If you are like me, all you see flashing across your TV during commercial time, splashing through your various news feeds, or inundating your inbox is advertisements for gym memberships, top-of-the-line juicers, and a multitude of other items targeted at all those resolving to get healthy and lose weight this year. These companies are brilliant because they know each January 1st the gym fills up with well-intentioned first-timers. By February 1st, however, when the free personal training sessions end, or that top-of-the line juicer begins to collect dust, all the energy those companies spent on marketing is for not. I know you are thinking, “hey, they got a lot of people in the door, or even made a fractional profit on the juicer they sold at a deeply discounted rate “, so how is that all for not?! Well…the gym didn’t make any money and some of those first-timers might be out there saying to their friends, “it was great when they were trying to get my business, but then I just became a number they were trying to sell to again”. The problem wasn’t the marketing or the timing, but the content…it was all “Me” marketing and not enough “you” marketing.
But wait…it was about me…wasn’t it?
You are probably thinking, “It was all about helping me, the consumer, work on my resolutions, though, so what am I missing?” Let’s be honest…after that first month, that poor juicer will end up in the goodwill pile, so how did they really help? They hit you at your lowest point, spoke the words you needed to hear, drew you in, and then walked away to work on their next campaign… “what to buy your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day”, or “juice away all those V-Day chocolates”. Now, don’t mistake my use of gyms and juicers in these examples as dislike of either industry, but we are in the prime season for both, so I took advantage of easy prey.
Does this mean gyms should stop marketing altogether?
Not even a little bit and actually, all they have to do is resolve to make ONE simple course correction to potentially secure loyal customers for life, or at least past January 31st. That simple change, you are now dying to know…be selfless. Most companies spend 80% of their time talking about themselves, their product or service, and how great it is, but only 20% sharing what consumers are saying about them, answering questions from consumers, or sharing valuable information.
What should companies do 80% of the time then, if not promote?
This is where that one resolution comes into play. One of the first things I learned about the concept of inbound marketing was the 80/20 rule: spend 80% of your time, energy, social posts, etc…on valuable information for your customers/potential customers, and 20% of that time on talking about you! If companies start resolving to have a conversation with their customers about what they are asking about, or start sharing educational content that provides value to a customer, instead of just talking about all their great products, they will actually start getting more people to use those amazing products. Don’t believe me…think about it for a minute. When you meet someone and all they talk about is themselves, you simply want to escape, but if they start talking about something you’ve always wanted to know, you become engaged and are more inclined to carry on that conversation. Same thing applies to companies. If I am in the market for a new gym, I can easily find out about what machines or class they offer, but I want to know how they treat their customers, what sort of education on health or fitness they share, etc…
Again, companies, if you resolve to do nothing else this year, please resolve to promote less, share more, and watch your satisfied number of client go up, up, and away!