Diversify Or Die: A Dire Multichannel Marketing Lesson From The Farm

by Sarah on November 16, 2011


Last year whenever we looked at our beautiful plum tree, we tasted bitterness – not the sweet taste of plums we had hoped for . . .

A late spring frost had taken out most of our crop. Thousands of promising little orbs that we had been celebrating in May just blackened and fell off.

Our neighbor up the road, who makes a living off of his orchard, noted this unseasonable chill was a tough blow to his fruit business.

And he wasn’t the only one hit by the late chill. Our friend, Wendy, with whom we partner in raising pigs told us she had lost a hundred or so chicks to the late drop in temperature.

And this was on top of losing almost a full litter of piglets when the mother pig rolled over on them as they snuggled close. Wendy confessed she had literally broken down in tears at this event.

However, as bad as each of these small tragedies were, each of us had backup plans that compensated a bit. Our friend with the orchard had a stellar peach crop (the blossoms came a bit later).

Wendy had a good herd of beef cattle growing fat on her pasture.

And while the plums didn’t come through, we had some nice strawberries and our pear tree stunned us with its heavy load.

Farming teaches you one thing in stark terms – diversify or fall prey to nature’s whims.

Marketing isn’t much different . . .

3 Benefits Of Multichannel Marketing

In marketing, too, you’ll fare better if you don’t keep all your eggs in one basket. (Surely a bit of wisdom coined by some farmer who didn’t see the rock in his path!)

When you diversify, you create a stronger safety net for your business, bottom line. But there’s more to diversifying into other channels than just safety. Diversifying your marketing can also bring you stronger results and more credibility.

Over the past few months I’ve written magalog copy, print newsletters, online ezines, website pages, SEO copy, social media copy, autoresponders, sales letters and video scripts.

My clients are eliciting response through a variety of formats.

For the record, the web hasn’t taken over. Email is not dead. And yes, people still read a solid letter they can hold in their hands.

Why Go Through The Expense Of Direct Mail Marketing?

As MaryEllen Tribby and Michael Masterson write in their rich book, Changing the Channel: 12 Easy Ways To Make Millions For Your Business,

If you embrace multi-channel marketing, you will see improvements in your business almost immediately. And those improvements will continue at lightning speed, transforming your business into something much greater than it is now. How big and how fast it grows is up to you.
– MaryEllen Tribby and Michael Masterson, Changing the Channel

The trend is huge. The time is right. Your future is unlimited.

If you’re doing pretty well online, why go through the challenge and expense of print? Because many marketers I know who focus on print find they just can’t make the same money they make in the mail when they shift to online. Sure, it takes testing, precision and refinement. But when done well, it works.

As marketing expert Dan Kennedy explains, one disadvantage of online is that it’s so easy to compare you with someone else . . . and then forget about you as they click away into oblivion.

Offline, your sales letter sits there on the counter, tucked into a pile, nagging them to take a look. It might even take a trip in a totebag to soccer games or the office. And unless there’s been a strange mail quirk, your letter isn’t usually sitting right next to one of your direct competitors.

Boost Your Credibility By Being Everywhere

In addition to diversifying your reach, multi-channel marketing solidifies your credibility.

Your landing page becomes that much more potent when your prospect also hears one of your radio ads and then finds a special mailing from you in their mailbox.

It’s like volume in geometry – it takes 3 different dimensions to describe volume (length, width and height). When you market in multi-dimensions you make your company feel 3-dimensional. Certainly – people tend to subconsciously reason – if you’re advertising both here and there, you must be real enough to make the investment. You must be a solid company.

3 Ways To Diversify

So without further ado, here are a few ways to diversify your marketing.

And please note, each new form of marketing comes with its own special bonuses as well . . .

If you’re busy optimizing your site for search engines . . . dive into social media.

Social media can
· Bring you another source of free traffic
· Boost your search engine rankings
· Provide you with a wonderful place to test headlines for online and offline promotions
· Help you research your market.

If you’re working your email list but would like to see some stronger response . . . try a snail mail piece – a printed free report, bookalog or CD.

As much as kindles and online are all the rage, people still hold onto these tangible mediums if done well. If you craft your free piece with good information skillfully interwoven with the right sales messaging, a hard copy free report . . .

· Feels even more like a free gift to your prospects, solidifying your position as a trusted resource
· Sits on the counter, coffee table or on your desk staying top of mind with your prospect
· Is easy to lend to a visitor, friend or family member and harder to get lost like electronic files do.

If you’re busy working the mail but feel like your website isn’t keeping up . . . consider a site content audit and build your site to keep up. A good website can complement your offline business. It can . . .

· Bring in markets you hadn’t tapped before. With a nice mix of social media and SEO you can find people looking for your exact solution who are not on the mailing lists you tend to rent.
· Strengthen your relationship with your current customers. While a strong acquisition piece may build your customer base, easy access to information and shopping online may help you make them more frequent buyers.
· Strengthen your marketing by making it easier for customers to leave testimonials and easier for you to test headlines and offers

Obviously this exercise can go on and on and on . . .

Oh yes, and a little warning: Don’t make this an exercise in trying to keep up with the constant stream of what’s hot in marketing. You’ll very quickly start to feel overwhelmed by the new arrivals on the scene.

Every day there are new reports, new data and new innovations.

The point of this is not to bite off more than you can chew. Nor is it to fret that you’re not doing the latest and best thing that everyone else seems to be doing.

The latest is not always the best. In my last post I talked about a tried-and-true marketing method that has been used for eons and can work both offline and online.

The point here is to diversify. Carefully choose one or two new arenas to add to your marketing mix and then start integrating them into your marketing.

Don’t worry if they’re the best ones.

Don’t worry that you’re not doing everything the next guy seems to be doing . . .

Just worry about trying a few new forms of marketing, integrating them into your current marketing mix and making the most out of them.

Because there’s a second lesson that fits with both farming and marketing . . . it can sometimes take a few tries, refining your process through testing and experience, to fully enjoy a good harvest.

Last year was a devastating blow to us plum-eaters here at Surprise Farm Hill . . .

But we didn’t give up. This year we pruned aggressively, gave them some beautiful manure and a nice mulch of chipped wood.

As summer rolled around we carefully tended them with two organic sprays to control for fungal disease and the plum curculio.

And when July rolled around, our sturdy little tree was literally dripping with plums. We ate steadily and still couldn’t keep up with the harvest.

My freezer is filled with plum sauce ready to grace our yogurt and pork chops this winter. Now that’s a lesson I thoroughly enjoyed!

Want a whole bunch of ideas for diversifying your marketing so you can beat this bad economy? Check you my free report, 18 Ways To Beat The Bad Economy With Strategic Health Copywriting And Marketing.

Just sign up here and you’ll get it delivered to your inbox:


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mark Hughes December 16, 2011 at 5:23 PM

Great blog post, thanks for sharing this. We are big believers in multichannel marketing communications for our food ingredient clients. We review a wide range of food marketing programs and examples on our blog at http://www.apfoodingredients.com/blog

Mark Hughes
Anderson Partners-Food Ingredients

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