Be a Contrarian Marketer by Following 6-10 Principles

Picture of Contrarian Marketing

The excerpt below highlights the 6th – 10th marketing principles about how to be a Contrarian Marketer.  This expert is taken from Chapter 4 of Contrarian Marketing, and is instructive to building marketing skills to understand how contrarian marketing is ‘not magic’, but rather ‘just math‘.

Contrarian Marketing Highlights include:

#6:  Invest Marketing funds where your competition is weak.

#7:  Be Walmart or Nordstrom, but not both

#8:  Get Marketing & Sales Departments to Share one common target prospect list!

#9:  Bring your marketing to life, by getting your operations to delivery on the promise of the customer experience.

#10:  Pick Your Customers before they pick you!


Picture of Marketing is Simple - a company makes a promise and a customer has an expectation to receive what is promised

6. Be contrarian, spend your marketing funds where customers are, where your company is strong, and where your competition is weak.

For example, if your competition mass-markets, grab their best customers with a highly focused marketing campaign to that group. If your company has exceptionally strong service, make a bold guarantee to your B-of-B customers and prospects that your company guarantees a specific service-level or the service is free. Be simple, clear, and bold.

Use different marketing tactics than what your competition employs. For instance, if your competition gives away logo merchandise as a customer incentive (e.g., shirts, pens, hats, etc.), use a gift service to send thoughtful gift baskets with personalized notes.

In companies that I have worked with in the past, I have commissioned company-specific, branded “Tiffany-style” quality boxes for $10 each. While some may regard a $10 box as wasteful, the company creates tremendous break-through and excitement with customers who receive a gift that is elegantly packaged. A box is filled and sent with items tailored to the customer’s specific tastes, whether it is cookies, a bottle of wine, or gourmet peanuts. A personalized note is also included. As a result, the company has received countless unsolicited phone calls from customers thanking them for their thoughtfulness.

Here’s a testimonial from an employee who received outstanding returns by sending out

gifts to B-of-B customers:

“I sent out customer gifts recently,” says Fernando A., and included a prospect that we’ve been trying to turn into a customer for the past year. When he received his gifts he called to thank us. After that, he placed an order for $3,000.”

Where else can you get that type of return on your investment?

7. Decide whether your company wants to be all things to all people

Both Wal-Mart and Nordstrom have viable and profitable business models—however each has vastly different customer propositions: “low prices” to the masses (Wal-Mart) and “great service” to the few who can afford their prices (Nordstrom).

Picture of Wal-Mart versus Nordstroms customer service model

8.  Align your marketing initiatives directly with your sales initiatives by sharing a specific list of target customers and prospects with your sales team, and developing the value proposition together.

In business-to-business marketing, marketing is designed to support the sales force. The marketing department and sales department should never be adversarial. By working from a common list, and developing the USP together, the marketing and sales teams can consolidate their efforts as a force multiplier for superior results.

9.  Align your marketing messaging with the customer experience that your operation delivers.

It is essential that the customers who buy your product or service have the “experience” that your company’s marketing campaigns promise.

Marketing is very, very simple:
—A company makes a promise.
—A customer has an expectation to receive what is promised.

10.Focus only on a few B-of-B customers and prospects so you can pick your customers and prospects before they pick you.

Targeting the few not only enables you to re-write the rule-book on cost per impression and cost per lead, but also enables you to bring quality and confidence to your entire team—from the CEO suite, to field offices and your sales staff.

In most markets, broadcast or print media deliver the message with greater than 95 percent waste. In other words, more than 95 percent of the recipients of the message are not potential customers. These media inefficiencies make it impossible to get a good deal and expect a reasonable return on investment.

For this reason, I discourage local stores and salespersons from such an inefficient methodology. Far more efficient are the concerted efforts to build bottom-up marketing campaigns personalized to each local market and salesperson, and most importantly, to each customer.

In the next few posts, I’ll present the method and merits of determining just how many customers you really need.

Source:  Excerpt from the Contrarian Marketing Book  Chapter 4 – Begin With The End in Mind

By Nick Mavrick

You can find Nick Mavrick on Google+

Intelligent Response specializes in managing and securing Strategic Marketing and Web Development projects from start to finish in Washington DC.

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