Mays Business School
Venture Voices

The Three M’s of Marketing: Medium

Posted on March 19, 2013
Todd Sorrel
President of Select Premium
Todd Sorrel ‘96 has been an Austin Aggie since graduation. He worked for Motorola and A.G. Edwards before founding Select Premium in 2003. Select Premium is a premium finance company that prides itself on innovation, ease-of-use, and a focus on its relationships with independent insurance agents. Since 2003 he’s grown the company to five employees and has clients in four states. Select Premium has won the Aggie 100 for three straight years. Todd adores his Longhorn wife, Meghan, daughter Paige (4), son John (2), and new son Ford (1 mo.). Todd loves to write, golf, travel, and hang-out with the family.

I have selective hearing. In fact, we all do. But to hear is one thing, to listen and understand is something completely different. So how do some of us listen? I can reach my client, Ben, by phone any time of day. He’s easy to reach and he’s very attentive to what the discussion is about. However, if I email him, it’s radio silence. My other client Mary won’t answer her phone even if her caller-id said ‘Incoming…George Clooney mobile’. But if I shoot her an immediate text, she’s all ears. Frustrating? Yes. Know anyone like this? Of course we do. Neither Ben nor Mary are wrong here, they each would rather respond in their own unique way. Our job is to learn what’s their preferred method of engagement medium.

Snail-mail is just that... slow. In a few cases, it may not even make its destination, especially if you’re sending anything into a region with blizzard conditions. Another twist to snail mail is the US Postmaster ditching Saturday delivery beginning August 1st. So who cares? Is it even effective? You betcha. Aggie owned Via Luna Group from Plano, TX has mastered the direct mail marketing strategy for businesses. Three years ago Select Premium hired VLG to build us the perfect snail-mail pitch. And they nailed it. The Spa Scene was tailored around our branding, message, and it was specifically created for the female demographic ages 26 to 55. Remember the other two ‘M’s of marketing? The third ‘M’, Medium, has to fall in line after defining the ‘Marketplace’ and knowing the ‘Message’. Here’s how it works. Select Premium’s recipient receives a gift box with a personalized url (PURL) inside. Once entered into the recipient’s internet browser, they begin a short journey through a couple of web pages that deliver the message. It’s interactive, the recipient has to respond, and the PURL addresses the viewer by first name. The best part is Select Premium receives a discreet email informing us the recipient has opened the page and clicked through to a certain point. The further the recipient goes into the PURL, the ‘hotter’ the lead becomes. Snail-mail is very alive and effective today. But, as the old saying goes, ‘Fortune is in the follow-up’, it’s never truer than with the snail-mail medium.

Email, phone, text, and face-to-face connections are other tools that are essential to discovering the best way your clients and prospective clients listen. Prospect using all the aforementioned tools. If the response is immediate, you’re on the right track. The more creative the better when reaching out soliciting a positive response from your client or prospect. Singing bears, FedEx (everyone opens it first), lumpy mail, golf balls inscribed with your message, or written on the side of a bottle of wine, there are a ton of ideas to make your medium count.

What method is above all? Actually none of them. They’re all great and unique to each person or organization. It’s our job to keep trying until we learn the best way to communicate with that client or prospect. The client’s method is the best method of medium to use. Be creative. If you can figure out how to make your call come in as ‘George Clooney mobile’, please let us know too!

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