I am absolutely delighted to introduce you to my good friend, Geoff Ramm, whom I’ve had the privilege to know for over 16 years, I first met Geoff when I worked at an enterprise agency, I was organising a business start-up event and Geoff had not long since started his business as a Marketing Consultant we booked him to run a marketing masterclass at the event.
Fast track 16 years and that marketing consultant is now an internationally recognised leading Marketing Speaker, addressing audiences across 38 countries giving highly motivational keynotes on his passion; creating exceptional marketing and delivering outstanding customer service to rave reviews. With his theories and case studies on Observational Marketing and Celebrity Service, he literally wow’s audiences across the world.
I caught up with Geoff to share his thoughts, insights and observations on creating great marketing moments that will stand out from the crowd.
So, let’s begin, with Geoff’s opening line to me …. “Think big, think different, don’t follow the competition, go the other way”.
HD (Hilary Dunne) | GR (Geoff Ramm)
HD: What is Observational marketing and how can we make the best use of it?
GR: “The problem is, ask any business, where are your OMG moments, what is it stopping your clients in their tracks – to listen to your advert and grab their attention?
Where do you stop in your tracks and build in the activity to observe and learn from it and develop it in your plan?
Add into your plan the things you see and think “we all look the same,” exhibition stand’s, marketing material, stationary its all the same across 38 countries they all tell me they are different buy they’re no t- the competition’s marketing is all the same, we fail to stand out. Stop rating the competition – go the other way – capture the moments, look to add these into future activities, create fresh ideas, create the WOW factor. You never started this business to look like someone else so why not do things differently and have some fun doing it”
HD: Geoff you encourage your audience to stand out from the crowd and be different can you give me a stand out example and what were the results for the business?
GR: “I often challenge the audience to a 2-minute OMG challenge to come up with an OMG marketing idea, but first we need to stop thinking ‘Business to Business’ but think ‘People to People’ when we are thinking about interacting and looking for a reaction to a piece of marketing, we are talking to the intended recipient i.e. an actual person, not a business.
Bauer responded to the challenge with a great Valentine campaign which achieved a record 70% response rate by the Bauer Media Group after implementing the OMG challenge. Hear the story here:-
Another OMG Challenge was taken up by Indian communication giants TATA who went onto win two Direct Marketing Association awards following a two-day OMG masterclass. Their campaign, named “Piece of Mind” was to send the best feather pillows to their customers with a gift label that read ‘you will sleep well tonight knowing we are looking after your communications.’
Simon Jones, of Bonjour Photography also took up the challenge, he had booked an exhibition stand at an event I was attending, I noticed him at his stand as it was swarming with delegates as they were collecting their personalised boxed gift.
He told me his OMG moment came to him when he and all the other exhibitors were sent a list of all the delegates a month before the conference – he didn’t do the usual email saying ‘looking forward to meeting you at my stand’ etc, he emailed them a nice intro where he asked ‘what is your favourite chocolate as I will have it on my stand for you to collect’ 90% of delegates responded. People were responding with all kinds of makes and variations, he was confident he could get them all apart from one which a lady had bought in New York and couldn’t remember the name but knew it was in a yellow wrapper and was a type of caramel biscuit bar, he researched and found it and got it shipped, ready for her to collect at this stand. 10% didn’t reply as they thought it was a con, they wished they had replied!
He secured more business at his stand that day than at any other event.
Have fun be different, demonstrate great customer service”
HD: I am sure you have witnessed many classic failures, where companies have stood out from the crowd for all the wrong reasons – can you pick out an example?
GR: “The first thing I would say is you cannot learn from the negative but be inspired by the positive. A few things that really do annoy me which lets a company down are: * Not listening to their customers, when people want to be taken off a database, take them off.* When you spell a name wrong repeatedly after being corrected”.
HD: What are your 3 top tips to create the marketing foundations on which to build on?
GR: “Okay so for those new in business:
Look to your networks get close to them, get in contact with them but find a great creative personalised way to keep in touch – (not a newsletter) I got rid of my e-shot and replaced it with – postcards – printed and posted, hand written, personalised and physical, they work brilliantly for me, far better than my e-shot ever did. WE ARE LOSING THE BUSINES OF FACE TO FACE, stand out from the crowd – stop following the crowd”
Research customer needs: Organise a focus group – invite these people to a pub give them a meal, get your top customers together ask them questions: big business do it why can’t small, the answers could be dynamite”
Video! This is key, let’s get talking! Nothing beats face-to-face communication. I was booked within a minute of a company viewing my video content to speak at their conference. We have a fantastic opportunity by making use of our smart phones and access to platforms such as YOUTUBE to create ‘How 2’ videos: you can make good content to share including testimonials from clients. We have the capability at our fingertips to Edit videos, share and build an audience in the palm of our hands. Make the most of it”.
Watch Geoff talking through the power of face to face communication:
HD: What would your advice be to an established business who has noticed sales starting to decline?
GR: “Firstly Research – You need to find out why, this is the most important, don’t throw money at the situation. Become the customer for the day, phone, email, walk in – are there any ‘sales prevention officers’ preventing a sale, as owners you will treat customers like VIPs but do your staff? It is not their baby, are their staff or systems that are stopping the sales happening – find the problem not the sticking plaster.
Secondly if you have a good relationship ask the question to your clients, “what’s wrong” – i.e 7 day delivery, exclusive offers.
Quite often something is happening to stop sales it is not always a marketing problem. Yet commonly that’s the first thing people think, lets blame or change the marketing. Research first”.
HD: How can businesses stand out from the crowd?
GR: Do the opposite – its easy, be different, stand out, think differently, stop spending time and money looking the same.
One of the greatest quotes I heard came from a client of mine at their annual conference;‘In this world of digital the human touch point has never been so critical’.John Zwart Centrepoint Alliance, Dubai
Take the time to connect – stand out to get your personality across”.
HD: What happens when we start to follow or copy the competition?
GR: How can a customer differentiate against you – the obvious answer is service, but the customer wants differentiation – if you blend in we can’t see you, you need to be different.
It is easy to copy, it’s not so easy to create something new and dynamic, be different, you don’t need to keep re-inventing yourself just stand out, take taxis firms, they all look the same but when I think of taxis I think about Green Dot taxis, in their cars they have LED interior green lights, so when you see a taxi you can spot one of theirs a mile off, it gets noticed it stands out.You struggle to do business with someone who is camouflaged!
Look at the lawnmower, there were quite a few companies who made them, but it was flymo who stood out from the crowd with their mower that hovered
And then there’s Hoover – everyone thinks they own a hoover but they don’t they may have a Dyson (hoover is a company who make appliances including hoovers)
A great client of mine is Spec savers – Dame Mary what a fabulous, British success story – they create campaigns and offers that others can only copy, they have trail-blazed in the field of optical and hearing care”.
HD: Another topic close to your heart is Celebrity service, tell me what you expect to see and how we can all achieve this each day in our own businesses?
GR: Numerous traits must be demonstrated for me to think celebrity service is ingrained in a company: Trust, compassion, communication, respect, honesty, transparency, I want to see that they are genuine, they can help me, I can trust them and that every single promise they use in their sales material can be upheld.
Consistent, exceptional service should be the norm not just reserved for the queen coming to visit. Fair job for a fair price and when you say you will do something you do it. When you upset someone, or let them down they are unlikely to use you again – go out of your way to try to make it right”.
HD: Final thought, Geoff, anything else to add?
“Don’t take yourself to seriously but treat your clients and business seriously
Do you follow the competition or od uoy og eht rehto yaw?”
Are you up for Geoff’s 2 minute OMG challenge?
Send us your 2-minute challenge results and stories and who knows – we might feature it as our next blog:
Watch out for the next interview on celebrity service coming soon.