Talk about innovation. I took my son, Danny, and his friend, David — both diehard car aficionados — to the New England Auto Show last weekend, and there they were: the Aston Martins, the Ferraris, the Lamborghinis, the Maseratis … along with the usual complement of German, American, Swedish and Japanese brands. Top gear all the way.
But the most unusual thing at the show wasn’t a souped-up concept car, but the girl with the blue hair. A young lady, actually, wearing a lab coat and straight blue hair in a pageboy cut. And I mean a nice shade of shiny royal blue. She was part of the team at the Caitlin Raymond International Registry booth, where they were coaxing passersby to register as possible bone marrow donors.
I remembered this young lady from the auto show exactly one year ago. Then, the blue hair worked to stop me long enough to hear her pitch and agree to sign up with the registry. It was quick and simple to swab cells from inside my mouth to collect a specimen, and voila, I was registered. This year, though, every time we passed by the CRIR booth and I was asked to sign up, I just smiled and replied, "Already registered!"
At first it felt good to say that. But by the third or fourth trip by the CRIR booth (trying to keep tabs on two teenage boys required several round trips around the hall) and being solicited every time by a different volunteer, I thought, "It’s too bad I don’t have some kind of button to wear that tells them I’m already signed up."
Now imagine that those passersby were your customers and that all of them were already signed up for your "registry" — your customer list. Do you keep asking them to sign up? To buy your product? Or might it be better to ask them to tell someone else that signing up or trialing your product would be a good idea?
That’s what I would have told the Registry people: Have a brochure or sticker or something ready to hand to those who, like me, say "Already registered!" so that I might spread the word and tell someone else how good and fulfilling it felt to sign up. My experience with the blue-haired girl last year had been a positive one. I wouldn’t hesitate to tell others to sign up for the Caitlin Raymond International Registry.
And that’s just good marketing. Make the most of every encounter. Turn your best customers into salespeople. Have a different call to action at every subsequent communication as prospects become customers and customers become advocates.
Oh, and dye your hair blue, too. Works every time.
Rob Kinslow is vice president for strategic communications at Seidler Bernstein. A journalist by training and former president of the American Medical Writers Assn. in Boston, Rob gently guides companies through the often byzantine world of brand and message strategy. His work has been recognized by the American Hospital Assn., AMWA, Diagnostic Marketing Assn., the Healthcare Information Awards, Rx Club and others. An avid magician and musician, he is also a former three-term president of the International Brotherhood of Magicians in Boston.