Do your marketing efforts add up? Or do they multiply? Your marketing can be much more than the sum of its parts.
The “fifth note” effect shows up everywhere, but the term comes from barbershop quartets: four people are singing, but a fifth voice seems to join in, tying all the voices together. That fifth voice is created by the overlaps and interplay between the four voices actually present. The effect is richer and more memorable than the four singers could create if they weren’t working together to produce that particular harmonic effect.
The same thing happens in marketing. You talk to people, you buy advertising, you maintain a website, you package your product. Maybe you do direct mailing, use a coupon service, or go to trade shows. The effectiveness of all that marketing is proportional to how the pieces work together.
Producing those overlaps and interplays starts with your basic marketing choices. From there, you can work your way up to Fifth Note marketing. Here are four steps to take you to that Fifth Note.
Step one: Define Your Message
What end result do you want from all the interactions between your marketing vehicles? “Buy from me” is only part of the answer. Do you want repeat business? Brand recognition? Word of mouth referrals? How about long-term business relationships? Do you want conversations with your customers? Who is your ideal customer?
You’ll need to think about these questions and discuss them with your creative team. You may have savvy, supportive friends and relatives to help with brainstorming and planning. And there are professional resources available to even the smallest businesses.
What sets your business apart?
Step two: Be consistent
Keep your marketing visually consistent by using the same colors, logo, and typeface everywhere. Establish a standard layout and then create media-specific variations. When people see one of your marketing pieces, they’ll be reminded of the message you presented elsewhere. And they’ll be able to find you quickly, whether they are looking for your business card, your trade show booth, or your newsletter.
You may want to use a good marketing graphics consultant to help you create a visual presence that represents your business. Your networking contacts can help you there. I recently found that the local AlphaGraphics offers branding and marketing services, as does Search Engine Optimist. Both of these companies offer a wide range of other services. By working with them early on, you can establish a business connection that can serve you for years to come.
Keep your message consistent too, both what you say and how you say it. Find a succinct, memorable way to say what your business is about, and say it often. You’ll be teaching people to associate your brand with the advantage that sets you apart. That well-crafted statement is the baseline of your marketing strategy. Do what it takes to get it right.
Step three: Get your marketing to work as a team
Think of your marketing vehicles as a team of specialists. What can your business card do that your website can’t? How can your website get people to meet you or your representatives? What can you say to people in person that will entice them to visit you online?
Step four: Run a campaign
A few times a year, you (yes, even you) can be “everywhere.” Actually, that’s “everywhere your target audience is looking right then.” This is not a scatter-shot. It is a tightly-focused and well-run campaign. Timing is everything.
- When is your target audience especially focused on what you have to offer?
- Where are they looking, right then?
For example, if you sell supplies to boaters, you might want to have your media blitz in the weeks leading up to Opening Day, when people are fixing up their boats, and again in the fall when they are preparing for winter.
- Can you work with boating shops or marinas to give presentations for boaters who are fixing up their boats? What useful promotional items can you give out at those events?
- Can you guest-blog, give out radio or TV interviews, or publish articles during your target timeframe? You need to have material that is of general interest to your audience, not just sales pitches for your products. It needs to be well-written, well in advance. To entice editors to add it to their calendars, you may need to send out query letters (or have your writer send them) months ahead of time.
- During the blitz, take out ads (or more ads) in the publications your customers read. Sign up for adwords, so your products show up everywhere your customers go online.
You’ll only be “everywhere” for a few weeks. But the sense that you are everywhere will persist for a long time. That’s the Fifth Note effect in marketing.
Photo of Jolt quartet courtesy of petersmusicnews.com