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  • Writer's pictureStu Lloyd

Are You Making These 3 Major Marketing Messaging Mistakes?

It's time to think beyond storytelling just in narrative terms.

Everything your company or brand says or does emits a signal that either adds to or detracts from your story.

So we need to start thinking in terms of "Contact Surfaces."

That is everything that touches your customer, and everything that your customer touches.

I love to go into client organisations and ask: "When was the last time you called your main inbound switchboard number?" Answer: usually in the zero-to-never range.

Why's that important? Because that's often a prospect's very first impression right there. How many rings before something happens? Is it a human or a machine that answers? If human, what does your operator's tone of voice imply -- he/she's having a bad day, he/she's happy and able to help or not, he/she is living up to the purported brand values of this company? Or, is it the automated "Phone Menu of Death"?

It once cost me USD$120 to call my bank in Australia from the middle of Botswana to cancel my credit card which had been swallowed by an ATM machine in Africa. Every 15 seconds on hold they reminded me of exactly how valuable and important my call was, as they tried -- and damn nearly succeeded -- to kill me softly with elevator muzak.

Instead, what if we reframe it as an opportunity to compound our communication efforts?

Contact Surface Reframe: one I came across recently was Radek Sali, the billionaire founder (and former CEO) of Swisse Vitamins, known as a great culture builder. His voice mail message says: “Thanks for calling Radek. I’m busy making people healthier and happier.” BOOM! A simple reinforcement of values and purpose.

Same, what is your company's wifi network name? Probably just "Your Company Name Wifi" or a bunch of techy numbers and letters. Or "Company Name Guest Wifi". A missed opportunity to remind them what you do or why you do it.

Contact Surface Reframe: Sixt car rental company installed five routers in their office in Hamburg airport, and gave each one a sales & marketing headline, such as "Drive a BMW from only $159 a day". Visitors walked past Avis, Hertz, Europcar, etc to get to their stand and grab this offer. Guerilla marketing genius.

And what about the other incidental Contact Surfaces, such as Error 404 Pages on your website. Do NOT leave these to techies -- it's a marketing person's job. Understand the context: someone's probably already annoyed that they couldn't find what they were looking for -- a negative strike already against your brand's story. So turn it around positively ...

I love Amazon's approach: that page doesn't exist, but hey, as you're here we'll introduce you to the dogs of Amazon (part of their staff bring-your-pet-to-work policy). You can't get mad with a puppy, right?

Many other heart-warming examples are out there. See here and here for great examples from brands such as Lego and my absolute favourite, the UK Email Center.

That is radically human and engaging in the best possible way.

What a shame their actual website is full of corporate blah and totally devoid of humanity (it's usually the other way around). So who is the REAL them?

This is the point, folks -- we must not have a disconnect in storytelling, messaging and signalling across all the contact surfaces.

Otherwise we won't enjoy the multiplier effect of Compound Interest Communications.

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