6.13.2011

Everything is Marketing - Leverage Your "Peripheral Marketing"


Your company's marketing efforts are not confined to your marketing department. Any interaction with consumers should be considered part of your marketing, whether that's your customer service, product packaging or even your order forms. Marketing is anything that affects a consumer's perception of you.
 
When you think of "marketing collateral" you shouldn't just be thinking of your flyers and brochures; you should be thinking of your employees, your operations, and most importantly, your overall customer experience. Most companies tend to treat operations and sales/marketing as two separate entities, often causing a rift between the two or at least a different set of priorities. This is a serious mistake. A marketing campaign may attract a ton of new business, but it doesn't do much good if operations can't keep up with demand, or if the product falls apart when the customer receives it, or if the instructions are too confusing to understand, or if the customer is put on hold for a half hour when they call with a question. Each of these aspects of your business contribute to your customers' perception of you, thus making each one part of your overall marketing message. Let's call these non-traditional factors "peripheral marketing". Even aspects of your business that are primarily behind-the-scenes, such as supply chain management or your internal processes, may indirectly impact your customers' experience and therefore be part of your peripheral marketing.

Any combination of these factors may persuade a consumer to purchase something from you. Although making the sale is a good start, providing that customer with a positive buying experience is priceless. This is where peripheral marketing is key. It includes anything that could encourage or discourage a customer from telling their friends about you, especially anything that could determine whether that message is positive or negative. Each sale you generate through traditional marketing efforts can turn into two, or three, or more sales thanks to peripheral marketing. Let your customers do the work for you by spreading the word within their own networks. Peripheral marketing is especially vital in the world of social media where this type of information can disseminate almost instantaneously. The value of such reach cannot be overstated. To fully take advantage of this opportunity, everything should be done to ensure that all contact with your company provides a positive experience. Each of these interactions should be considered part of your marketing.
 
The best thing about peripheral marketing? It doesn't come out of your marketing budget! If your company has strong peripheral marketing, your job as marketer becomes much easier because all aspects of your business are reinforcing your initial message. You will maximize the effectiveness of your marketing by providing the full package. Peripheral marketing augments your overall marketing efforts by adding credibility to your sales pitch. It puts your money where your mouth is. If you make claims or promises in your marketing and then don't follow through with your product, service or customer experience, you won't be able to sustain your message for long. In this way, peripheral marketing makes the rest of your marketing efforts exponentially more effective, creating a synergy that could never be replicated by any combination of advertisements or sales collateral.