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Flogging meat to the vegetarians

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My good friend Alsy – the finest web manager in the third sector – sent me this story and it seemed pretty relevant as our industry tries to work out how to market itself better.

Our hero is a fella by the name of Mac Macintosh. I suspect that is not his real first name. Perhaps it’s Norbert. Or Jehosophat. Anyway, Mac is a business to business (B2B) web professional and he’s found out something interesting in terms of getting people to respond to information requests online.

I’ll summarise.

  1. Information request prior to allowing download of an interesting document – 9% response
  2. Information request after allowing said download – 45% response

Now, a 45% response rate is what we marketeers call ‘a lot’. And it goes to illustrate something I’ve banged on about for a long time – the concept of ‘value exchange’. I think this is equally relevant for B2C (business to customer) marketing too.

We know that our personal information is precious. But, like any commodity, we’ll trade it if the price is right. We have to be persuaded, and we like to see the fibre of your fabric before we part with our hard-earned opinions, data or purchase preference. But if you show us some value, we’ll exchange a remarkable amount for it.

Mac found all this out while doing lots of testing on his marketing strategy, which is A Good Thing and something we can all learn from. The key thing is to sell – or give – the customer what she wants, not what we most want to sell. Mac’s analogy is that too often business tries to sell vegetarian customers meat feast pizzas because they’re the most profitable.

That’s the bit that struck home with me. In our industry at the moment we are definitely still flogging meat to the veggies. Whether it’s providers trying to keep sales of insured fund products at a fat margin high rather than providing access to the underlying collective or IFAs reselling existing relationships, we can learn from Mac’s example. If we offer some value first, listen to the responses we get and then shape offers to fit what we hear, we might get a little more response and a little more responsive.

Sounds easy, but how often do we really do it?

Anyway, that’s it for now. If you’d like to just fill out the contact form below….

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About Mark Polson

lang cat founder and boss. Expert on all things platforms, pensions and investments. Prolific writer and public speaker, even when people ask him not to be. Knows more about Scandinavian black metal than you, and isn't afraid to prove it.