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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Visualisation and Time Management

Here are three distinct and on the surface unrelated images:

* Arriving in my mail on Friday, I found one of the thickest direct marketing pieces I've received recently. It offered a deal where if you responded you would receive cheques every month for $100,000 beginning in two months. You just needed to sign up for the no-obligation program. I pitched the marketing piece in the trash, knowing there had to be a catch, but to read it through to conclusion, you would have needed to spend a good hour. Why do it this way? (There is a reason).

* One of my neighbours spent a full day a way from work attending an event with a series of Power Speakers, culminating with guru Anthony Robbins. He is the marketing director for a major (and growing) business and a media outlet gave him free tickets to the event which costs a few hundred dollars to attend. He considers it time well spent, and is sharing his observations with me.

* He said one of the major points at the conference is the importance of visualising your dreams. I have been reviewing material on visualization and mental imaging, and relearning the basics here.

* Last issue's Construction Marketing Ideas newsletter included this article:
"How much is your time worth?

Here is a simple idea that will help you increase your productivity -- and income. Set the value of your time and use it appropriately."

I placed this article at the bottom right hand corner in the newsletter-- not a bad spot, but not overly prominent.

The mailing list software has a nifty feature that allows you to track response and who opens each link in the newsletter -- My writing on time management attracted the greatest interest of all the articles.

So, why will people read through massive direct mail pieces only to be roped into an unrealistic offer (possibly a scam), or spend a precious day in a room with hundreds of others listening to motivational speakers, when they are concerned about their lack of time?

The answer is that the successful marketers have successfully convinced the readers or attendees that their time reading the piece (or attending the event) is worth more than the 'hourly pay' they expect for their time or (perhaps more importantly), the event, reading, or whatever is more entertainment than work, so the time spent is fun and not difficult.

Conversely, consider the impact when you make a cold call on someone you don't know. The interaction -- if it is allowed to happen -- is short, indeed. You say 'no', often quite firmly, and angrily. You most likely exaggerate the amount of time it takes to deal with the call. I analyzed this phenomena in a previous test and found that a month's worth of cold call courtesy took less than one hour of my time.

Conversely, my neighbour described the powerful motivational insights he obtained at that day long seminar (where I'm sure the motivational speakers plugged and sold many thousands of dollars worth of books, training courses, and CDs). He described the importance of visualisation -- of seeing yourself where you want to be, long before you get there.

Good advice, indeed, and of course that is one reason that direct marketing piece, while inordinately thick and offering something that my experience and common sense tells me is verging on a scam, is done that way. The idea is to engage the readers -- the ones with the dream and need for that $100,000 in a couple of months -- and allure them with hope, jargon, text, graphics, and volume (without of course truly explaining how that money will materialize).

Meanwhile, last night, I spent some time surfing around the web, looking up visualisation, noticing sites with various commercial offerings to assist the process, and finding some with pages of seemingly free and implementable advice and information. I won't pass judgment or recommend anything here right now -- it is too early in my research.

Good marketing, in my opinion, is the ability to break through the time barrier perception. If you can get people to read your direct mail piece for two hours; if you can attract a high powered executive (along with hundreds of others) to attend a marketing/speaking engagement for a day; if you can attract readers to your blog and engage them for blocks of time exceeding nanoseconds, you have achieved the first step to marketing success.

Conversely, if your brief inbound call is seen as a time-wasting nuisance, if your email message that takes only a second to read and discard, is seen as spam (and the reader feels bad enough to file a complaint!), or if you are concerned and unable to resolve how to spend your time, you need to look at where you are, what you are doing, and where you want to be.

The gurus will suggest you visualise your future, and get there in your mind. I agree. However, I would also argue that you can get there much more quickly by listening to your own instincts and observing two rather important things right now:

1. How do I enjoy spending my time?
2. How do my clients/prospects or the people I wish to communicate with enjoy spending their time?

When you've successfully visualised both elements, you have begun to find the magic ingredient in marketing success. Could this explain why major league sporting events are so popular and seasons' tickets sell well to corporations? The challenge for a marketing genius, of course, is to find other things (perhaps much less expensive) that achieve the same effect. Do you have any ideas to share?

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