The Upside Of Peer Pressure


200upstreamEven for marketers at the peaks of their careers, creating campaigns aimed at fellow marketing professionals can bring on extreme bouts of performance anxiety. It’s as if you were cooking dinner for a Michelin-starred chef or performing a monologue for Meryl Streep—when someone who knows how the “sausage gets made” is watching, it’s much more nerve-racking to try and impress them. And their opinion of your work counts for so much more.

“Much like psychologists have a hard time not analyzing their friends, marketers have a hard time not breaking down external marketing into pieces,” says Matthew Iscoe, marketing manager for Smithtown, New York-based Thriving Firm, which provides services for accounting professionals.

Whether it’s a self-promotion for your distributorship or work for a client who needs to attract other marketers to their product or service, marketers-turned-advertising targets often place more confidence in, and therefore are more likely to buy from, those who understand the value of marketing, says Paul Entin, owner at epr Marketing, a Bloomsbury, New Jersey-based agency.

PPB surveyed marketing professionals to learn the difference between a campaign that gets tossed into their reject pile and one that succeeds in convincing them to buy. What we learned is a mix of things you likely know but have forgotten and ideas that may totally surprise you.

Don’t hide the point. If it’s a thank-you, then make it a “Thank You!”—not a “Thank you, if you buy more stuff.” Likewise, don’t call gifts special offers. (There is a difference.) Telling prospects you’re giving them something that has no stand-alone value is a quick way to alienate them.

Ensure products are usable. Instead of a postcard, give a coaster. Instead of a plastic figurine, make it a branded USB drive. Stainless steel water bottles, travel mugs, and reusable bags are always welcome gifts, too.

Personalize it by focusing on smaller target audiences. This allows you to afford higher-quality gifts and provides room for special touches, such as hand-written notes.

Avoid vague words such as “quality” and “value”. Instead, offer a story or explanation of what your client really brings to the table so customers can understand the product or service you’re promoting.

Provide experiential tastes. Whenever possible, allow prospects the opportunity to sample products or services before they buy and integrate this offer with a campaign or promotional product.

The marketing professionals we spoke to had one final piece of advice: Always aim for excellence. From professional photography to better-quality promotional merchandise, marketers who dissect your campaigns will look for evidence that they are important targets whom you want to impress.

“I know how to, and can, send out mass emails, and I can tell when companies are pitching to numerous marketers,” says Kathryn Bisson, marketing specialist at Nashua, New Hampshire-based Zco Corporation, which produces mobile apps. “I respond better to campaigns with a personalized touch.”
>>Ideas For Winning Over Your Peers

To alert advertisers of its ad-sales closing date, a magazine catering to small businesses mailed custom die-cut puzzles to approximately 10,000 current and potential advertisers. The 15-piece puzzles featured six diverse covers from previous issues of the magazine with text reminding recipients of the deadline date. Cylindrical mailers with lids were used to package the puzzles and carried the slogan: “15 moves to greater profitability,” with the moves being the 15 puzzle pieces.

To secure appointments for salespeople, a promotional products distributor decided to “paddle” to the doorstep of 100 hard-to-reach senior marketing executives by mailing each a 30-inch canoe paddle. Recipients’ names were laser-engraved on the paddles, which came with hang-tags explaining that the distributor had the experience to outfit and guide them through the treacherous whitewaters of commerce.

To attract new members at its conference, the American Marketing Association designed a pen with a modern twist. The orange pens doubled as USB flash drives pre-loaded with conference materials such as PowerPoint presentations, articles, speaker support, literature and seminar materials. The drives’ large capacity provided plenty of personal storage space, too. One end of the pens included a stylus for tablets, making the “old-school” item a thoroughly modern device. The pens were delivered in black- and silver-alloy cases for a stylishly cool presentation.


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