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Bette Frick’s Marketing Bingo

Carol Lamarche

Bette Frick’s upbeat webinar, “Marketing Bingo,” was the first Technical Editing SIG quarterly membership meeting of 2010. In her engaging presentation, Frick, the Text Doctor®, presented 25 marketing strategies that every editor can use.

The strategies ranged from passive to active techniques. Key points included:
  • the relationship between trust and branding
  • marketing as a process
  • the importance of investing in marketing
  • old and new traditions in networking

The webinar presentation was based on a bingo game. A bingo card, consisting of 25 squares representing different marketing tactics, was supplied. Webinar participants (marketing bingo players) who scored “bingo” were eligible for a prize.

The downloadable “Marketing Bingo” handout, including bingo card and accompanying notes, is currently stored in the SIG archives at http://www.stc-techedit.org/file20(external link). An audio file for this presentation will not be available.

To review the “Marketing Bingo” presentation, download the handout and see the interview with Frick below.

How is branding a “trust mark,” or how is branding related to trust?
I am almost addicted to my brands. I’ve had three Saturns (unfortunately, GM killed that brand recently). My first Saturn was so good to me, I just kept coming back for more. I’ve had this Saturn for 5 years and have never had one single repair in that time. I probably would have driven Saturns until I went into the nursing home!

I’m the same way with my HP products. I have two HP printers and an HP laptop, and I just bought a brand-new HP laptop. I trust the performance and the support.

In the same way, we independents can establish our brand. Think about what you like in the brands you are attracted to and purchase. For me, it’s not about being flashy—just the opposite. I like dependability, a good price, surprising features that I didn’t know I needed or wanted, and good support. We can provide all that to our clients. Dependability means quick turnaround of documents when possible and always a quick response to e-mail. I price my editing and my training classes fairly (not at the high end). There’s always someone less expensive and always someone who’s more expensive, but there’s never someone better! And so on … All businesses have a brand. I want to make sure mine is a positive one.

You talk about the “new business cards,” such as Web sites, social media, blogs, podcasts, and webcasts.
a) How important are these to editors?
I think these can be as important as you want them to be. For me, my blog is a great opportunity to prewrite my newsletter articles with an audience in mind; it’s different than writing in my journal. The webcasts are a way to highlight my teaching skills. For others, Twitter, Facebook, and other venues may suit their style and their businesses well.
b) Can we make it in business without these?
Sure, you can make it in business without any of the marketing tactics that I suggest. I simply couldn’t or wouldn’t give up my LinkedIn. It is too productive for me in uncovering leads into companies where I want to find work.
c) For people who aren’t familiar with producing or marketing with these, where would you suggest we start?
As a trainer, I believe the key to better performance is always—you guessed it—TRAINING! Take a local or online class about any type of marketing that you don’t understand. You’ll find it’s not so mysterious, and you’ll come away with a list of action items to make that particular method work for you.

Could you say a few words about Point 4, “Listings on others’ sites”? (It’s not explained in the notes.)
The only problem with listings on others’ sites is that if you complete the listing and sit back, waiting for the phone to ring, you’ll be disappointed. Do your best to create an attractive, persuasive, dynamic listing, and don’t count on ever getting a response. Then, when you do, BINGO! I found my book designer for my Marketing Bingo book, Greg Field, on a listserve for Boulder Writers’ Alliance (I posted a small ad). Just last week, Greg asked me to provide a reference for someone who found him through his Rocky Mountain Publisher’s Guild listing. I provided a glowing reference (Greg’s wonderful); he got the job; BINGO! He’s gotten two jobs through me through networking and listings.

Since I’m itching to get into the ground with my organic garden (and snow is predicted for this week), I’ll liken listings to gardens. You won’t get produce unless you plant seeds. A listing on someone else’s site or in a book of freelancers is a seed. You may get something green from it, but not every seed produces growth. (Not to mix metaphors, but if you went fishing without bait, you wouldn’t catch many fish, would you?) Enough with the metaphors.

In Point 23, “Be elected to leadership,” you mention that we should be careful to strategically select the organizations that we serve. What are the marks of a good fit?
It would be smart to lead a group of your peers (editors, perhaps). It surely will enhance your credibility if you succeed. It would be even smarter to provide leadership for an organization where your clients hang out. I volunteer for the Boulder Area Human Resources Association because HR managers, directors, and vice presidents appear at the meetings—and it’s those people who hire trainers.

You mentioned that editors and other technical communicators who are on a payroll often don’t think about how to get credibility or publicity, and are often the first fired during cutbacks. How can we market ourselves within our organizations?
You can use every one of the 25 Marketing Bingo tactics! You can write blogs for your organization; you can then turn the blog posts into newsletter articles. You can volunteer to work on the company Web site. You can organize, sponsor, or underwrite events. You can work at your company trade show. You can be elected to lead groups within your company’s industry. It’s all good—and it will gain you credibility and good publicity. You’ll build a brand of being the “go-to” person; you’re the one who really knows what’s happening and who’s who; you’re indispensable. Then sit back and watch your career blossom.

You plan to publish your Marketing Bingo concept in a book soon. What will readers find? Why should we stay tuned?
Yes, the book is in process. I’m on the third draft, and graphic artist Greg Field is working on the design. Readers will learn more about how each Marketing Bingo tactic might work for them, and they’ll learn tips for implementing each tactic in their own business. They’ll find links to other sites for further information and tips on each tactic as well.

For me, the good news is that I have so much business this spring (through careful Marketing Bingo promotion) that I don’t really have time to devote to the book right now. This is not a bad problem to have!

Although the webinar has passed, may people who use your marketing bingo card still contact you for a free gift?
Sure, if they tell me they made “bingo” by being willing to use a tactic or actually doing it … if they get five tactics in a row, they get bingo!

Page last modified on Friday, March 12, 2010 01:42:35am EST
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