Collaboration Marketing has arrived at the forefront…of the most effective way to advance your products and services.
We have gone through several types of marketing concepts and methods during the past 20 years, including traditional “Route” Marketing (repetitive – in their face) which includes “Stop, Drop & Roll” marketing, “Bribery” Marketing (giving them goodies so they will like you), to “Relationship” Marketing (knowing all about them and their family).
Most of us have tried some or all of these marketing approaches with limited to great success during the past years. The culture and climate of the business world were receptive to many of these methods, and depending on the skill of the marketer, they have served more or less appropriately. Let me be perfectly clear here: the culture and climate of the business world have changed more in the last five years than at any time in the past 100 years! That said, Relationship Marketing is one of the more recent past styles of marketing that is still very effective and valuable, especially when combined with Collaboration Marketing.
Collaboration Marketing focuses on attracting customers. Collaboration Marketing creates an environment where the target (client or prospect) wants to seek you out and engage you – a climate where they WANT to come to you. That might only mean they want to ask you a question – simply because they perceive you to be their go-to person i.e. “in the know.” The question they seek an answer to may not even be related to your business!
This collaborative approach draws customers by becoming ever more useful so they begin to seek you out for the off the wall type help which you should welcome. The example I often give is: “as a restoration company, you might expect your client to call you for help on a technical aspect of a Fire, Water or Mold problem, but collaborative success is really achieved when they call you because they need advice on where to buy mulch, or who is the best lawn service.” You may think, why should I want them to call me for mulch? The simple answer is: “You want them to think of you as the go-to person so much so, that they immediately think of you for non-restoration type questions.” When your client has that level of comfort with you, (they are thinking of you often), they WILL call you for the services that you provide and won’t even think of shopping elsewhere. In short: Effective collaborative marketing creates an almost unbreakable loyalty to you!
Traditional advertising, mailers, flyers, brochures, etc are designed to interrupt the “target” and be in their face – whether they want the information or not! The “PULL” approach of Collaboration Marketing means the marketer becomes so helpful to prospects and clients that they seek the marketer out, rather than the old “PUSH” approach, shoving “interruptive sales pitches” out in the hope that customers will be receptive to the offer.
Collaboration Marketing is about becoming more and more helpful by utilizing a wide range of resources to position the marketer to become very valuable, providing knowledge and information so that the client can immediately benefit. Rather than “owning the customer”, collaboration marketing strives to give each customer the perception that they own the vendor.
Traditional “one to one marketing” interrupts, however, Collaboration Marketing makes the focus more about “many to one”, connecting numerous clients with as many other clients, vendors, (including other customers), and yes even competitors! Plus, collaboration marketing is also the best way to learn what customers really think and want. We can then modify our products or services by incorporating the feedback into our product and services development process.
You may object by saying: “Traditional marketing techniques give us tight control over our marketing messages and brand. They’ve served us well for decades. Why change?” The short answer is: “This is happening whether we like it or not. People today are actively and publicly expressing their opinions about our company and products. If we don’t engage, competitors will.”
I speak often about the critical need of marketers to seek out, find, and provide Resource Documents to their prospects and clients. Resource documents (white papers, reports, and interesting articles) can come from consultants, distributors, similar industries, green-building experts, energy efficiency organizations, research companies, PR firms, Bloggers, and the almost unlimited database from Google. This list is endless and the sources could be many; it is not the number of individuals or consultants involved, but the quality and usefulness of the resource materials (information) that makes for successful marketing and establishes you as their go-to person.
If you aren’t developing a “relationship” with a prospect or client that includes Collaboration, you are not staying in today’s game. The game has changed, the rules have changed, and if you aren’t careful the players (you) may be replaced.
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