Keeping Up With the Gatekeeper Game

In today’s “instant access to the consumer” world, it’s hard to believe we still have to perform a dog and pony show to get past the gatekeeper in the hopes of finding the decision maker. Well, be warned that often in a tight economy, the gatekeeper and the decision maker could be the same person and their time is very, very limited.

As an advertising agency, invaluable gatekeeper included, we deal with similar issues as our clients. Every day our gatekeeper is faced with a litany of decisions to make and tasks to accomplish, complete with an even longer list of potential service providers to help assist in culling down the “To Do” list.

In 20 succinct bullets from our gatekeeper, this is how evok recommends you go about opening that proverbial gate to reach the people who made the decisions:

  • Don’t make promises you can’t keep
  • Be honest
  • Know your customer (who is and who isn’t)
  • Provide a loyalty program
  • Reward referrals
  • Spell out an actual point of difference
  • Announce your intention prior to soliciting
  • Get to the point quickly
  • Provide an incentive
  • Be different (if you’re not, come back when you are)
  • Know your competition
  • Remember your manners (please and thank you go a long way)
  • Keep it simple and short, stupid
  • Leave them wanting more (and a way to get more if desired)
  • Timing is everything (don’t offer me tax advice on April 16!)
  • No high pressure
  • Don’t wear out your welcome
  • Make your product or service offer time sensitive
  • Don’t be sketchy
  • Dress the part (do the “once over” twice if needed)

True, many of the above bullets apply to a company representative happening upon the actual gatekeeper via the phone or in person, but each can apply to all advertising and marketing initiatives. Whether it’s a print ad, direct marketing piece, end-of-aisle display with free samples or door-to-door salesman performing a cold call, every impression is an opportunity for customer conversion. Though you have multiple options to get your best foot in the door, all it takes is one fatal faux pas and you will never make it past the gatekeeper.