Friday, May 4

Small Business Touchpoints

I'm finishing up "small business week" on my blog, as follow up to last week's Small Business Bootcamp with Vocus and the release of my second book The Experience Effect for Small Business.  I'm attempting to answer the questions that I couldn't get to during the webinar ... so here goes this one:

Can you explain again the four kinds of touchpoints and give some examples for small business?

Touchpoints are basically any vehicle that you can use to spread your marketing message.  The best ones are arm's length from consumer, so that you can literally reach out and "touch" them.  It's a new way of saying "media plan" as far as I am concerned.   There are four basic kinds of touchpoints:

Paid:  touchpoints that you have to pay a 3rd party to use ... like television advertising.

Earned:  touchpoints that you've earned, and not paid for, because you've uniquely said something interesting that others have picked up and shared ... like public relations and an editorial placement in a magazine

Owned:  touchpoints that you own as a brand, like a website.

Trade:  touchpoints that you "trade" with another brand to leverage the joint brand equity.  Like a movie tie-in promotion on breakfast cereal.

The examples listed above tend to be for the big, national brands.  Small business owners sometimes have to be a bit more clever, given the resources and budgets.

Paid:  advertising in local newspapers, billboards, radio ... even placemats in diners

Earned:  customer engagements on social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Foursquare (or even just a referral from a current customer)

Owned:  shopping bags, if you are a retailer.  Shopping bags can be a huge part of the brand experience, and a walking advertising billboard if you made them clever.

Trade:  partnerships with other local small businesses where you offer your customers a joint experience of some sort ... like a gift card for a local restaurant with the purchase of your brand.

The key is to use a mix of all four touchpoints to create a seamless and consistent brand experience that will build loyalty.  Small business owners don't often think this way, but if you literally map out your use of touchpoints you'll see a much more effective marketing plan start to take place, and a way to reach and convince new customers and then get them to help spread the word.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe North America
Author, The Experience Effect and The Experience Effect for Small Business
Professor, NYU

PS - Click here if you'd like to read an excerpt from my new book!  I appreciate the support!

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