in) on your calendar invitation to avoid double booking by mistake.
6. Send out postcard mailer 2 weeks out)
You want to put something in their hands and have it with a coupon for a special show gift if they come in with the card. To get better booth traffic you need to give them an incentive. Send out a mailer.

There is no real magic in making a trade show successful. What it does take is hard work and planning, lots of planning, and commitment to strategy and the will to succeed. Without a doubt, the strategizing and the hard work can be very time-consuming. Time is not always an easy commodity to come by with business to run and obligations to meet you have to make the most and invest your resources wisely. Luck alone will always guarantee you a lousy ROI.

Indeed planning and strategizing can be accomplished ‘in-house’ but for the times or projects when this is just simply not an option, remember Larson & Associates, we are here to help!
Larson & Associates 847-991-1294 or just email me