From Jennifer: It’s Guest Column time! Today’s guest columnist is our friend Dave Sattler over at Scentsy. Now is a GREAT time to be in direct selling. Relationship marketing is what we excel at as direct sellers. Dave explains how to put all of this to work for your business.
Why you are in the right industry at the right time
by Dave Sattler
Hello, you may not have realized this but you’re in a perfect place right now. I don’t think there has ever been a better environment for a direct seller to rock ‘n roll and have a lot of fun building a great business. Give me 3 minutes and I’ll share 3 reasons to convince you why now is possibly the best time ever to be in direct sales.
- The Age of Exploding Micro- Decentralization
- The Relationship Era of product marketing
Every industry is being impacted by what I call micro-decentralization. Essentially, the impact of traditional strong players in every industry is being fragmented to a point where they are becoming less and less powerful and relevant. Rather than a handful of players in an industry, influencers are popping up at the very micro level; individuals. Consider the energy industry, one of the largest industries, in the world. Traditionally, energy would come from established sources such as nuclear, coal, and in recent years maybe some wind turbines. Today, however, energy sources are popping up from all over; we get energy from solar panels on top of Jay Leno’s garage, the Phoenix Suns stadium, and cow manure from Gooding, ID.
Software is another great example. How many apps do you have on your iPhone, iPod, or IPad? I think the last official count of the total number of apps puts the number in the gazillion range – the large majority of which are produced on a very micro level –you and me – not from within the walls of a corporate campus. Anyone can now participate in practically any industry they want to and brands don’t have to pander to the traditional elephants in the industries. Rather, they can crowdsource – less pandering, faster, cheaper, and often; better.
The New Era of Marketing – The Relationship Era
Doug Levy, CEO imc2, is the lead evangelist of the concept of the Relationship Era. In his opinion, “The Relationship Era is about businesses actively nurturing customer loyalty and perceived satisfaction by carefully managing every interaction with them, for the largest amount of profit.”
How I like to envision this is that marketing today is all about companies accepting the fact that they are just ONE of the many voices in the conversation about their product and that they need to merit attention. With the molding of perception and brand decentralized to ratings, comment boxes, product reviews, bloggers –you name it; brands have to try to be relevant by joining the conversation about their brand wherever it takes place. Consumers listen to the voices they trust, and if you haven’t established that relationship with them, don’t expect to be heard.
Direct sales is all about fostering sustainable relationships. I can’t think of an industry more dependent on interpersonal skills than direct sales. We should be pros at this; we own this. Just don’t make the same mistake as airlines and spend more energy arm-twisting to drive repeat sales (miles cards) than on the brand experience and developing a relationship. The long-term growth of loyalty is achieving “recommendability”, not just being able to force repeat purchases.
*Ironically, on a flight back from NYC I noticed an article in the on-flight magazine from the CEO of a major airline. The title read “Investing in Your Experience” and was all about the billion dollars going into improving the brand experience.
Technology is actually accountable for the first two reasons that I’ve talked about. Without technology, Word of Mouth wouldn’t have morphed into the super-easy, super-quick, and viral “Word of Mouse”. Without technology, the massive decentralization we’re seeing wouldn’t be possible either. With technology, however, you can connect with a more targeted group of people in your industry in one hour than you could have by going to your local meet ‘n greet for half a year. And any cheap computer that can run Excel can serve as a Customer Relationship Manager to facilitate your relationship marketing.
What does this do for me?
Never before has technology forced industries to put up for auction the role of influencer nor consumers had so much ownership of the brand along with instant access to the voice of peers, rather than “corporate”. This means that consumers, and potential new teammates, are more impacted by relationships; that there is no social clearing house that you must go through to be deemed an influencer and you have free access to the technology to do that. Essentially, you have all the technology, the permission, and marketing skills available at your fingertips for a great ride.
Want to learn more about Relationship Marketing? Very cool free download!
Dave is a web marketing strategist and has worked with PetSmart, Intel (China), and MarketRx. Most of Dave’s work has been around helping consumer product companies identify word of mouth and interactive strategies to drive conversion and generate brand loyalty.
At Scentsy, Dave drives online marketing and branding strategies for Scentsy corporate as well as facilitating online evangelism by both consultants and consumers through the use of social media. Dave is a sought after presenter with casual, researched, and ROI driven presentations ranging from “Web Marketing Basics” to “Internet Marketing Using Google Analytics” as a University guest lecturer.
Dave earned an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management where he was selected to join the schools external consulting team specializing in consumer goods marketing.
Dave likes to play basketball, explore new gadgets and play with his awesome family. How to connect with Dave: http://twitter.com/davesattler, http://davesattler.posterous.com/, http://www.linkedin.com/in/getdave