Marketing: How to Become A Visible Gorilla during the Holidays

How Much Marketing Does It Take?Marketing Gorilla Style

As a local business owner, do you wonder what it takes to reach your customers?

And it’s always more difficult during  the Holiday Season.

I’m going to give you 7 simple steps that will help you reach your audience – or at least more of your audience.

First, let me explain why what you’re doing now probably isn’t working.

Many local business owners feel if they do some paid advertising – once a week or once a month or less frequently – it is enough.

These same business owners make all sorts of ugly faces when I suggest creating an ongoing email, social media and/or advertising campaigns to reach more of their prospects and customers.

They’ll say things like:

My customers don’t want to see me in the face all of the time.”

“They (my customers) might think I’m being too pushy, too sales-y.”   

Pushy? Too sales-y?  Really?

Did you ever hear anyone say,

I won’t buy from that company because they advertise too much? 

No you haven’t.  What you have heard them say is:

I won’t buy from them because they don’t have what I want.

Their customer service stinks.  

I didn’t know they were still in business. 

People don’t stop coming to a business because the company advertises too much!

Good Marketing is never pushy 

Let’s be clear.  Marketing is what you make it.

At its core, marketing is all about keeping people informed of what you have to offer.  It’s not about being pushy.  In fact, aggressive selling never really works.

As Peter Drucker said:

The aim of marketing is to make ‘selling’ superfluous’.  

And to do this, you have to overcome the barriers.

What barriers?

I’m referring to the built-in attention barriers.

Research has shown humans are highly skilled at “selective attention” or “selective blindness”. Gorilla Study

There is one famous research study by Daniel Simons that repeatedly demonstrates this fact.  It is the invisible gorilla study.  A group of people are passing a ball around and viewers are asked to count the number of times the ball is passed.  At the end, viewers are told the correct number of passes and are asked IF they saw the gorilla.

Half – a full 50% – of the people, said:  What gorilla?  

The event is replayed and lo and behold, there really IS a hairy gorilla walking through the scene.

What’s going on?

Are these people blind?

Sort of.  It’s more like brain blind.

Human brains have the ability to filter out mental clutter.  The tool that allows us to do this is called Reticular Activating System, or RAS.

That means there is a lot going on right around us  all of the time and we are totally unaware of it – even a big hairy gorilla.

Back to Marketing 

To capture people’s attention during the Holiday Season, you have to cut through the marketplace noise AND through the RAS zone.

Sorry to tell you this, but only a few of your prospects (2%-3%) saw your newspaper ad.

Only a few of your fans (less than 16% on average) saw that photo of a great new pair of boots you posted to Facebook. Thanks to Facebook’s Edge Rank, a lot fewer than you would think.

Another small handful may have seen your personal email (15-20%) inviting them to attend a special VIP in-store event.  Most were too busy with other things that held their attention.

Online, the average person is served over 1,700 banner ads per month. Do you remember any? (Source: comScore)  Add to this figure the number of TV, radio, newspaper, in-store displays or mobile ads.

Face it.  People HAVE to put on blinders and activate their RAS or they would go bananas.

So what is a business owner to do?

Go Visible Gorilla – Big and Bold

1.  You’re not getting enough exposure. 

Accept that whatever marketing you’re currently doing probably doesn’t have enough frequency to be seen.   Go gorilla and dial up your marketing.

If you’re currently planning on 4 emails between now and the end of the Year, double it.  If you’re thinking 6 ads will be enough during the Holidays, double or triple it.

It’s really okay to increase the frequency of your communications.  You want to be the visible gorilla and not the invisible.   A frequency you think is “pushy”, is probably the exact level you need to shatter the RAS barrier.

2.  To reach your audience, you need to know where to find them.

So do your homework and figure out where your top customers can be found online and off.

3.  Blitz. 

Stop eye-dropping out your communications making it easy to ignore.  Build several concentrated blitz campaigns 2 or 3 weeks in duration that includes online AND offline media.  Be everywhere your audience can see you.

Stagger your blitz campaigns over a period of  2 months, taking a break here and there, and see what a difference it makes.

You should also consider increasing the size of any offline advertising.  Most business owners play too small when it comes to paid advertising.  If you can’t afford to go ‘gorilla big’, then save the monies for other marketing efforts where you can afford to go gorilla.

4.  Don’t ever ignore email marketing.

It remains one of the most reliable and most effective online marketing tools available.  If you’re not reaching your subscribers at least once every 2 weeks, you’re going to be lost in the inbox, lost in the RAS zone.  A better frequency would be once a week, but only if you have something of value to offer.  Don’t just focus on sales and discounts.  That’s being sales-y.

5.  Consistency. 

You want every piece of communications – regardless of where it appears – to reflect the same image and personality of your business.  So use same or similar graphics, colors, and headlines.  Be consistent throughout so you have a big gorilla footprint in the market.

6.  Link all of your communications together.

Newspaper ads or in-store displays should include Facebook or Twitter handles.  Website should have social media badges as well as a version of the email or newspaper communications. Marketing - Silverback Big Same goes for your email campaigns.

7.  Go bold and daring. 

Think of a big, strong Silverback gorilla pounding his chest.  Experiment with your communications. The more unusual, out of character and self-assured, the more likely you are to crush the RAS and earn the attention you want and deserve for your business.

Your turn

Are you doing enough to break through the RAS barrier?

Does your current marketing reflect a visible or invisible gorilla?

You should share your comments down below.

Want to learn more your audience?  Check out my book:
Marketing Online Made Simple – WHO.  This is a step by step process shows you exactly which customers matter and how to find them online.

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Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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