Value Added Marketing: An Election Example

I know that we are all glad that the election is finally over and hopefully the charged political commentary across our social network feeds will finally come to an end.

Now that the election is over, marketing and advertising pros as well as campaign marketers are sharing the “secret sauce” and evaluating the strategies, tactics and tools used during the election.  This post isn’t about the politics (I can’t even vote) or intended to support a candidate or party.

I’ve Been Talking for A While About VAM (Value Added Marketing)

In my Social Media Boot Camp and Online training I’ve been talking more and more about creating marketing and using digital (or real life) tools to actually add value through your marketing.  The idea here is that rather than just using channels to yell messages at people and broadcast your message, think about how your marketing could inherently be valuable.  How could you use your marketing to add value to your audience?

Show Don’t Tell

One of the key concepts of Value Added Marketing is what I call show don’t tell.  Rather than telling people what you want them to believe, find ways to show them.  Put your money where your mouth is.

For example, if I was a doctor and I want you to believe that I care about providing you with a great experience I might create a text message program to let you know when I am running behind schedule.

The idea is rather than yelling messages at people, show them what you really mean.

Value Added Marketing in Line Waiting to Vote

I can’t vote, but a friend of mine went to vote early last week, and waited in line for 3 hours to cast his vote.  Political campaigns were both present at the waiting line, possibly trying to pick up a few late undecided votes.

One party had their volunteers handing you more political info sheets (as though we didn’t all get enough of those in the mail).

The other party had volunteers thanking you for waiting in line to vote and offering free hot chocolate or water.  No political messages.  No trying to change your mind.  Just a friendly thank-you and an offer to make you more comfortable.

While I’m not sure that hot chocolate would change my mind, the point is that by doing something valuable and helpful to people they like you more.  We often think about marketing as opportunities to shout messages at people.  Instead, if we look at marketing as opportunities to add value and really give something to people we might notice that they actually like us more and are more likely to choose to do business with us.

How Do You Unexpectedly Delight People and Give them Value?

Part of what makes the efforts of the second political party so interesting is that they didn’t even bring up “and vote for X”.  You know why they are there and who they want you to vote for.  They don’t need to harass you any more.  They focused on being nice.

One question to ask yourself is how you can unexpectedly delight your customers (or future customers)?  What touch-points do you have with them that you can turn in to an extraordinary experience?


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