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Most marketing strategy is phooey. It's not so much because the strategy's not good, but because the strategists don't drive their marketing strategy to Echo Point.

Not sure what that means in marketing terms? And how it can affect your marketing plans? Read the article to find where you could be going all wrong.

Here's how mum gets her message accross...

Tommy, take out the garbage. Tommy, take out the garbage. Tommy, take out the garbage. Tommy, take out the garbage. Tommy, take out the garbage. Tommy, take out the garbage. Tommy, take out the garbage. Tommy, take out the garbage. Tommy, take out the garbage.

When does Tommy get the message?

You guessed right. Sometimes it works on Tommy the first time. At other times, the threat of fire and brimstone won't alter his state of inertia.

But mum isn't some dummy born yesterday. Oh no. Her goal is to get Tommy to take out the garbage, and that's just what she'll get him to do.

Tommy knows he can't win. When her high-pitched notes start shattering glass, even Tommy gets a-movin'. Mission accomplished, mum now settles in for a nice cup of steaming coffee and a tasty biscotti.

What if the flamingoes didn't follow through like mum?

You've watched it all on Discovery Channel, haven't you? As lovely arrays of pink flamingoes do their little mating dances, aren't you entranced? The head bobs, the graceful movement, the flap of wings.

So let's assume the female flamingo finally gives in to this cha-cha-cha. Does the male flamingo simply start dancing for another female? Wouldn't that be the most stupid thing to do? I mean, what's the point of the whole song and dance routine?

Yeah, what's the point, Marcel?

Marcel is the sales director of a CD Company. Jenny Lang needed to print, brand and distribute her marketing material on CDs. Marcel listened intently and studiously took notes as Jenny outlined her needs. He then spent another 30 minutes writing up the quote and zapping it off to Jenny via email.

Then he died on her.

She never heard from him again. Every day, she wakes up and think about those CDs that are vital to her company's business growth. Yet she never hears from Marcel.

And we're not even considering chaos...

In the case above, Jenny's credit card was itching to get zapped. But that's usually the exception instead of the rule. In most cases, Jenny isn't ready to buy when you're ready to sell.

The first time you sent her a mailing piece, the monsters under her bed ate it. The second time, her husband made aerodynamically perfect paper planes to amuse himself. The third time around, she took a big look at the tax bill from the IRS—and kaboom, the carpeted floor caught her in its arms.

And maybe the sixth or the eighth time you get across to her, she ends up doing a Tommy. She actually buys into what you're selling.

So when was the last time you bought something on impulse?

You might think it was impulse; instead, it was the constant follow-up of marketing and advertising. When faced with a choice, you'd rather buy a Subway instead of a no-brand sandwich. You'd rather buy a Ford than a God-knows-where-that-brand-came-from-car. And your customers would rather buy from the devil they know than the devil they don't.

Impulse is an unknown quantity in most of our seemingly rational buying patterns. Even when it seems we are buying on impulse, that brand has been stamping its mark on our brains. It's the psychology of getting into customers' brains and staying there till they're ready to make that so-called impulse purchase.

Psychology makes us buy, technology does the follow-up

Post-It stickies go astray. Paperwork gets buried in nice little piles under your desk. But your computer program remembers everything. A simple contact management software like ACT that costs an affordable $200 allows you to follow through with ruthless efficiency.

This merges the psychological power of follow-up with a byte-driven system that just won't let you quit. If you had any excuse to not follow up, this was the second-to-last one, and then we're over and done with with this article.

So what's the last sniveling excuse?

Will your customers be mad because you follow up like a dogged terrier? The answer is a big NOPE. People secretly admire persistence, and your marketing never really needs to stop. (Read When Do You Stop Marketing to Customers? in the MarketingProfs archives.)

You can keep following up with email, brochures and other forms of marketing material till you're ready to drop. Cause you'll be ready waaaaaaaaaay before your customer is.

How many times do you have to hear ‘I love you'?

I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.

Is a squillion times enough for your child? Your lover? It never is. And it's EXACTLY the same for your customer.

It ain't about persistence, it's about targeted persistence

All the follow-up in the world will take you nowhere if you don't get your target audience right. Saying “I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you” a squillion times to the wrong prospect is sexual harrassment. And carries big fines and a sentence of three days' worth of sensitivity training.

Knock on the wrong door, and it will be slammed in your face. Knock on the right one, and it's a three-course dinner with some fun on the side.

The weakest chain in every marketing plan is always the same

Most businesses don't quite follow up and follow through. If you want to get Tommys and the Jennys of the world to sit up googly eyed and take notice, you've got to go to the right audience and say it again and again and again.

The folks up at Echo Point know exactly what I mean. Do you?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sean D'Souza uses age-old psychology, marrying it to modern technology, on his Web site, psychotactics.com. Can "psychological tactics" make a difference? Go there and find out.