Christmas Card Marketing

Mark Frasco - President


December 2013 – Every year about this time, we breathe a sigh of relief. With great effort, we ask everyone to gather their contacts from this past year; we organize them into a list and circle the resources to send our company holiday greetings. Good job everyone… not really.

The rub is, for many organizations, each year this is the only touch they have with their network or prospect list. My observation is that for most businesses, making regular contact with organizations that don’t send them money is a big challenge.

I’m embarrassed to divulge how many times I’ve presented my products or services to a decision maker and have that decision maker tell me, “Mark, I’m impressed with your presentation and would use your services, but we engaged/signed a contract/made a decision a couple months ago to use…” or, “Mark, this sounds great, but we’re at least a year away from making a decision on this.”

When implementing business growth initiatives, timing is everything. So, how do we overcome the challenge of “too late” or “too early”? Of course, if we knew the moment that a decision maker was to consider a change, we’d make contact then, but we don’t know that moment.

Review the following chart. This is an example that unfortunately depicts many relationship building systems I see. Again, we send a holiday card, make a touch in the spring and maybe send something in the fall – two or three touches over a period of a year. If the line depicts a decision maker’s mood about his current supplier’s ability, service, price or quality, these touches had little impact. When you made contact, the decision maker was generally pleased with his/her current supplier and therefore the motivation to buy was low and your touch less memorable.

Imagine if there were 300 or 500 decision makers with their mood lines moving about the timeline. How would you ever expect to be memorable to each of them… when the time is right? The answer is simple, but not easy to install – make more regular contact; proactive contact, that provokes positive memories of your organization across a strategic list of targets.

Now, study the chart above. With a system of regular touches, timing, the most problematic variable in business-to-business sales is eliminated.

It is not the decision maker’s responsibility to remember your organization’s value propositions. Your organization must build the stories that describe your unique value in the minds of the decision makers, making your organization and what you do memorable. That memory is critical, when the time is right, as the decision maker becomes more motivated to change suppliers or engage on a new initiative with a firm like yours.

Here are a few things to think about as you consider implementing a more strategic, proactive relationship building system:

  1. Scrutinize your target list and maintain a manageable number of targets. Many business growth initiatives stall due to the challenges associated with managing a list of targets that is too large for their resources.
  2. Be strategic. Strategically select your future customers, rather than waiting for them to find you.
  3. Design and install a marketing platform that varies touch type, increasing the likelihood of various target types connecting to your message. Use the telephone, direct mail, emails, and handwritten cards (people still open hand addressed mail) to tell your story.
  4. Be consistent. Design plans that produce approximately one touch per month.
  5. Be persistent. Many of my successes over the years were a result of dogged persistence. Many of your most important customers wouldn’t be customers if you didn’t stay in touch.

So, if your relationship management system looks more like Christmas card marketing than a proactive, strategic, consistent, persistent process of interaction, you may have the answer to your business growth questions.

How did your business growth results fall behind your goals? One day at a time… start today.

Best wishes to all for a wonderful holiday season and a very prosperous new year.

Questions? Please contact Mark Frasco at mfrasco@teamCOACT.com