Kick It Up a Notch

Feel The Heat

Marketing tactics also come in various temperatures, too, and you should use a range of them to draw prospects in and move them closer to a buying decision. An integrated marketing approach draws upon a variety of media and tactics to convey one central message or branding theme. But avoid adopting just a single tactic-such as relying solely on direct mail to warm prospects or exclusively on PR to reach cold ones-while completely neglecting the tactics that have the po-tential to motivate prospects who are in other stages of your sales cycle. Combine your marketing program with some kind of interpersonal interaction, such as one-on-one sales contacts, for a well-rounded approach.

Case in point: Let's say your company manufactures hand-dipped chocolates that you sell wholesale to gift and gourmet stores and via retail on your company Web site. To reach cold prospects, you participate in gift and fancy food trade shows, where the theme of your booth is carried through into all your marketing handouts as well as the advertising in the show programs. An ongoing ad campaign in the trade magazines that reach your audience carries the same message. Following the shows, your staff makes "warm" calls to follow up all the leads gathered. The names of your warm prospects are added to your database, and those retailers receive catalogs by mail followed by mailings about every six weeks that continue to move them through the sales cycle. To turn warm prospects into hot ones and close sales, you send broadcast faxes with special pricing and promotions to create immediacy, and your staff follows up the faxes with telephone calls to close. Hot retail prospects who've purchased from your Web site receive special reminders via e-mail of birthdays or upcoming occasions to stimulate repeat sales.

Do you have a well-rounded marketing program like the one described above? To turn up the heat and increase the year-round success of your growing business, set up an ongoing integrated marketing program that does an effective job of reaching out to cold, warm and hot prospects. And don't be afraid to mix it up a little bit-choose from advertising, PR, direct mail, special promotions, broadcast faxes and Web marketing. Combined with your company's ongoing sales efforts, you're sure to find the winning formula that's right for your business.

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Kim Gordon is the owner of National Marketing Federation and is a multifaceted marketing expert, speaker, author and media spokesperson. Her latest book is Maximum Marketing, Minimum Dollars.

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This article was originally published in the September 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Kick It Up a Notch.

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