Can Your Company Improve Its Marketing By Giving It Away?

This is a guest post by Mack Collier, author of Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies that Turn Customers into Fans

Rock Star MarketingLet’s consider the marketing for two products you have bought. The first is your latest car. How did that automaker market to you? You probably saw TV commercials, newspaper ads, maybe online ads as well. In other words, likely a very ‘traditional’ marketing model was used by this automaker to connect with you and get your attention.

Now recall the marketing that was used to promote the latest CD or song you bought on iTunes. How did that artist promote themselves to you? Did they use commercials? Probably not. Newspaper ads? Nope. Direct mail? Be serious.

And yet, you bought the rock star’s product, despite the fact that they did little to no direct marketing to you.

The reason why rock stars can sell their products despite the fact that they do little to no ‘traditional’ marketing represents a fundamental difference in the ways that rock stars and most brands market their products.

More specifically, it represents a fundamental difference in who rock stars focus on connecting with.

Most brands, such as the automaker you bought your latest car from, focus their marketing efforts on acquiring new customers. There is a relentless marketing focus on bringing in new customers and expanding the customer base.

Rock stars, on the other hand, focus on connecting with their biggest fans. Their thinking is, if they can connect with their most passionate fans, that it will give those fans more incentive to go out and promote the rock star to their friends and family.

Effectively, rock stars have discovered that by connecting with their biggest fans, that those fans will become their marketing channels. Their fans will do the work of going out and finding new customers for them. The only requirement from the rock star’s end is that they make every effort to connect with the people that love them the most. This is something most rock stars would gladly do for free. So by connecting with their fans and appreciating them, rock stars have found a way to greatly reduce if not all but eliminate the cost of new customer acquisition.

Think about that the next time your brand is about to write a check for $3M to advertise during the Super Bowl.

So how can your company get started in connecting with its fans? Here are 4 very simple ways:

1 – Start monitoring what your customers are saying about your company online. Sure, it’s better if you can afford to use fancy monitoring tools to do this, but if not, there are plenty of free ones like Google Blog Search and Twitter search that can do most of the basic work for you.

2 – Respond to your customers that are talking about your brand. This seems completely counter-intuitive to many brands that have for years left their customers alone and haven’t interacted with them. Start engaging with your customers, especially the ones that are praising you, and especially the ones that are criticizing you. In both cases, these customers are trying to get your attention on some level. So if you respond, they will be grateful.

3 – Say ‘thank you’ to customers that are praising your brand. This seems like common sense, but many brands want to avoid interacting with customers that are praising them.  Saying ‘thank you’ to a customer that says something nice about your brand is an incredibly easy way to ensure that this customer will probably say more nice things about your brand. We all want to be acknowledged and appreciated.

4 – Put the spotlight on the customers that are your fans. This is an extension of step #3.  If you see that Sue is constantly tweeting out how she likes your brand, then on Friday why not do a #FollowFriday for Sue, and tweet to everyone how they should follow her on Twitter, and how your brand appreciates her. That will likely make Sue’s day, but it’s simply a matter of appreciating the people that are supporting you.

These steps seem like pretty basic stuff, right?

Guess what, it really is that easy for your brand to cultivate fans. All you have to do is stop thinking like a brand, and start thinking like your customers.

One thought on “Can Your Company Improve Its Marketing By Giving It Away?”

  1. Mack, I love your approach when engaging with customers. Excellent point to thank them online and highlight them. I’ve met many of mine over on Twitter and have become friends with some along the way. It is great to get to know them better so you get to know their needs and market to new people from that experience.

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