Evangelical marketing might sound like some new religious recruitment scheme but what we are really talking about is finding ways to educate, influence, and inspire those in our network. There are three different aspects to evangelical marketing:

1. Informational marketing
2. Collaborative programs 
3. Buzz marketing

Informational Marketing

Most often informational marketing takes the form of eBooks or eZines as they are called. It can also be streaming audio or video, free samples, or trial versions. Informational marketing is revolutionizing the world of online publishing because anyone can easily publish and distribute their content in an electronic format. An example of informational marketing is the “Business Update” that you are now reading. 

There are a myriad of uses for informational marketing and they have some distinct advantages over printed medium or typical brochures or advertising. Informational Marketing (as opposed to traditional, interrupt marketing) is the process of marketing information to a niche market, which provides a solution or solves a need of that market. The information, then, helps you to create a relationship with those clients, where they give your permission to tell them about your product or service (Opt-In). 

Information marketing is the key to success on the internet as well as the brick and mortar world, for one main reason: The number one people get on the web is find information, not to buy a product! Some examples of the uses of, and ways to market, eBooks (or any informational product) on the internet are:

* As a system or training program for business to customer or business-to-business functions. 
* As an attachment to an auto-responder that sends the informational product after a request or an order.
* As a lead generating tool to build your Opt-In list.
* To establish you or your company as credible and an expert on the particular topic of the informational product. 
* As a stand-alone product, to make you money
* To create a catalog of your products 
* To put it on a CD-ROM with a color label to distribute to your customers and potential customers 
* To use in attracting joint venture relationships and affiliates
* As valued added items as an incentive or reward for a customer’s order.

The bottom-line is that a creative, consistently implemented informational marketing program will produce a dramatic return on investment in a very short time.

Collaborative Programs

Collaboration can help us to attract more business and increase our productivity by multiples. Collaboration is the process of working with others. More and more marketers are finding that customers are demanding bundled solutions. By partnering with others, we can become far more important to prospects and customers. We can also create a stream of referrals from credible partners. These types of referrals tend to be a higher quality and are more qualified. 

Many people think that business is war. Under this scenario there are victors and vanquished. As Gore Vidal said, “It is not enough to success, others must fail.” Listening to the way people talk about business you wouldn’t think it’s a war at all. We talk about relationship marketing, listening to customers, working with suppliers, creating teams, empowerment, strategic partnerships and so on. The truth is that there are few victors when business is conducted as war.

Price Wars
Just look at what happens in price wars. Nobody wins. The price leaders drive the market price down squeezing out competition but in the end, these victors lose their profitability and value in the mix. A good example of this was the airline price wars. Between 1990 and 1993 they lost more money collectively than they made in all the time since Orville and Wilbur Wright!

The Solution
Business is cooperation when it comes to creating a pie and competition when it comes to dividing it up. In other words, business is War and Peace. You have to compete and cooperate at the same time. Your success does not require others to fail. You can compete without having to kill the competition.

Think Compliments
A compliment is one product or service that makes any other more attractive. The classic example of compliments is computer hardware and software. Faster hardware prompts people to upgrade. Powerful software motivates people to buy faster hardware. Just look at Windows and Pentium chips. Thinking compliments is about finding a way to make the pie BIGGER rather than fighting over how to slice up a tiny Scooter Pie. 

So how do we identify competitors and complimentors?

A player is a complimentor if customers value your product MORE when they have the other player’s product than when they have your product alone. Example: Oscar Meyer Hot Dogs and Guldens Mustard

A player is competitor if customers value your product LESS when they have the other player’s product than when they have your product alone. Example: Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola

Some examples of partners in success are Disney and McDonalds, Universal and Burger King, Sears and Allstate, Visa and Airlines, Perfume Makers and Department stores and do on.

How to Launch a Collaborative Program
1. Develop a profile of potential collaborators.
2. Identify at least five non-competitive partners that you can collaborate with and create a pre-approach plan.
3. Pick only the very best people in each area. 
4. Be very selective Do NOT compromise on values or philosophy 
5. Ensure that there is mutual benefit. A one sided relationship will only breed resentment and contempt 

These collaborative strategies can transform your business, help you capture greater market share, improve your profitability, or even help you start a new business and reduce your financial risk in this difficult economy. They are just NICE IDEAS until we put them into action.

Buzz Marketing
Today customers are suffering from information overload. They see and hear so many advertising and marketing messages that it becomes difficult to filter out what is valuable and credible through all the clutter and noise. As a result, customers are turning to their friends and associates for purchasing advice more that ever. Marketing experts believe that the new customer, Generation Y – those born between 1979 and 1994 – shop by word of mouth. In the coming years, buzz marketing may that much more important. 

Buzz works so well because talking is in our genes. As human beings, we need to talk. We talk to connect with people. Sharing information is essential to our make-up. We talk about the latest movie we saw, the car we test drove, the book we read and so on. 

The last era of marketing started with the TV screen. It was all about watching advertisements and marching to the beat of Corporate America. Advertising quickly flowed from television into the rest of our lives. Everywhere we looked, from restroom urinals to the names of our favorite ballparks, we were surrounded by corporations shouting messages at us. Some companies were even paying individuals to “act” normal while pulling stunts such as wearing logos shaved into their heads. We naturally began to “tune out” and ignore the messages. Enough was enough!

Then something happened that none of us predicted. The Internet.
In the beginning, the Internet was supposed to be the new all-powerful marketing channel (“television for the next generation”), but that didn’t happen! Instead, the Internet became a giant chat room for all of us. The Internet changed how the world communicates. It opened the door for people to share opinions with each other quicker, more effectively, and more honestly than ever before.
That is bad news for traditional advertisers … but good news for all of us!
The new flow of information between people means a new phase in the history of marketing. To put it simply, we are living in a new era – the era of word-of-mouth marketing.

When Hotmail launched its Web-based free email service, it experienced the fastest adoption rate of any product ever introduced. Subscriptions went from zero to 12 million in just 18 months. Each person who signed up helped to recruit other members because a message was sent with each email. The power of Word-of-Mouth (or Word-of-Mouse) to the “n”th degree!

In the past few years, companies like BzzAgent (check them out at www.bzzagent.com) and other Word-of-Mouth advocates have proven that honest opinions are more powerful than interruptive marketing messages. When you are creating buzz, you are at the very edge of marketing. Word-of-Mouth has long been considered the most effective form of connecting people to products, but, until now, nobody has really captured its essence and power. Listen to my interview with the CEO of BzzAgent at Small Business Hour.
How to Create a Buzz Marketing Program
If you want to create buzz, you have to know your customer and how you are reaching them. It is easier to create buzz than you may think. Good buzz begins with a positive customer experience. There is no substitute for exceptional performance. 

First – Ask yourself the following: 
1. From whom do your customers learn about your products? 
2. What do people say when they recommend your products? 
3. In what invisible networks are your products discussed? 
4. What kind of information spreads through the networks fastest?
5. “How can you get people to experience your product or service without them making a big commitment? 
6. How can you giveaway a small piece of your product or service so that people will start talking about it?”

Second – Try to change your thinking from: 
1. “I need to get this sale,” to “How can I get this prospect to talk about my product or service?” 
2. Don’t focus on under-promising but rather over-delivering. 
3. Don’t be afraid to give a little away. 

Every business large or small, regardless of the industry should have some type of evangelical marketing program in place. I hope this helps you to establish an evangelical marketing program. If you are having trouble adapting this to your business, send me an email and let me know how I can help. 

I hope that this “Business Update” has been helpful in assisting you to improve the performance of your organization. For more information on how the Small Business Advisory Networkassists companies in improving their performance, please feel free to contact us at 310-320-8190 or email mark@markdeo.com 

Mark Deo

Posted in Marketing Strategies, Uncategorized.

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