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Cultivation Marketing In Action

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Last week I mentioned that we (the marketing department) are doing some cultivation marketing, and I would like to tell you how we are taking on a specific challenge.

While this particular “cultivation marketing” idea was still in the conceptual stages, we outlined two goals that we set out to accomplish. The first goal was to reach out to our recently signed customer base via direct mail and make sure everything is running smoothly for them.  After doing some research, we were amazed to find that the majority of negative feedback and complaints from software and computer users in general, could be directly attributed to pilot (user) error. We looked at that statistic and asked ourselves, “What if we promoted our help resources (beyond what we already do) to the extent that we could swiftly resolve these user error problems, (and thus customer frustration)?”, “What would happen to our retention and referral numbers?”   To accomplish this, we thought that we would send them a dedicated piece of direct mail that would clearly outline the steps necessary to get the help they needed. This piece would clearly and concisely include our support email, phone, help documentation, etc.  We know we have an excellent client services department, so we are hoping that a little extra nudge can make a big splash.

The second goal we set out to accomplish was simply to get more referrals. Like any other business, we benefit greatly from word of mouth referrals, so instead of waiting around for the situation to arise, why not simply ask for them? To achieve this, we included a pre-stamped comment card that asked if they knew anyone who would benefit from our software. We offer incentives for referrals, so we figure that this was a great way to stimulate some new business.

Why direct mail over an email?

The simple answer is because it works in this case. There is something to be said about packaging and the benefit of a personalized touch. We truly think that making a customer or prospect feel their worth is extremely important. To ensure this, I asked for every single piece of direct mail to be hand signed by our CEO. Now some people may not notice the signature, and others would say it is a waste of time, but in our opinion, having an opportunity to let our customers know that we really care with this simple notion is priceless.  In our particular case, we wanted our client base to receive a card that they could put next to their desk detailing all the available ways to get help. An email with this same content would simply just not be effective for our objective.

I illustrated our thought process and the details of this project because I truly am an advocate of nurturing your client base after the fact. Obliviously not everyone is in the software business, but regardless, I think that there is something to be learned here when doing your own cultivation marketing.  Whether you decide to use direct mail, email, or phone, make sure that you are bringing something of value to the current client, and something that will help encourage high retention, and of course, referrals.

Pass the Beans!

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