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  • Writer's picturedcharold

If you only learn one thing about marketing, this is it

Updated: May 19, 2023

Once upon a time I was responsible for communications for the part of the BT Group business that dealt with their most high value customers. While there were occasional media activities, most of the marketing was direct to client. Their excellent marketing director, Darrell Purviance (later of Sony) described it as ‘fruit baskets’ - "and your job is to know what fruit they like" - but it was really just fundamental principles: know your customer really well, address their needs specifically, use levers they’re known to respond to.


While occasionally I’ve had roles where going direct was actively discouraged – usually by protective sales organisations – over time I’ve managed to distil most of what I do to the basic tenet: always go as directly to the audience as you can.

VIP events, letters from the CEO, content marketing – all to named individuals, delivered with meaningful personalisation. One of the most effective marketing actions I've ever taken was an email to 12 people, that just looked like it had been sent to more. Every message in it was crafted just for them.

What is the purpose of a trade show? That for the space of a 30-60 minute pre-booked meeting your contact is utterly immersed in the brand messages and cues you control. If there's walk-in traffic that's gravy.

When you do use multipoint then always have considered segmentation for your messages.

Getting close to your customers is the most fundamental expression of being a market-oriented company – and what CMO doesn’t want to be in one of those? It helps you understand how to position the product you’ve got, develop the product you don’t have, and extract the maximum value from your customer relationships – on both sides.


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