Audacity and creativity are the keys to winning the Contact Marketing game.
Stu Heinecke is a Hall-of-Fame-nominated marketer and Wall Street Journal cartoonist and brings a unique perspective to marketing that involves creativity and utility, especially to the discipline of Contact Marketing. Contact Marketing tries to establish a personal rapport with target prospects through research and appealing to personal interests thereafter. It uses personalized campaigns to reach high-ranking executives and create alliances to win large deals.
Subhanjan Sarkar, Founder, Pitch.Link sat down with Stu to explore how creativity is key in contact marketing while discussing his 2nd book Get the Meeting.
As narrated by Stu Heinecke in an Interview with Subhanjan Sarkar, Founder Pitch.Link for the podcast Bits About Books. If you are interested in listening to the whole episode go to https://bit.ly/35aXKS9. If you like it please subscribe to the show.
How to Get a Meeting with Anyone
When the first book came out, one of the things that happened right away was that people were reaching out. They were saying, I love your book. And I wish we had talked before you had finished your book, because I have a way of breaking through, and it’s really pretty dramatic in terms of the response that it generates. Okay, well, there were stories of new techniques. Then there were stories that were coming in from people who used some of what they read in the first book and said, I put it to use. So I just wanted to tell you about it. It’s changed my life. And so. Okay, great. And then another thing that I kept hearing was, Gee, I really enjoyed the book, but I wish I could have seen what the campaigns actually looked like.
I would have loved to have seen pictures of it. What is it they’re actually sending out when Edgy Conversations blogger and author Dan Waldschmidt sends a sword? [When he spots a news story of a missed earnings estimate, Dan has a beautiful sword made and sends it to the company’s CEO with a handwritten note offering to help in the next battle. Each sword campaign costs $1,000, but Waldschmidt reports an essentially 100 percent contact rate. And audacity has a lot to do with it.] What does that look like when you send a cartoon? These are people that can change the scale of our lives and our career. So how do we reach those people? This became one of the questions that was becoming more and more central to the new book and I realized there really is a whole new model here for contact marketing.
The New Model
Here’s a whole new model. That includes
- A Persistence track. Maybe you could call it a persistence/velocity track to keep the velocity of the contact and of the sale throughout the cycle going
- The outreach portion, which is what has always been there.
- Pocket campaigns that I don’t know if it should replace business cards.
All of these three things tied together into a new model.
There are a number of people who are getting just extraordinary results from contact marketing. And by that, I don’t mean a 1% response rate or a quarter of a percent response, or a click-through rate. I’m talking about response rates that are often hitting 100%. Actually, I’ve never seen any other form of marketing do this or produce metrics like this, but we are seeing more and more instances of 100% response rates.
In fact, actually, the highest level that I’ve seen is 300%. It’s beyond the original audience. And the audience members are showing the contact device around, and it’s causing more contact to happen than pieces were handed out. I’ll just say that ultimately we ended up with a model that I think actually allows us to reset the baseline for our response rates through contact marketing campaigns to 100%.
What products and services are getting this response?
There are certain kinds of executives that are harder to reach. I mean, CIOs and CISOs – they’re really difficult to reach. They just don’t seem to want to contact anybody. There are ways around that. But it’s being used in all sorts of industries and markets.
Everybody needs to get meetings. And whether or not the word sales is in our titles, everybody sells. You might be just pushing an initiative. Yes. And you need to move it forward. Or you may be looking for a strategic partnership or maybe that’s what you do. Maybe that’s your job function. You’re not actually trying to sell anything, but you are. I guess you’re trying to sell the company and the value of doing business together or partnering together. Or you may even be looking for a mentor or even a sponsor or I guess that’s probably sales. But a job could be part of a job search even. It’s just universal. It seems like everybody needs to get meetings at some point in their lives, and some need more often than more than others. I mean, people who sell for who have the word sales and their title certainly need to get a steady stream of business. That means getting meetings. And really, if you think about it, everything that’s happened in your life and in my life and everybody’s lives, every good thing, everything that has moved us forward has happened as a result of connecting with someone.
From Cartoons to Marketing Guru
Well, first of all, cartoons are incredibly powerful marketing devices. Absolutely. Obviously, I’m an author. I’m also one of the Wall Street Journal cartoonists. So let’s just say I’m a professional cartoonist and I’m a marketer. And in fact, the Hall of Fame nominated marketer. The way that those things all came together as – I studied in University. That’s what I studied – my degree is in marketing.
I always thought marketing is pretty fascinating, actually. There are a lot of things that are fascinating, but certainly, I thought marketing was fascinating and something I wanted to invest my future in for my career. But at the same time, I loved drawing cartoons and I loved cartoons and loved creating them. I was very aware of who the great cartoonists were. They were kind of my heroes. And as my education and career started to blossom then, so did my desire to also be a professional cartoonist. I didn’t want to just draw them. I wanted to get to the level that publications would run them, what would buy them and run them, or that they could be used in marketing and advertising campaigns. Actually, I know it sounds like a really strange combination, but they all really fit together well. There’s also the aspect of cartoons is this. Readership surveys have been run by magazines and newspapers since they’ve been around. And what they were finding was that cartoons are almost always the best-read and remembered part of any publication they’re in.
The newspaper, rather, the cartoons within the newspapers were getting more readership and higher memory scores, I suppose, than the front page. They were getting better read than the front page. So here’s this device that people love to read. Okay, I’m going to use a pun here. I was going to say no pun intended, but they’re drawn to them. There’s that. And then you think about the nature of humor. When you think about humor, you sort of breaking it down. It’s really about – at least I believe it’s about truth being revealed with a twist. This is why whenever we find something funny, we’re usually laughing and then we say, oh, my God, that’s so true. It is like that. I’ve been through something like that. Or I know someone like that. But you always hear those words: Oh, my God, that’s so true.
And it’s a great way to deliver not only truth, but a central point of agreement, which here’s this device that gets everybody’s attention, and then it delivers immediately. People aren’t even aware of it. They laugh. They’ve already gotten the point. It delivers this point of agreement that makes it very easy to be very persuasive on the back end of seeing that or including that.
Yeah. By the way, I just want to make sure I make this point that I don’t mean to say that that’s what contact marketing is about. It’s a cartoon. That’s my contact with it. But that’s not the entirety of contact marketing. No.
To answer the question about new technology or new technologies being used in contact marketing, I have to go back to very old technology, the oldest story I’ve found so far, and I’m sure this isn’t the oldest one out there – of someone using contact marketing – it goes back to Leonardo DA Vinci. Apparently, a member of the Medici family who is patrons of the artists of the Renaissance, but one of the members of the Medici family wanted to meet the Count of Milan. And so he commissioned Leonardo to create something that he could send to the count that would open the door. You can actually find it on Google. Leonardo produced this Lyre. It’s a musical instrument, a string musical instrument made out of the skull of a horse. Now, as a result of sending that to the Count, Leonardo and the Count became lifelong friends from that point on, actually, I don’t know if we got the Medici person through, but that happened.
So the thing is, this has been a constant throughout our civilized time on Earth, that we need to connect with others and we need to form alliances. We need to get something happening with others. And some are very important or very busy, and so they’re not terribly open to being contacted. And that’s just been happening for a very long time. Now, look at today. We have technologies that are emerging, virtual reality and augmented reality. And AI everywhere. I don’t know that anyone would even ask now, well, where is AI showing up? Because it’s everywhere. It’s in CRM programs. It’s a layer within Salesforce – it’s used to identify buying signals out in the marketplace, really useful things, or to do profile scrapes, all of those are really useful. When you think about the process of meeting someone, the first thing you need to figure out is, well, who do I need to meet? The next thing is what am I going to do to meet them? And then I guess the third step would be then implementing it and making it happen.
The first step of figuring out is, who do I need to meet? Well, if you have AI out there searching for buying signals and it’s picking up signals from Internet searches and from posts on social media and so forth, that’s extraordinary, because what’s been discovered is that people, of course, go through certain buying behaviors before they buy something, and those public domain signals can be picked up. We wouldn’t be able to pick them up without AI. We’re finding hidden trigger events much more easily now because AI is digging those things up.
There are all sorts of other interesting predictive uses of technologies like virtual reality. What if we could drop a pair of VR goggles in a nice box, wooden box, and it’s engraved in the box that says, Meet me on the beach in Tahiti. So you open up the box, put on the goggles. I mean, they’ll probably be simple directions, turn the goggles on, put them on, and then suddenly you’re on the beach in Tahiti. That’s pretty cool. The wonderful thing about VR is that you can give someone any experience. Let’s meet on the moon or let’s go wing suiting off a cliff. And then when we get down, let’s talk a little bit about what I want to talk about. But you can hand people experiences that are extraordinary in those VR goggles. I thought, okay, VR is out there. How can we put this to use? I’ve formulated a few or postulated a few thoughts there.
I also did that with augmented reality. And one of the things that really impressed me was the wine brand 19 Crimes. 19 Crimes is a brand of Australian wine, bottles of wine. They’ve got a tough life, don’t they? When you go into the wine section in the store, there are lots of bottles of wine, and they’ve got labels on them. And these labels are all doing their best. They’re not really alive, but they’re intended to get your attention and intrigue you enough to pick up that bottle versus all the others. Well, 19 Crimes took this much further. They built an AR experience into their wine label. If you view their wine label through the Living Wines app on your phone, there are these criminals on each one. Actually, each label is sort of a sepia tone mug shot of criminals from the 1800s who were banished to Australia. And there was a list of 19 crimes that would get you banished to Australia. So these were criminals who were guilty of those things. And if you hold your phone up to the label, the character comes alive and starts speaking to you over the phone, telling his or her story of why she did what they did. And that’s pretty amazing.
We could be building those same things into, let’s say, our business cards, right. Or anything, really. It can be triggered by an image or maybe more crudely, it could be triggered by a QR code. But certainly, you can impart all kinds of really wild experiences to people that dazzle them and cause them to say, Wow! The point of all this is you want the people that you reach out to, to be saying, Wow, I love the way this person thinks. Yes, I’ve got to connect.
Digital Persistence Campaigns
One of the other places I looked at was just business cards. I’m writing about meetings, about getting meetings. Some of these meetings happen by chance. And what are we doing about that? And how is contact marketing addressing that? And usually what happens is, well, either we hand someone our business card and they throw it away or put it away somewhere, or we don’t use cards. We say, well, why don’t we trade phones and I’ll type my contact details in your phone and you can type yours into mine. And then you promptly forget who they are. Or you say, let’s connect on LinkedIn and you do that. I think connecting on LinkedIn is wonderful. It’s an amazing tool or platform. But the simple act of connecting with someone on LinkedIn is I think about as weighty in someone’s life as waving to them heading in the other direction on the freeway.
We’ve got to be able to do better than this. I said we received business cards and then throw them away. But there are some business cards that we don’t do that to. Some that are really fascinating. And you look at them and say, wow, I didn’t realize a business card could be like this. And so the first thing I looked at was which cards are like that? And what makes them like that? What makes them different? How can I make myself seem more impressive than somebody else through my business card? So people are using gold foil stamping or embossing or fancy paper stocks or they’re having them laser engraved into metal and bamboo and carbon fiber and so on. Yeah, carbon fiber. And the thing is, none of that works. People still set them aside. That’s not what causes people to say, wow, that’s an amazing business card.
What does, though, is when the business card is actually an engagement device. Let’s say it could be an invitation to play. You just play with it. Sort of endlessly fascinating. Or it might be something that you can use and keep in your wallet. That’s a great place for your business card to go. It could be just something that’s just so crazy you just can’t help but carry it in your pocket and show it off to people. Yeah. So it’s those kinds of things. There’s a great amount of clever thinking behind them. But they’re involvement devices. And so I said, okay, great, there’s the new model in the book. There’s a new model to contact marketing. Now, we’re not just sending things out and then tabulating our response and saying, okay, let’s move on to the next group. Now, we’ve added another element to this sort of a third rail, which is a digital persistence portion of the model or digital persistence track in the model. So when we get to the point where we can, let’s say, run ads to them, retargeting ads, for example, those are great devices for just an ongoing background. Digital persistence campaigns were modeled to your efforts. So you do that while you’re involved in outreach, maybe before outreach and after outreach. Once you’re talking about a sale and you’re in a sales cycle, keep running that. Keep running those ads. Because that will push things through. Well, the pocket campaign ties into that, because if we’ve given something that causes someone to say, okay, I’ve got to go to a landing page. But if there’s a reason why I need to go to a page, because there’s a little bit more I need. Let’s say, for example, that the device that involvement device is actually a credit card-sized multi-tool. It’s a wrench, and it’s a bottle opener. And there are a lot of other things that it does. Well, you could put on that a video on how to use it, just directions on how to use this device. So you follow that, go to that link and you view the video. But now we’ve set a tracking Pixel. And so whoever it is that you’ve handed this pocket campaign to is now enrolled in your digital persistence campaign.
So they start seeing ads from you, and they get campaigns just like all the other people that you’re involved within outreach. They get pulled in and they’re treated just like the same people you want to make sure you’re careful about who you hand these to. I suppose you don’t want to just hand them out and get a bunch of people registering and now you’re running ads to people that don’t matter to you. But that’s the whole thing. It’s become a campaign that you pull out of your pocket, just like a business card. But it generates sales, it generates a response rate, and it generates an ROI. And you can do an AB split test. You could pull one card out of one pocket and then next time another one out of the other pocket, I suppose. But it’s actually a marketing campaign out of your pocket.
There is no old school or new school. There’s just what works. And by the way, a lot of things are just recycled and it works.
The Dom Steinman Story
Dom is a millennial and he was one of those people who showed up in my life right after How to Get a Meeting with Anyone released. And he just said, I wanted to tell you a story because it actually changed something huge in my life. He was hired as an SDR, as a sales development rep straight out of College by a late-stage tech startup in Silicon Valley. And they had a whole room full of young guys like him. They were saying, look, what we want you to do is we want you to make 100 phone calls a day. We’ll give you a list of accounts, but we want you to make 100 phone calls a day. This is cold calling. And so Dom was discovering really quickly, well, gosh, I’m lucky if I get one conversation a day out of this. It’s not working. And so he was having dinner with a friend one evening and he was telling how frustrated he was.
And the friend said, you need to read this book, How to Get a Meeting with Anyone. And they talked about it a little bit. So he went and read the book. And he said, okay, here’s what I’m going to do. I’m still going to do my 100 phone calls a day. But what I’m doing next is I’m going to start focusing on some of the accounts that nobody has been able to penetrate yet. And I’m going to do a profile scrape. I’m going to do deep research and find out what they’re interested in. And then I’m going to craft a gift, and that’ll be my campaign. So the first one he focused on, he discovered that the guy was really into cooking and technology and family. So he addressed two out of three with a barbecue apron and had it embroidered with a quote from Arthur C. Clarke, who said, something to the effect that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” and sent it to the guy. The guy immediately responded. Right after that, a six-figure deal ensued. And so now his cohort started. His colleagues started noticing what he was doing and asked him, what are you doing? How are you doing this? Would you help us? And he said, well, sure.
So the next thing that happens is one of his colleagues said – Okay, I’ve got this one account just like you’ve had on this one account. Nobody has been able to talk to him, at least from our company. Nobody’s been able to breakthrough. And so he went through it, showed him how to do a profile scrape. And they discovered that the fellow was really interested in falconry. So they went to a falconry site and actually called the owner and said, look, we want to get a gift for someone who’s really interested in falconry. We don’t know falconry at all. So what makes a good gift? The owner said, this glove, and he pointed them brought them to a page on his site. This glove. He’ll love it. So they said, okay, great. They ordered it and had it shipped to the prospect. Meanwhile, they did a screengrab of the photograph and sent an email to the prospect immediately and said – Hey, I just ordered this for you. And I’m doing it because I just like to get a few minutes of your time. The guy writes back right away. Now, nobody’s been able to reach him, but the guy writes back right away. And he says, hey, that’s really cool. But listen, I’m just not a prospect for what you guys do, but I really appreciate the effort. Well, then a few days later, the glove shows up, and the fellow calls them back right away, says, hey, remember I told you I was not a prospect while I’m not. But this. I love this glove, it’s awesome. I want to thank you. So I know three other CIOs who are looking for exactly what you guys do, and I’m going to make introductions.
Well, more deals ensued. And so now this just kept spreading throughout the salesroom. And eventually, the management started noticing what was happening. They said, what’s going on? And promoted Dom to sales manager. And that was right about the time when this company was sold, I think it was Cisco for $4.7 billion.
So in the span of a year, because of contact marketing, because of his adoption of contact marketing, Dom went from a new hire straight out of College to the sales manager of a multinational $4.7 billion company.
There are lots of really extraordinary stories of things that have happened as a result of using contact marketing.
Contact marketing requires an investment of brainpower. At least you can actually get away with doing it. Pretty inexpensively, but you’ve got to at least put some brainpower into it. There are lots and lots and lots of stories of what people are doing to use cleverness and audacity and creativity to breakthrough. And when they breakthrough, if they’re breaking through to the right people, it’s changing the scale of their careers and their lives.