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Marketing Tips from a Marketing Agency: Be a drip

April 25th, 2007 · 12 Comments · Agency Life, Branding, Marketing, Strategy

It would only stands to reason that a marketing & branding agency would be pretty good at branding and marketing itself.

So I thought it might be fun to explore some branding & marketing concepts using our own agency, McLellan Marketing Group, as the guinea pig.

Be A Drip

The natural urge it seems is to deluge our potential consumers with information. How often have you seen one of these:

  • A brochure with no white space and so much copy that your eyes blur
  • A company who explodes onto the marketplace and you see them everywhere – TV, radio, print for about 2 months…and then you never hear of them again
  • An e-mail campaign that floods your in box with multiple messages in a short period of time
  • A 12-page newsletter (white space or no)
  • A corporate website’s homepage that is packed with copy, starbursts and news items galore

Some marketers are compelled to shove as much information at their consumers as possible.  Perhaps it’s a concern that they’ll only get one shot at them.  Or the misconception that if they don’t explain every nuance of their product/service, the audience won’t get it.

I think in most cases, it’s a mix of insecurity and not really understanding the audience.  It’s as though they’re saying "I’m not confident in knowing what my audience needs/wants to know and I don’t trust my own instincts…so I am going to throw everything but the kitchen sink at them."

Bad marketing strategy.

Here’s the analogy we use to help clients understand this concept.  When there’s a hard, driving rain, the ground can only absorb so much of it before the water just runs off.  Consumers are the same way.  They can only absorb so much information before our well-crafted words just run off, falling on deaf ears.

But a gentle all-day rain has a different result.  Because of its slow and steady pace, the ground can easily, over time, absorb all the water that comes.

We need to be a drip, not a downpour when it comes to our marketing efforts.  Want an example?

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Since 1999 at MMG we’ve been producing a weekly marketing e-newsletter called (wait for it…) the Marketing Minute.  Never more than 300 words and a few links.  Drip, drip.

Every week.  We’ve never let anything keep us from getting it out.  Not kidney stones, internet connection problems, or client deadlines.  Drip, drip.

People have said we should charge for it or discourage people forwarding it along.  Never going to happen.  Drip, drip.

We’ve had some readers for over 8 years. We get new additions every week.  Drip, drip.

We’ve gotten RFPs and business from subscribers 2, 3 and 4 years after they started reading it. They hadn’t needed us or been in a position to hire us until then.  Drip, drip.

How can you be a drip when it comes to marketing your company?

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12 Comments so far ↓

  • Mario Vellandi

    Conciseness is key.
    IMHO, the only time people are in the comfort zone to read is when they take on browsing a catalog or reading a white paper.

  • Steve Woodruff

    Drew,

    I’ve taken on the same philosophy. I send out a weekly e-newsletter – very inexpensive process – and the name exposure/brand recognition that this simply strategy generates is tremendous.

  • Lewis Green

    Drew,

    Thanks for sharing. Here’s our plan:

    1) Lots of free content changed regularly on our web site (pull not push).
    2) A blog that replaces our e-newsletter (again, pull not push).
    3) Monthly white papers delivered to our opt-in e-mail distribution list.
    4) Active membership in five chambers of commerce.
    5) Speaking engagements.
    6) Quarterly direct mail, with free marketing content.
    7. Networking, networking, networking.

    What do we need? More referrals and leads, and always more work. Does that mean the strategies are poor. Nope. It’s the nature of business. Marketing is forever.

  • Andrew B. Clark

    Great post, Drew.
    As I advise my clients, in virtually every case, it makes more economic sense to “drip” your message to your market. That way, they avoid getting slapped with content overload and your accountant doesn’t slap you for fiscal chaos!

  • Cam Beck

    Drew – Now is as good as any time to tell you — I really like the way you end your posts with a question. What a great way to get the conversation going.

    Drip. Drip.

  • Drew McLellan

    Mario,

    We preach consistency as well. I’m not sure I agree with the reading zone comment. Tell me more about what you mean.

    Drew

  • Drew McLellan

    Steve,

    I think sometimes the newsletter or e-newsletter gets a bad rap. Fair enough, many of them are dreadful.

    But when done right — they can be a powerful medium. We’ve been doing ours since 1999 and it is largely responsible for much of our success today.

    Drew

  • Drew McLellan

    Lewis,

    You are right — the drip method is a long-term, slow simmer kind of strategy.

    I can’t argue with one of your strategies. They mirror ours in many ways. But you’re right, that doesn’t mean you magically have enough work. You just keep keeping on and know that it will work. Slowly.

    There’s the rub. You have to be patient enough to ride it out.

    Drew

  • Drew McLellan

    Andrew,

    Very few people want to be deluged with information. Even if it is information they want.

    Part of being a smart marketer is knowing how your audience wants their content delivered.

    Drew

  • Drew McLellan

    Cam,

    Thank you. And it’s always nice when someone answers back! Makes this whole conversation thing a lot more interesting!

    Drew

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