Hot on the Trail?

Consistent marketing messages lead to better sales.
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This story appears in the November 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »
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Medical scrubs aren't brand-driven, so Sandi Richter has to be creative in marketing Crazy Scrubs, her fun line of clinician-wear. Her marketing works best when individual vehicles have the same look, and one leads to the next: in-store marketing to the website, direct mail to in-store promotions, the website to the catalog and so on.

"You have to be consistent," explains the 47-year-old Englewood, Colorado, entrepreneur. "Your online and off-line strategies have to build on each other."

Marketing consultant Bryan Eisenberg, author of Waiting for Your Cat to Bark? Persuading Customers When They Ignore Marketing, calls it "scent-trail marketing." He says customers seek out information as if they were following a scent. A weak scent trail that doesn't draw customers into the campaign or point them to the next step in the sales process puts the sale at risk.

How does it work? Create a consistent look and message from your first contact with customers, directing them to the point of purchase. A direct-mail piece with a special offer should send customers to a special page on your website that has the same look and offer as the mailer. Says Eisenberg, "Carry the message through your in-store signage or your catalog, or wherever the conversion happens."

Gwen Moranis co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Plans.
Edition: June 2017

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