Like some of the other Savvy sisters, I’m a multi-tasking mom whose days ping back-and-forth between mommy mode and marketing mode like a jet-fueled game of supersonic ping-pong. The result of the constant collision between my two worlds is that I often see marketing in mothering and mothering in marketing. It can get confusing, but eventually it actually makes sense.

My daughter started Kindergarten this year. It was a big deal. She spent the last three years at a small, private pre-school where much of the emphasis was on creating a nurturing environment that fostered self-confidence. Her new Kindergarten is part of a much larger, public school where the emphasis seems to be on limiting chaos. Although she’s amazingly adaptable, my daughter was not excited about switching to her new, “big girl” school. No amount of pandering I did about how much fun she’d have or how many new friends she’d meet made the slightest dent in her resolve to be miserable about the transition. Like an intractable prospect, her heels were dug in and her arsenal was full of reasons why she’d rather just leave things the way they were.

Over the summer, however, the brilliant staff of my daughter’s new school put a gentle, 5-step conversion plan into action:
1. At the beginning of the summer, they hosted a very casual meet-and-greet so the kids could visit their new classrooms in small groups. The visits were brief and non-threatening – mostly serving to pique the kids’ interest. Each child was given coloring materials about the school as a souvenir.
2. A month or so into the summer, my daughter received a package from the school. It contained a sweet picture book called “The Night Before Kindergarten.” The illustrations were endearing, the text fun to read aloud, and the comical twist at the end hit just the right note with my daughter’s sense of humor.
3. A few weeks later, a conversational letter from my daughter’s new teacher arrived. Itchronicled her summer and related it to my daughter’s. She invited my daughter to send a return letter about her own summer adventures.
4. A week before classes began, the school held their official Kindergarten screenings.Although the interactions were more direct and purposeful, my daughter wasn’t intimidated or anxious because, at this point, she had a certain level of comfort with the school.
5. Finally, the day before school started, the school principal addressed one of the kids’ greatest fears by taking the whole class on a practice bus ride around the block.

By the time the morning of the first day arrived, my daughter was not only open to the idea of going to her new school, she was enthusiastic about it.

I don’t really have to spell this out for you smart folks, but – just for kicks – here’s a quick list of the correlating marketing advice inspired by this well executed Kindergarten conversion:
1. Make your first contact brief and non-threatening. Provide a “teaser gift” in the form of free, educational content like a white paper or eBook.
2. Follow-up with relevant marketing messages and materials that speak directly to not only the product and service needs of your prospect, but also to his needs as a human being.
3. Get a little personal – through social media or some other venue. Invite dialog. Let your prospects know you’re ready to listen … that you care about what they have to say.
4. Now you’re ready to get a little more pointed with your marketing and sales message. You’ve earned the right to leverage the trust you’ve built.
5. Make sure that you anticipate and address your prospect’s biggest concern. Is it price, performance, compatibility? Don’t beat around the bush. Provide the reassurance and solutions before the prospect asks. Prove that you understand his position and are able to stay one step ahead of any potential issues. Consider trial offers as a way to engage people with your product or service. Make it easy for them experience what you have to offer.

I told you it would make sense. Amazing, isn’t it, how everything is in marketing and marketing is in everything.

Have you had any real-world experiences that inspired an “A-ha!” marketing insight? Do share.

Photo Credit: Plusverde