Don’t Put All of Your Eggs In One Basket

Easter Bunny says, "Don't put all of your eggs in one basket!"
The Easter Bunny says,

The topic of the first Twitter chat that I moderated was Jack of All Trades or Master of One. You can read more about it here. This past weekend was Easter, and even though the kids are growing up, the Easter Bunny was still hopping!

That combination made me start to think about the way some companies put all of their budget into one channel. During #SMchat, the focus was on individual growth rather than corporate, but the general consensus was that in order to grow you needed to have experience in more than one area of marketing. If it makes sense for the marketer to diversify, it should also work for the companies that they represent, right? That’s why it is surprising to me that so many companies don’t make use of all of the online and offline marketing venues that are available. The explanation that I’ve heard is that there is not enough money in the budget to cover all of the media channels. My response to that is you’re doing your company an injustice if you don’t test every available area of marketing. You never know what will work best for your company without testing.

Testing marketing channels can be done relatively inexpensively, and once you have proven ROI you can determine how much more you can spend in that media. For example, I have worked for several companies who felt that TV is too expensive for their budgets, but I’ve run national DRTV (direct response television) tests that cost far less than what they’re spending on PPC SEM (pay-per-click search engine marketing) campaigns and bring in more revenue for the money spent, plus have the advantage of reaching offline viewers that may not see your ads online.

Another really great marketing channel to test is affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is wonderful because there are so many options and it is the most easily tracked – you can pay for the click, the sale, or even the phone call if you convert better over the phone than online.

Email traditionally has the highest ROI of any marketing channel but you need to test email marketing to see how it works for your company, plus you need to build your email list organically in order to have email perform at the levels it is capable of producing. You won’t get those high ROI numbers on a rented list.

Social media is the “new kid” and people are having difficulty determining ROI from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and the other social media venues. I see social media as the glue that brings the company and the customer together. You need to be where your customers are – and more and more people are on social media sites than any other with the exception of Google.

Do you agree – should your marketing budget be spread across multiple channels or should you focus on one aspect of marketing in order to spend your budget wisely? Please comment below to let me know!

Almost Nuts About Southwest Airlines?

Last Christmas I bought my husband tickets to the 2009 NBA All Star Weekend in Phoenix over Valentine’s Day weekend. Since we live nowhere near Phoenix that gift needed to include airfare & hotel. I got a good fare through SouthwestTM so I booked the flight. Unfortunately, our NBA tickets fell through and I ended up canceling the flight. In addition to their consistently low fares, bags fly free policy, multitude of nonstop flights to places I like to go on vacation like Orlando and Tampa, FL, Scottsdale, AZ, and Park City, UT, one of the things that I like about Southwest is their cancellation policy. If you need to cancel your flight then you can use the fare amount (possibly minus a service fee) toward another fare.

The good news is that I’m going to go on a trip before Valentine’s Day weekend this year, the not-so-good news is that Southwest’s policy is that you must use the credit before 1 year from the date of purchase (not the date of the trip). Essentially, not only am I’m losing 2 months for buying my tickets in advance of travel, but my credit expires on 12/24 (nothing like those Christmas Eve gifts!) – which is before mid-January when I want to fly.

So I called Southwest Customer Service to see what they could do. Although I didn’t get the result I wanted, I’m still almost ‘Nuts About Southwest’ (the name of Southwest’s blog).

  • The Customer Service agent was courteous and explained the policy even though it was written on my cancellation receipt and that there was no way they could extend the expiration date because of the way their ticketing system is set up.
  • He then proceeded to let me know what he could do after my credit expired, which was (for a $50 per person fee) extend the credit for another 6 months. I wasn’t excited about losing $100, but it was better than losing the entire fare amount.
  • The Southwest Customer Service agent also reminded me that the credit was transferable to anyone (so if you’re looking to travel between now and Christmas Eve send me an email and we can work something out!).

What marketing lessons have I learned from Southwest?

1)   Hire good customer service people who represent your company in a positive manner.

2)   Communicate your return/exchange policy in writing before, during and after the sale. Then have your Customer Service people reiterate the policy when someone calls with a question about it.

3)   Always have a “Plan B” so you don’t lose the customer completely. They might not be 100% satisfied, but they’ll respect you.

I’ve been following @SouthwestAir on Twitter for some time, but when I saw that several of my Facebook friends became fans of the Southwest Facebook Fan Page (perhaps because of the Fans Fly Free promotion), I became a Facebook Fan, too. One of these days maybe I’ll be completely ‘Nuts About Southwest’ but for now I’m a Fan who’s almost there.

Southwest, Southwest Airlines, and Southwest Airlines Co.® are registered trademarks of the Southwest Airlines Co. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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