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Friday, December 07, 2007

The 3 "Staying Top of Mind" Marketing Tips Challenge

"Top of Mind" originally uploaded by Tatah.
Chris Brown from Branding & Marketing recently passed the "Staying Top of Mind" Challenge on to me.

Here is the challenge: List the 3 best Staying Top of Mind marketing tips. The idea is:

+ It shouldn't take a lot of time to execute
+ It shouldn't feel too much like an ad or be in your face
+ It should help your customers or potential customers think of your services.

What a fascinating and relevant challenge! We're busy, bombarded with meaningless messages, stretched and stressed for time. Yet, we also appreciate respectful efforts to forge valuable relationship.

How to create value? Hmmm.

Well, what doesn't offer value?

Take this situation. The regional representative for Corporate Express regularly calls me. He's obviously being graded on how many calls he makes to his customer list, and I'm on it. These are forced, awkward efforts to tell me about the latest, greatest office product deals. The calls are useless and waste my time.

Here's why. I'm an online customer and order specific items [paper, toner] when I run out. I'm not ordering for a large office and yet that's what these calls are geared toward. Does that make sense?

I much prefer an email acknowledgement that offers guidance on how to handle a problem. Even better is a paper or email reminder [as my online pharmacy Medco does] that I'm due for a refill, with a link to the items I normally order. That represents value to me.

Jack Mitchell epitomizes this type of intelligent staying top of mind thinking in A Good Hug is Worth and Hugs or Relentless Customer Focus! Isn't it about considering and anticipating all aspects of the relationship?

Since relationship is what it's all about, here are my tips:

+ Acknowledge and thank at every opportunity: in person, via email, or through handwritten notes. Feature people and companies in relevant work [presentations, blogposts, referrals] and let them know about it.

+ Use any system that works for you to keep track of dates, ideas, people that you associate with a person so you have a reason to connect in a timely manner.

+ Constantly be on the lookout for relevant links, photos, or articles of interest and forward those as appropriate via email, twitter, snailmail.

Do you remember how Melanie Griffith in Working Girl constantly read newspapers and magazines looking for connections? We're lucky in that the Internet and blogs make that easier than ever. We have Google alerts, Technorati, del.icio.us... Our challenge, though, is to bridge the virtual world with the world that most of our clients, customers, consumers and family still live in, gently taking them by the hand to initiate and welcome them into what's available digitally.

Isn't that a way to offer value, build relationship and stay top of mind? Especially when doing it in a genuine and selfless way.

In turn, I pass the "Staying Top of Mind" Marketing Tips challenge to:

+ Brad Shorr at Word Sell: he recently honored me with The ClueTrain Manifesto. Talk about never forgetting someone!
+ Maria Palma at Customers Are Always: I consider her the ultimate resource for top of mind customer service
+ Arun Rajagopal: his amazing marketing efforts landed a mindblogging coup for The Age of Conversation.

Thanks, Chris, for inviting me to participate! [Note: I hope you're as excited as I am that it didn't take four months to respond as Northern New Jersey and Me: Perfect Together! did.]

And, Becky Carroll has some terrific responses to this challenge in Staying Top of Mind with Customers.

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