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Insights for a New Millenium

An old adage reminds us that if you have foresight, you are blessed, and if you have insight, you are twice blessed. Here are two insights to make you quadruple blessed.

The single most important insight for the new millennium is to reach out for your customer base. Ranking up there near the top is to engage in as much one-on-one marketing as you possibly can. Attesting to that is the hottest application for an internet site -- chat sessions. People love the one-on-one aspect of it, so that even though millions of people are online, many of them are engaged in one-on-one conversations. That alone is probably the biggest reason for America Online’s unparalleled success.

Although I’ve already written of the internet in several books, I’m reminding you here of its unique ability in one-to-one communicating. With email, it’s fast and easy to carry on a dialogue with your prospects and customers. Of course, you can also do it at trade shows, on the phone, when you are in person, and by mail. But faster and easier is the net.

Guerrillas know in their hearts that every customer is an individual and wants to be treated as such. Customer questionnaires let them learn of the individualities. They know that although there are tens of thousands of names on their mailing list, those people want to be serviced and sold to one at a time.

One-on-one marketing is akin to having somebody whisper in your ear rather than shouting across the street, as is the case with mass media marketing. It gives guerrillas a chance to cozy up to customers, customize their marketing, increase the delight factor of doing business with them.

The essence of the guerrilla’s joy -- long-term relationships -- is found in one-on-one marketing. Guerrillas know well the enormous difference between their customers and their best customers. This enables them to treat their customers like royalty and their best customers like family.

To engage in one-on-one marketing, they must market with absolute precision. They must know their best customers from the rest, then market to them in ways that prove they care. Guerrillas tailor their relationships to helping their customers succeed at whatever they wish to succeed at. They do all they can warm up relationships. And they play favorites.

Just keep in mind the true tale of the non-profit organization that increased its response rate 668 percent by treating its biggest donors in a special way -- special but not expensive. They mailed to them a letter requesting funds, and enclosed the letter in a handwritten envelope using a commemorative stamp. At the end of the letter was a 25-word handwritten note. Hardly fancy, but astonishingly effective. It’s not quite one on one, but it gives you the feel of one-on-one marketing in action. It’s the wave of the future. And to guerrillas, it’s the wave of the present. It’s also an insight possessed by all guerrillas.

Another insight for this millennium and all the millenia to follow is to possess basic knowledge of human behavior. Human beings do not like making decisions in a hurry and are not quick to develop relationships. They certainly do want relationships, but they’ve been stung in the past and they don’t want to be stung again.

They have learned well to distrust much marketing because of its proclivity to exaggeration. All too many times they’ve read of sales at stores and learned that only a tiny selection of items were on sale. They’ve been bamboozled more times than you’d think by the notorious fine print on contracts. And they’ve been high pressured by more than one salesperson.

That’s why they process your marketing communications in their unconscious minds, eventually arriving at their decisions because of an emotional reason even though they may say they are deciding based on logic. They factor a lot about you into their final decision -- how long they’ve heard of you, where your marketing appears, how it looks and feels to them, the quality of your offer, your convenience or lack of it, what others have said about you, and most of all, how your offering can be of benefit to their lives.

Although they state that they now want what you’re selling, and they do it in a very conscious manner, you can be sure they were guided by their unconscious minds. The consistent communicating of your benefits, your message and your name has penetrated their sacred unconscious mind. They’ve come to feel that they can trust you and so they decide to buy.

Any pothole in their road to purchasing at this point might dissuade them. They call to make an inquiry and they are treated shabbily on the phone? You’ve lost them. Do they access your website for more information and either find no website or find one littered with self-praise You’ve lost them. They visit you and feel pressured or misunderstood? They’re gone.

You’ve got to realize that the weakest point in your marketing can derail all the strong points. Excellence through and through, start to finish, is what people have come to expect from businesses, and these days, they won’t settle for less. Marketing is a 360 degree process and you’ve got to do it right from all angles at all times. When it comes to marketing, people have built-in alarm systems, and any shady behavior on your part sets the bells to clanging, the sirens screaming.

It is very difficult to woo a person from the brand they use right now to your brand. Although they are loathe to change, they do change. And when they do, they patronize businesses that understand the psychology of human beings and the true nature of marketing. If you’re the guerrilla I think you are, you understand both.

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By Jay Conrad Levinson

About the Author: Jay Conrad Levinson

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Jay Conrad Levinson is the author of the best-selling marketing series in history, "Guerrilla Marketing," plus 30 other books. His books have sold 14 million copies worldwide. His guerrilla concepts have influenced marketing so much that today his books appear in 41 languages and are required reading in many MBA programs worldwide.
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