Marketing leaders know how important it is to have a clear litmus test when it comes to planning an effective strategy. It’s about discerning what tactics are essential, and which ones can be cut when the budgets get tight.
In his book "Unusually The Same" Brett Duncan, an expert in marketing for direct selling organizations and President and Owner of IdeaDrenaline, believes that when faced with a decision about where to spend valuable resources, there is only one real question that needs to be asked:
“Does this action facilitate evangelism?”
Direct Selling Marketers: A Leg Up from the Get-Go
Direct selling organizations were creating and enabling evangelists long before it became the marketing concept du jour. So in many ways, these marketers are a step ahead. It’s already baked into the culture.
The direct selling business model relies on turning consumers of their product into passionate brand advocates. But they take word of mouth marketing a step further. Instead of turning passionate users of their products into volunteer brand evangelists, the end goal is to recruit paid sales representatives. But the basic idea is not that far off from what the rest of the marketing world now embraces as social media marketing.
Face-to-Face vs. New Technology
While face-to-face interactions are still a driving force in direct selling, the technology behind social media presents a new array of questions to ask about resource allocation. In face-to-face interactions, marketing equips their representatives with personalized brochures, catalogues and time-tested networking strategies.
But according to a recent report from Direct Selling News, a good deal of initial sales conversations are happening online. So it’s important to investigate new tools and methods for equipping reps for opportunities there as well.
Finding the Right Online Sales Tools
The best sales reps have always succeeded by putting their own personal touch on the company message. But it’s not as common for someone go to the trouble of crafting their own messaging or creating their own brand for hard-copy marketing materials. It’s much more cost effective to use what the organization provides.
But the blinking cursor in a blank social media “status update” box provides both new opportunities and new challenges. How can marketing help reps to “brand” themselves personally in social media while keeping their messages compliant with company standards?
And what about reps who are still reluctant to try their hand at spreading the word online? Can marketing provide cost effective tools and training for these folks to help them become as effective online as they are at selling face-to-face?
Is Your Marketing Organization Facilitating Evangelism?
Here are some good questions to ask when it’s time to decide where to invest valuable marketing resources:
- Does this method amplify the company’s message online via the medium of our sales representatives established social networks?
- Does it grease the skids for representatives who already embrace social media while keeping messaging compliant?
- Is it going to clear the roadblocks for the technically-reluctant, to help them feel confident when they hit “share”?
Becoming the Leaders of the Future
Best practices are still being established when it comes to social media for direct selling. It’s more than likely that the companies who take the lead here are going to be the industry leaders of the future of direct selling.