We all wish our marketing success could be guaranteed and efficient. Given the massive sales of the iPhone6 and iPhone6+, it seems these days all Apple has to do is “build it and they will come.”

The same goes for other recent product debuts such as the PlayStation4 and Xbox One. With built-in user communities, little traditional marketing was needed to inform prospective customers and build demand. The customers were already there for the taking.

For the rest of us, though, we need to rely on more tried and true methods, which brings me to the topic of exposing your product or service to target customers. Just how many times is enough? How can you ever be sure you’re reaching the right people the right number of times to ensure sales?

Marketing Truism #1 is that with marketing, you can never be sure. Marketing success is never guaranteed, not even when you think you’ve got a sure thing or the cleverest idea ever. For example, someone actually thought a “bucket list” themed marketing campaign for Malaysian Airlines was a good idea—this on the heels of the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 and the downing of Flight 17 over the Ukraine! Talk about bad timing and bad taste. And I bet Disney execs thought they were in for a blockbuster when Johnny Depp agreed to do ‘The Lone Ranger’ back in 2013. After all, for the past decade-plus Depp had been box office gold. Yet the movie became one of the biggest flops ever despite a high profile marketing campaign. Who knew?

That said, what can be guaranteed is that your product or service is likely to fail if people don’t hear about it . . . and then hear about it again (and again). Thus, Marketing Truism #2 is that while some people buy on impulse after minimal exposure, most take action only after repeated contacts.

I wrote a blog on the importance of these high value marketing “touches” a few years back. Here it is again. Enjoy!

In Search of the Perfect Marketing Touch

(Originally posted on May 9, 2012)

In my end-all, be-all of monkey sales dreams, the ideal transaction would go something like this:

  • I grow a great crop of bananas.
  • I tell my fellow monkeys how awesome the bananas taste and how good they are for them.
  • My monkey “prospects” then literally fight over who gets to buy the bananas and how many!

Oh, that it would be that easy—talk about King Monkey heaven!

BOM Marketing Touches

Of course, reality is never quite like our dreams (sometimes, thankfully so). Sure, some people will buy products or services impulsively the very first time they’re exposed to them, but a good many more will NEVER buy no matter how many times they hear about them and no matter how sweet or tantalizing the offer. Fortunately, reality lies somewhere in the middle . . . and that’s an important nugget for anyone with something to sell, whether it’s a bunch of bananas, a manufactured product, or a professional service: selling is a process that takes time and repeated exposure to convert prospects into leads and, ultimately, into customers.

In the parlance of marketing types, we call these repeated exposures “touches.” Generally speaking, the higher the price of your product or service, the more touches you need to make a sale. And depending on whose Marketing 101 course you took or which marketing guru’s cookbook you’re currently reading, successful sales can take anywhere from three to 12 touches (and according to my own experience, the experts are right).

What do I mean by “touch?”

Marketing touches can include exposing your prospects and leads to:

  • TV, radio, or print ads about your product or service
  • Your Web site, blog
  • Direct mail (letters, flyers, postcards)
  • Emails (sales pitches, newsletters)
  • Sales calls
  • Face-to-face interactions
  • Tradeshow displays and presentations
  • Seminars, workshops, etc.

In fact, any time you connect with your target audience and convey a message about your product or service is a “touch.” But not all touches are created equal. Touches inherently carry different weights or value. Which touch do you think is worth more—shaking hands and kissing babies, or an impersonal email sent to a bulk prospects list? Clearly, the more personal the touch, the greater its value.

Perhaps the most valuable touches are those that result from inbound traffic to your Web site, call center, or place of business. Why? Because when prospects contact YOU, they already have shown interest in your product or service. They are bona fide leads. Sometimes all that’s needed to “seal the deal” is a little personal interaction and attention.

Case in point: when Barrel O’ Monkeyz’ clients want to enhance their new business development capabilities, we look for ways to drive inbound traffic as a means to generate additional quality leads, optimize the value of touches, and convert sales.

New Ad for the iPhone 6 with no words or feature highlights!

Clearly, anyone who remains inclined to send out just one email or postcard and then sit back and hope for the sales numbers to climb needs to THINK AGAIN. Selling just doesn’t work that way. Selling is a process of moving someone along the continuum of being a prospect (a “possibility”) to a lead (a “likelihood”) to a customer.  And the way we do that is through high value touches.

Where are you in the selling continuum these days? Where have you had success? What have been your greatest challenges? Share your results here . . . interested monkeys want to know!