In late February, marketers met in Puerto Rico for ERA’s first-ever Great Ideas Summit in the Caribbean. And although the offshore location produced a certain degree of jet lag among ERA’s West Coast membership, the warm-weather networking and the program content left everyone feeling energized. With not one, but three, expert keynote speakers, the summit delivered a top-down view of the role social and digital media play in selling practically anything today.
First, bestselling marketing author and motivational speaker Brendon Burchard discussed the concept he calls “circular viralocity,” in which marketers engage customers in every possible touchpoint to build momentum toward conversions and community, instead of seeing the conversion as an end to itself. Marketers should devote at least 15 percent of their resources to capturing prospects online, he said. “Get all of those people to touch a website you own and control, and track them. The mistake is to build social media just for your widget and brand; the challenge is to build around it.”
Longtime infomercial marketer Dean Graziosi affirmed that any marketer who’s serious about salesmanship needs to be prepared for the long haul. “Camp out in the prospect’s mind,” he said. “Enter a conversation that’s already in someone’s mind and finish their sentences. And don’t pretend you love them when they say ‘yes;’ love them all the way through. Love them six months after they buy.”
Finally, consultant and copywriter Frank Kern drilled down with specifics on creating engagement through multiple online channels. If marketers can pick out the “milestones” along the purchase path for customers and potential customers, they can address specific needs and solve problems along the way to buying and brand affinity. “Let’s build an interwoven series of highly sophisticated campaigns that sell to this person over many months,” Kern said. In time, “they will grow to love you and love your brand.”
In other words, most marketing activity—even in direct response—is no longer defined by the one-and-done deal. Selling is now just as much a question of careful cultivation as it is innovation, and while having a good product is crucial, lasting success is often the result of imparting added value and creating community online. It’s a difficult lesson for marketers to learn, and not just in DR.
That’s why ERA stages events like this throughout the year. The Great Ideas Summit, European HomeShopping Conference, D2C Convention, and our other meetings and networking events help fellow direct response marketers stay on top of the trends and manage their strategies in an evolving marketplace, and they will continue to offer cutting-edge thought leadership. It’s just one part of the value ERA brings to the members in its community.
President & CEO
Electronic Retailing Association