My Screw Ups: Sales Expectations

September 8, 2016

If you’ve ever picked up one of our Jelly jar business cards, you may notice some different ingredients listed on the label. When Jelly sells our services, we like to say we’re a unique, secret formula consisting of a cool blend of marketing: digital ads, social media marketing, and public relations.

In the sales process, when I sell PR as part of the complete Jelly package, I describe it as our team getting you in the news, on TV, the radio or wherever else your audience is. In short, we’ll pitch for you and try to get you earned media that will generate maximum buzz organically. With social media, it’s kind of like digital PR. We’re going to get you talked about and #trending on social channels, through the creation of great content, videos and killer strategy for all of your channels.

There’s another area called digital ads. Metaphorically speaking, if we look at it like a bodybuilder working towards a figure competition, we call it “steroid use’. In marketing, some aspects will be like working out towards that desired ‘six pack’, or successful campaign. If you want a nice, quick initiative that does the job, or steroid boost, you can do digital ads. With this, you can see some pretty immediate results. For example, building developers can see a quick boost in registrations, and e-commerce clients, can see a speedy boost in sales or email subscribers.

The problem with how I’ve sold us is the fact that I haven’t communicated the clear differentials between public relations and digital ads. I package them both as great results, but have failed to present the fact that one is a much longer process than the other.

Let’s look at the body builder metaphor again. Public relations is the long burn to the beloved six pack, without any quick supplements. Sometimes, it takes 2-3 months before you start seeing results, unlike digital ads where you can see results within a week. Because of this, I’ve had clients come to me upset, as they’re expecting the same results that they get with digital ads in the world of PR. But, what I haven’t explained is that if you want pure, earned media, it’s a longer process that doesn’t produce guaranteed hits right away.

It’s occurred before where we’ll be three months in with a client, and they’ll call with their concerns that our PR efforts won’t work. In response, I told them to be patient and trust the process. The next day, the local provincial newspaper (the Vancouver Sun) delivered a 3-page spread on our client. The PR portion of a client’s contract normally comes to around $8000. Yet, the earned media equivalent that we got them totalled around $25,000. So they were a happy client.

In the past, I’ve communicated the wrong expectations, and I’m now learning to present the difference between ads, the steroid boost, and the PR, with the clear expectation that it is a much slower burn process, but very much worth it. Like anything in life, you’re going to have to learn through trial and error and that’s how we continue to grow and fine-tune ourselves for the future.

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