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The Skill of Marketing

Written by Jeffrey R. Armstrong – President/Owner of Armstrong Capital

Your favorite Master Note Buyer – Straightforward, Honest, Fair…

I’ve been through this before, I already tried that, it doesn’t work for me, I don’t know how; are all comments I hear consistently from individuals trying to market for their business.  As we all know marketing must be efficient and targeted to be successful.  Efficiency in marketing is maximum results with a minimum of time, effort and money.  In other words, marketing efficiency is generating the most amounts of qualified prospects in the least amount of time with the least amount of money.  The more targeted and manageable your marketing is, the more efficient it will be.

Marketing is not just throwing an ad in the newspaper for one weekend, nor is it sending out 500 letters one time.  Marketing is a process.  The process of marketing takes time and you need to be able to track and analyze your results.  Because marketing is a process you need to have a written marketing plan.  A written marketing plan will be a path for you to follow as your business develops and changes.  Your marketing may change over time and that is ok but whatever you plan to do you must have a written marketing plan.

Over the years I have discovered, and marketing experts will attest to, the fact that a marketing plan must consist of three to five marketing methods at any one time.  You cannot do one marketing method and hope that its results will sustain your business for the long run.  Think of it this way.  If I go bass fishing I am more likely to catch a fish if I have five lines in the water than just one line. Correct?  It’s the same thing with marketing.  You will catch more fish (qualified prospects) with five lines in the water (5 marketing methods) than you will with one.

That being understood what would a good marketing plan consist of and where does skill come into the equation?  Well when creating your marketing plan you will need to constantly test and retest the components of each and every marketing method that you choose until you reach maximum efficiency.  You will test one marketing method against another marketing method (Macro testing) to see which ones work the best for you.  Then for the ones that generate numbers of qualified prospects you will need to test each and every component of each particular marketing method (Micro testing) until maximum efficiency is achieved.

A good marketing plan might consist of Direct Mail, Classified Ads, a Referral Network and Internet Banner Ads.  Initially you will perform Macro testing to find out which ones actually produce qualified prospects for you on a consistent basis and which of them generate more than the other.  So you will Macro test one marketing method against the other.  For example, you would compare Direct Mail to Classified Ads and Referral Network results to Internet Banner Ad results.  Then you would mix them up and test Classified Ads against Internet Banner Ads and Referral Network against Direct Mail. And so on and so forth.  Once you have determined your strongest marketing methods in your marketing plan your tests will get even more specific.

Let’s say that Direct Mail works very well for you and that half of your qualified prospects come from this one marketing method.  You then start the process of Micro testing each and every component of Direct Mail including but not limited to: where you get the list from, how old the names and addresses are, what area you get the most responses from and when you mail them out (day of the week, time of the month).  You will test postcards against letters. You will also micro test the content of the postcards or letters, the salutation, grabber headline, the features and benefits and the call to action.  Every time you test one component you are not changing anything else about that marketing method except the component you are testing.  I suggest you test for at least three months to determine its feasibility as it relates to producing more qualified prospects (six months is better if you can).  In Direct Mail you will also Micro test the type of paper, the color ink, the signature, the post script, the type of envelopes, printing on the envelope and of course the type of postage.  All the while seeing what effect each component has on the number of responses from qualified prospects.  Are you getting the picture? Much more to it than just sending out a letter, isn’t there?

What about Classified Ads?  What are the components of classified advertising that need to be Micro tested?  To start with you might want to test large national daily papers like USA Today, regional weekly throw away papers like the Penny Saver or Thrifty Nickel, daily city or county papers like the Los Angeles Times and the Sacramento Bee and even local weekly or monthly papers like the Agoura Hills Acorn or the Desert Sun.  You will then continue to Micro test the other components of classified ad marketing always striving for efficiency and trying to scientifically deduce what combination of components gets you the best results.  These other components might include at the very least the text of the ad, the placement of the ad, the section of the paper, the time of week, month or year that the ad is placed, the length of time the ad is placed and how many ads to run at the same time.  Once we have a targeted and manageable classified ad we will generate the most amount of responses on a consistent basis.

I will let you figure out the components of a Referral Network and Internet Banner Ads as well as any other marketing methods that you choose to test.  The main reason for explaining the science of marketing to you is so that you do not just try one thing and then conclude it doesn’t work.  “Oh, I placed an ad in a paper last weekend and I got no responses,” says the new broker.  My response, “Did you Macro test and Micro test the marketing method until you generated the response you wanted or did you just try it one time and give up?”

Whether you know it or not testing your marketing methods is the only way to figure out what is going to work for you. The thing is that no one marketing method works for everyone. You and you alone will need to determine if a particular marketing method works for you through testing and retesting.  Like an experiment or a puzzle you will need to figure out the different components to each marketing method and determine its viability for your business.

Remember, success demands action! Keep on marketing, it’s going to work! TWITA! (That’s What I’m Talking About!)

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