Leading biz magazine Business 2.0 sent a writer out to extract tricks of the trade (aka nonprofit folks are likely to say "best practices") from leading US companies. There’s lots for nonprofits to learn marketing wise from these thought-leaders. And many worthwhile tips living in the HR, R&D, and management sections too.
Here are just a few tips:
- Neutralize your audiences’ worst fears, to avert them proactively
- One of the fastest growing Honda dealership’s in the US knows that aggressive salespeople can send prospective customers running. They have a "salesperson-free" tech lounge where customers can browse the cars. If a visitor replies "no" when the lounge receptionist asks if she needs help, then she’s given a "just looking" sticker. Turns out that the folks with stickers are the dealerships best customers.
- Become your own audience
- When the phone rings at any of Guitar Center’s 165 stores, the salespeople are trained to pick it up before the fourth ring–especially if the manager at one of the company’s motivational sessions. That’s because the meetings feature a hazing ritual called "phone shopping" that keeps store workers on their toes.The exec not only checks that the clerk on the other end answers the phone quickly, but then grills him about the company’s core principles or techniques for closing a deal. The entire conversation is broadcast over the PA system for all the other managers to hear.
- Bring in experts to help spark new ideas
- Rather than relying solely on Corning scientists toiling in its labs, the company teams up its workers with entrepreneurs, consultants and other big thinkers from outside the company to come up with ideas for new products. Corning execs have found that fresh perspectives, and relationships, are the key to ongoing innovation.
More detail, and more ideas, available online.
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