End to End

By Ron Rosenberg

If you remember the movie, Field of Dreams, there's a theme that's repeated throughout the story: If you build it, they will come.

Unfortunately, many businesses take this approach when developing their product and marketing strategies.

They believe that all you need to do is build the proverbial "better mousetrap" and prospects will somehow find out about it and, as the saying goes, "beat a path to your door." People with more business savvy understand that you have to first identify a market need and develop a product or service that fills that need.

Then you have to create a comprehensive marketing strategy that compels prospects to "raise their hands" and express interest, as well as a strong sales strategy that makes it easy for them to make the initial purchase.

This is the concept of "End to End" - you have to consider every step of the process, and make sure you connect the dots to make the experience totally seamless for the prospect.

Too many times, though, people ignore this. As noted sales trainer David Sandler was fond of saying, "If you don't have a system for selling, then you're at the mercy of the buyer's system for buying."

Let's look at some examples.

Win This Bass Boat!

Several years ago, I was doing a series of full-day customer-service training programs for a major hardware and home-improvement company.

I arrived a day early and decided to visit one of the stores to get a feel - first-hand - of what their customer service was like. I drove over to the store, parked my rental car, and started to walk towards the entrance.

Then I noticed it: in a cordoned-off section of the parking lot, there was a beautiful new bass boat with a sign that said:

Come Inside and Ask Us How You Can Win This Boat!

That sounded great! So I walked into the store and immediately approached the customer-service counter.

Employee: Hi! How can I help you today?
Me: I wanted to find out how I can win that boat out in the parking lot.
Employee: What boat?

Apparently, management had failed to inform all of the staff about the contest, and, just as surprising, this particular employee - who had to have seen the boat in the parking lot - didn't think to ask a manager about it just in case the question came up from a customer.

Who Can Help Me with This Offer?

In a similar situation, I received an e-mail with an offer for an interesting online software tool. The e-mail was in the form of a very well written sales letter, with bonuses tied to a specific deadline, and even a phone number to call if I had any questions, which, as it turns out, I did.

I called the number, got a "real person" on the line, and started to ask about the offer. The person on the other end of the call seemed puzzled, and when I started reading the text of the e-mail, she said, "Oh, that's Bob's project - I'll transfer you."

Before I could say a word, I was transferred to Bob's line, which, after ringing for about 20 seconds, forwarded me to his voice mail. Not a specific voice mail tied to the product offer, but his regular voice mail message, as in: "Hi, this is Bob, I'm sorry I can't come to the phone right now..."

Make Sure Everything is Lined Up for Success!

In both of these cases, considerable effort was spent to conceive the strategy, develop the marketing materials, and implement the specific steps.

Unfortunately, in each case, there was a serious breakdown that prevented the strategy from achieving the desired results, and it's quite likely that the marketing campaign itself will be blamed, even though it wasn't the cause of the problem.

There’s more to a successful marketing campaign than creating a strong ad, postcard, or e-mail sequence. Make absolutely certain that you've considered every step in the process so you can get the results you deserve from your marketing investment!