Today’s post is by Stu Heinecke, president of Contact, a first-of-its-kind contact marketing agency located on Whidbey Island, Washington. He is also a DMA Hall of Fame-nominated marketer, a cartoonist for The Wall Street Journal, and author of How to Get a Meeting with Anyone.
The ability to make initial contact with influencers and decision makers is a crucial part of success in business and in sales.
I discovered early in my career that my cartoons were quite effective at helping me make the critical connections I needed to launch my marketing business. When I wanted to make contact, I used the cartoons as contact devices and soon found myself breaking through to presidents, a prime minister, various celebrities, and lots of CEOs, C-level executives, and top decision makers.
The more successful I became with my “contact campaigns,” the more curious I got about what other people were doing to break through to their most important contacts. Along the way, I discovered a hidden form of marketing that has been producing results long considered impossible by most marketers. So I decided to write a book about it, called How to Get a Meeting with Anyone.
To write the book, I interviewed nearly all of the top 100 sales thought leaders in the world, along with veteran executive assistants, CEOs, and top sales executives. What I got was a stunning collection of audacious and brilliantly successful contact campaign techniques, which I organized into 20 categories of contact campaign types. Consider the following examples.
- Marketer Rick Bennett once connected with Oracle CEO Larry Ellison by producing a contact letter as a full-page ad and placing it in The Wall Street Journal on behalf of a client. The ad cost $10,000, but it resulted in the sale of Bennett’s company to Oracle, a deal worth millions of dollars.
- Top sales blogger, author, and turnaround specialist Dan Waldschmidt uses beautifully crafted swords to connect with CEOs of distressed companies. The sword campaigns cost $1,000 apiece and produce a near 100 percent contact rate – with some of those contacts leading to multimillion-dollar deals.
- To launch the NoWait app, the developers used a series of personalized videos to talk directly to C-level executives of the top 20 restaurant chains in North America. The videos were delivered on iPads in custom packaging; each was the start of a direct conversation between the NoWait CEO and a targeted executive, resulting in an immediate penetration of the market and several national roll-outs of the app.
- Sales trainer and author Paul McCord set the record for reported ROI thus far with a campaign he launched to cultivate a referral base among 70 local builders for a mortgage product. His tube mailing cost less than $200 and produced more than a million dollars in fees and commissions, and an ROI of more than 620,000 percent.
Have I discovered a new form of marketing? Several of the people interviewed for the book reported generating response rates as high as 100 percent, while others reported revenue-versus-expense figures topping more than 600,000 percent. They produced spectacular results with their campaigns, but no one had a name for what they were doing. It didn’t fit any conventionally defined form of marketing. Therefore, I believe “contact marketing,” as named and defined in my book, is a legitimately new form of marketing.
When I use cartoons to break through to VIP connections, I am constantly amazed by the reactions they produce. Until recently, I was reluctant to voice those results, because it just isn’t credible to say you’ve generated a 100 percent response rate – ever. Now that I’ve found a community of fellow contact marketers, I’ve discovered it’s not so rare after all.
What about you? Do you have any stories of your own contact marketing successes? Please share below.