Stu Heinecke is the Hall of Fame “Father of Contact Marketing” and Founder/President of the Contact Marketing Agency and Cartoonlink, which helps sales teams break through using contact marketing solutions to produce critical contact with accounts and prospects. He is a longstanding senior cartoonist for the Wall Street Journal and the bestselling author of How to Get a Meeting with Anyone: The Untapped Selling Power of Contact Marketing and the new book Get the Meeting!: An Illustrative Contact Marketing Playbook.
He hosts Contact Marketing Radio and the How to Get a Meeting With Anyone podcast, and is Co-founder of Cartoonists.org, a coalition of famed cartoonists dedicated to raising funds for charity, while raising the profile of the cartooning art form.
Who is Stu Heinecke?
The ability to get meetings with anyone is a kind of superpower. Every great thing that happens in our lives is due to having the right connections at the right time. Stu studied marketing at USC but cartooning had been something that he always loved, so much so that by the time he was in college he was getting some of his work published in the newspapers in Los Angeles.
Cartoons have an incredible power to captivate people’s attention so they became a fundamental element to Stu’s marketing strategies.
Back in the early days of marketing, David Ogilvy used to say “humor doesn’t work in advertising, and people don’t buy from clowns.” Stu was one of the people proving him wrong. Initially there was a lot of resistance against the idea, but Stu was able to convince a couple of his first clients, including Rolling Stone, to give it a try and they ended up getting extraordinary results.
In marketing you are always testing a new campaign against a control group, usually the most effective thing the company has ever put out. Stu’s first test campaigns beat out the controls of both Rolling Stone and Bon Appetit and became their new records. He realized that he needed to reach out to some of the key players in the magazine industry and sent each of them a customized cartoon. Most marketers use the 1% rule to measure a response rate against the performance of a campaign, for Stu’s campaign he got a 100% response rate, and they also all became clients of his, so his conversion rate was 100% as well.
That initial contact marketing campaign launched Stu’s business and career.
How can we cut through the noise with contact marketing?
Contact marketing is not just about cartooning, that’s only one way of breaking through.
One of Stu’s favorite contact marketing examples involves a guy named Dan Walshman. Dan is a turnaround specialist and works with CEOs of companies that are in trouble. After combing the business news each day looking for earnings reports, when he finds one that looks to be suffering he gets a beautiful sword created that’s engraved with the CEO’s name on it. He sends that to them with a handwritten note and has been getting a 100% response from that campaign as well.
You don’t have to spend a large amount of money per person to create a visual metaphor for your business, it just has to be an item of fascination that conveys a message. Examples include ultra realistic fake food and other similar items.
Generally speaking, contact marketing is not about scale, it’s about effectiveness. Creating a top ten list of people that you want to get through to that would be your dream clients is the best target for contact marketing.
Is there a type of business where Contact Marketing doesn’t work?
Direct to consumer businesses are probably not the best place for contact marketing. If you’re doing business to business selling there probably isn’t anyone that couldn’t benefit from this kind of personalization.
The thing you want is for people to receive your marketing campaign and think “Wow! I love the way this person thinks.”
Right now is the opportunity of a lifetime to make connections with people.
Is there a wrong way to do Contact Marketing?
If you’re trying to go for humor you do have to be careful. The intent along with the depth and quality of thinking with what you come up with is crucial. One way you could make people mad right now is sending them something without their permission. Giving half a gift may also not be a great approach.
If you send the right thing to the right person, it will end up in their office for the rest of their career. You’re trying to create flip moments, where the person goes from not knowing who you are to not being able to wait to meet you, which is a high bar so you need to do more than just send them a box of candy.
How does the person respond?
You are the follow up path so the strategy is dependent on you making contact. This can be automated somewhat with advertising but it really needs a personal touch. With the right approach you can actually turn a CEO’s assistant into a valuable ally.
Reference: How to Get a Meeting with Anyone: The Untapped Selling Power of Contact Marketing, Stu Heinecke
The easiest and quickest thing you can do is something called deep personalization. Social media has made it easy to gather a lot of information about nearly anybody. Discover what they are interested in and use that as a starting off point. This isn’t scalable, but you don’t need scale right now. You just need something effective that you can start right now.