Contact Marketing: Getting a Meeting with Anyone (Part 1)
Regardless of whether you’re in sales or marketing, we can all agree that nothing happens if you’re not able to get meetings. Imagine if there was a way to change the course of your career and business by being able to effectively reach out to important prospects and contacts. One person has found a way to do this through a method he calls Contact Marketing. In this exciting 2-part interview, we talk to Stu Heinecke (Author/Marketer/WSJ Cartoonist) about this incredible technique that has enabled him to teach thousands of professionals worldwide how to get a meeting with anyone.
Tune in next week for Part 2 of this fun, witty, and insightful conversation.
Christian Klepp, Stu Heinecke
Christian Klepp 00:09
Hi, and welcome to the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast. I’m your host, Christian Klepp, and one of the founders of EINBLICK Consulting. Our goal is to share inspirational stories, tips, and insights from B2B marketers, digital entrepreneurs, and industry experts that will help you to think differently, succeed, and scale your business.
Christian Klepp 00:30
Okay, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission Podcast. I’m your host, Christian Klepp, and today I’m really excited to have a guest on the show that I connected with over LinkedIn, as many people do these days. And this is somebody – I watched this presentation a couple of weeks ago at the full funnel B2B marketing summit, and that was hosted by Andrei Zinkevich, I believe it was. So, we connected on LinkedIn and the rest is history. So, Mr. Stu Heinecke, welcome to the show.
Stu Heinecke 01:02
Here we are. I’ll tell you that’s where they… It’s kind of an amazing connection to have made. Of course, LinkedIn. But Andrei did that from Croatia, I think. Are you in Montreal?
Christian Klepp 01:19
I’m in Toronto.
Stu Heinecke 01:20
In Toronto. I’m on an island, just a little north of Seattle. So, I just find that amazing, that we’re making those kinds of connections so easily, it’s nothing. But, anyway, good to join you.
Christian Klepp 01:35
Likewise. And you know what I think is so brilliant about this connection, Stu? I try to post, I like to say meaningful content, on LinkedIn on a regular basis. And, very few people actually reach out to me and have the kind of conversations that you and I have had. So, this in itself is gold. Alright, well why don’t we get this started by you telling us a little bit about yourself, and what you do.
Stu Heinecke 01:59
I wrote a couple of books about getting meetings. And the thing is that, throughout my career, I’ve had this crazy unfair advantage. Unfair advantages are great, aren’t they? We should all have them, actually. So, I had this unfair advantage, and that… I was a cartoonist, and the first thing that I produced as an entrepreneur was, as an agency, was direct mail campaigns that use personalized cartoons. So, I’m now one of the Wall Street Journal cartoonists. It just gets worse and worse. The unfairness of it gets worse and worse. It’s not the cartoons, I hope. So, I’ve used cartoons my whole career. Now, the interesting thing is, I used them to break through to presidents and prime ministers. I broke through to, I don’t know if you’ll remember him or not, but Brian Mulroney, on behalf of the NHL. So I’ve broken through to people I should never be able to break through to. But on the other hand, I guess I’ve changed my mind about that – I guess I am supposed to break through to them. And we’re all supposed to break through the people who can change the scale of everything. They’re out there, and one meeting like that really can change a whole lot in your life. So, the thing is, I know that people have responded really positively to them, I know that they keep them around. If I send them a big cartoon – in a big form factor, they’ll keep it on their credenza; they’ll just keep it in their office for a long, long time – maybe the rest of their careers. So, I knew all of this was happening, but I’ve never seen it live.
So, this video I want to share with you is really cool because I sent a really, really interesting – like, the most interesting cartoon package I think I’ve ever sent. It’s a multi-panel cartoon, and the recipient’s name is, I mean, all of it’s done by hand, because it’s the quote bubbles that are in the art, so it’s all done by hand. The piece that I put it on – really freeform, kind of really cool thing, put into this cool box. So, here’s this video of one of my target’s assistants receiving this thing, and opening it up, and for some reason, I don’t know what possessed her to do this, but she filmed her reaction as she was opening it. So, I want to share that with you. So, let’s see. I’m going to hit the… we’ll see if we can make that happen.
[Video Audio] 04:35
This is pretty cool. And, I’m too anxious to wait and show you. So, here’s the reveal. How awesome is this? Tale of the hired gun, ever tell you the story of bill a kid? Yep, sure, did. How about Wild Bill Jean? Me the marketing is for San Diego? Yep, you can say that again.
Stu Heinecke 05:21
Alright. So, you know, so we’re gonna go back. Isn’t that what you want? When you’re reaching out to someone – someone who could change a lot for you if they became your client, your partner, your, like a strategic partner or a mentor – any number of reasons why you might want to connect with someone. You want them; I mean here’s this assistant saying she’s in love with this guy. Right? So, here’s the whole point: when we do this, when we use contact marketing – that’s my term for it – but, when we use contact marketing to reach out to people who can change the scale of everything in our lives, we’re interrupting them, right? I mean, they weren’t waiting to hear from us, so we’re interrupting them. Well, what better way for… What better reaction could you possibly elicit in them than having them say – what did the assistant say, “I’m kind of in love with this guy”, but also, just, “I love the way you think.” I mean, they’re gonna look at it and go, “wow, oh my god, look at the way this guy thinks or this woman thinks – that’s incredible”. And so, that’s the way I think, that’s the way we ought to start actually every new connection, every new relationship with someone that we hadn’t known before someone who’s very important to us – that’s the way to start them.
Christian Klepp 06:43
That’s an incredible story, and what a way to kick off this conversation. And to the point about, like, who you are and what you do, I think you’ve all just pretty much answered that question. Right?
Stu Heinecke 06:54
That’s true. We don’t even have to talk about it anymore.
Christian Klepp 06:57
Exactly. But, Stu, going back to what you just said earlier, about, that you probably over the years came up with this concept of ‘contact marketing’. With the purpose or the objective of trying to get those meetings that you want, as your book says, with anyone. Well, with people that you want to talk to, right? So, how did you come up with this idea? Like, did you come up with that when you were working as a cartoonist?
Stu Heinecke 07:26
Here’s what it was. I have, I think, certainly one of the craziest backgrounds I know of, because I’m a cartoonist, I’m in the Wall Street Journal – not every day, don’t go checking. I’m in the journal but, I mean, my education is all in marketing. So, I’ve been combining cartooning and marketing my whole career. And that has been an incredible… Man, what an incredible decision that was, and what a powerful combination it was, for a number of reasons – One, cartoons are the best read and remember parts of magazines and newspapers. That’s what editorial readership surveys have been showing for years. And then, if you think about the nature of humor, it’s about truth being revealed. I mean, that one that we just saw in the video, I sent that to Billie Jean, And I’m calling them ‘wild’, I love calling people ‘wild Billy’, ‘wild’ whoever they are, because I think that’s how they think of each other. I mean, how we think we’d like to think of ourselves. I’d love to be Wild Stu Heinecke. What a great thing to throw at someone in a cartoon. That’s great. So, they get attention. They get more attention than just about anything you could put in print and on a screen. You think about that nature of humor, that its truth revealed in a twist, or really, in this case, what we really want to do is play at the point of agreement. So I mean, implanted in their brains before they even realize it happened. And that happens when anybody says, “Oh, that’s cool.” When they have that reaction, there’s a mechanism that’s happening, and they’re saying “I agree with that. I really like this. This is cool. I’m moved by this.” What a great thing for marketing communication, right? Yeah, so I wanted to create this business based on creating direct mail campaigns with personalization in cartoons. And that carried me. That’s carried me a long way. It’s still carrying me. I’ve been at it for a long time. But there’s this really interesting story of how it all started. And, I don’t know, do we have time for that?
Christian Klepp 09:43
Oh, of course. Please.
Stu Heinecke 09:46
Okay, well, I’ll just tell it really quick. I wanted to create direct mail campaigns for magazines for subscription acquisition campaigns. So, we’re talking about a while ago, because they’re not, I don’t think they’re doing that anymore. I wanted to create this new genre of direct mail. I wanted to do it for publishers because they were spending a lot of money. They were the biggest direct marketers in the world at that point, and their budgets for creative talent were huge. It was the big arena. It was the big leagues for this. So, that’s where I wanted to go. And, I had two quick assignments – one for Rolling Stone, the other for Bon Appetit. Both of those beat their controls, meaning they set new records for response. Okay, great. What do I need to do to break into the rest of the publishing industry? I need to reach about 24 people VPs of circulation, or maybe consumer marketing at the big Manhattan-based print media company – Time, Inc. and Conde Nast. They’re still huge with the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, etc. I needed to reach just two dozen people. That’s all it would take to create a complete penetration into that market. So, I put together a little campaign. Didn’t know what to call it. I called it a contact campaign – I had to call it something.
And it consisted of an 8 x 10 print of a cartoon, each one personalized to each recipient, and it went with a note saying this is a device I just used to beat the controls for Rolling Stone and Bon Appetit. Both of them beat the controls, and I think we should put this to the test for your titles. So, usually if I’m speaking to an audience, or like a live audience, if we were in a room together, it’d be saying “so, all right, tell me what you feel, take some guesses, what do you think I got per response?” Maybe not such good form here, I’ll just say that all of them responded. All of them agreed to meet. All of them became clients. So it was 100% response rate to the campaign, and 100% conversion on the back end. It was worth millions of dollars to me, and it sprang from that one campaign that I spent about 100 bucks on. So that was my first introduction to contact. That’s what started me, and I thought “I have a secret weapon. I can get hold of anyone.”
And I was like, “wait a minute, who can I get a hold of?” So, I started playing with that. I reached presidents and prime ministers, and celebrities. And, really much more usefully, countless C level executives and top decision makers. And that just open everything. I still do it. I do it all the time. Of course, I do it for myself, and I do it for my clients. But the thing that got me really, really curious, I mean really interested in all of this was that I started just looking around, “well, okay, I do it with cartoons. What’s everyone else doing?” Because I’m not the first one who’s faced this challenge of getting a meeting. So it is important. So, what’s everyone else doing? That led to these two books. Maybe I should hold them up. “How to get a meeting with anyone” was the first one, and then “Get the meeting”.
Christian Klepp 13:06
Yeah, so thanks for sharing that Stu. I mean, that was all really, really interesting and informative. I’m interested to know, what did you do? Or, I mean, certainly, you populated these two books with your own experiences and some of the work that you’ve done the past couple of years, and what have you, but you’ve also gone out and done your own research, like interviewed people. Am I right to say that, like sales leaders?
Stu Heinecke 13:30
Oh, yeah. I would say it’s mostly everybody else’s work, because I don’t think it would be a very interesting book about just me using cartoons. So, there are some unbelievable stories out there of really, truly, audacious things that people have done to make those connections. And it goes… Actually, it goes all the way back to Leonardo da Vinci. He was hired as a content marketing agency, I guess.
Christian Klepp 14:01
A friend of yours, right?
Stu Heinecke 14:03
Now he is.
Christian Klepp 14:07
So, the Mona Lisa was like a DM piece.
Stu Heinecke 14:10
No, but there’s a lute that he made out of a horse’s skull. And that was a gift that was commissioned by one of the Domenici family members as an outreach campaign to introduce himself to the count of Milan. You know what, I’m sure it goes back much further than that. People have been using gifts, probably when cavemen gave each other, I don’t know, a squirrel. Let’s see if we could connect somehow and maybe collaborate.
Christian Klepp 14:44
It’s all for the sake, or with the objective, of trying to get attention in the right way with the right target audience, right?
Christian Klepp 14:51
Hey, it’s Christian Klepp here. We’ll get back to the episode in a second. But first, is your brand struggling to cut through the noise? Are you trying to effectively reach your target audience and boost your sales? Are you trying to pivot your business? If so, book a call with EINBLICK Consulting. Our experienced consultants will help your B2B business to succeed and scale. Go to www.einblick.co for more information.
Christian Klepp 15:17
Stu, there’s something, I mean, I found these statistics and I think these are just too good to keep to myself. So, I’m going to share them with you. Some of these are from your website. Many of these are obviously from the research that you’ve done over the years, and I think he also wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review. But I’m gonna share these statistics with the listeners because these are just jaw-dropping. And then I’ll ask my question. So, highest response rate recorded was 300%. Alright, that was the first point.
The second point just completely blows my mind. I’ve got to make sure that I’ve got all the zeros right here. Highest recorded ROI from a contact marketing campaign – I’m just going to glance at it again to make sure I got it right – 69,500,000%. New baseline for response is 100%. And then you interview, as you rightfully alluded to a couple of minutes ago, you interviewed the top 100 sales thought leaders throughout the world, right? And you discovered that they were kind of following the similar sales technique, but nobody really had a clear name or label for it, right? And then you dubbed it contact marketing. You know that the response rate, from these guys and their teams when they were using these techniques, that the response rates were anywhere between 60 to 100%. So now, besides the fact that I dropped all these bombs here, why do you think it’s so effective?
Stu Heinecke 16:50
Well, you know, I’m just gonna relate it to LinkedIn, we all have experiences on LinkedIn. So there are some people who reach out and they say, “I noticed that you do this, or you said this.” They’ve done their homework, in other words. “I noticed that you’ve said this in an article and I just wanted to ask, Is that what, did you mean this? Or did you mean that?” or “I’m a big fan of your books” or “I’ve read your books. I bought your books.” Like that’ll get me every time. I’m so flattered that people buy the books. So I’m always like, “man, thank you so much. What an honor to connect.” And it is, because it’s an honor to connect. It’s an honor to touch people in that way. I mean, it really is. I don’t know, it might seem like authors are off in some ivory tower somewhere and they’re removed from all the other – No, it’s a huge honor when someone just buys your book, and if they say that it changed their lives, wow, that’s stunning. I mean, you’re changing my life when you tell me that, too. But then there are another there’s another type who connects with you. And sometimes they’ll send this very generic, “I noticed we breathe the same air and we have the same two eyeballs, and I just thought we should connect.” Well, actually, it’s more like, “I notice that we know, maybe, some of the same people in common. And I would enjoy having you in my network, and maybe get together and find out about what you do.” What?
Christian Klepp 18:26
Why don’t you just Google Stu Heinecke?
Stu Heinecke 18:28
Or, I mean, we all have profiles. Could you take a look? If you are sincere, then take a look. And then the worst one is just, “Hi. Thanks for connecting. This is what I do.” And I mean, they go on this long, several paragraph explanation of their pitch. Awful, terrible, terrible stuff. Here’s the thing, I think we’re creating what I would call flip moments. That’s not a term that’s in my books, but it just, we create these flip moments when people go from what, I was mentioning that we’re interrupting people, right, when we reach out to someone that we don’t know, they weren’t expecting you to do that. So, they don’t know you, didn’t know you existed. So, when you’re interrupting someone, man, make it worth their time, and be respectful and insightful. So, just sort of knocking on someone’s door, it’s really knocking on someone’s head here. “Hey, would you like to hear about my window cleaning services?” Hell no. Why would I want that? How irrelevant can you be? And how ham-fisted can you be? I will block those people, certainly drop the connection because there are all these trite things that people could say, “they’re not adding value.” I think it’s just that they’re not connecting on a human level. We’re all human beings – we want to connect on a human level. We want something that’s interesting. Maybe it makes us feel good. It make us feel special or honored in some way, but you just don’t break into someone’s head and say, “I want to just tell you about my window cleaning services”, because it’s just so damn random. It’s ridiculous.
Christian Klepp 20:15
Well, I believe that there’s a term, they actually coined the term for that action, and it’s called ‘pitch slopping.’
Stu Heinecke 20:22
Yeah, well, it is like a doorstop, I can tell you that. So, why does contact marketing work? Because I think there’s a lot of creativity, and imagination, and smart thinking behind it, and probably, in most cases, doing some homework. There’s audacity. These are the kinds of people I like to hang out with, or associate with, anyway. If you do something like that, what else do you have? What else do you have up your sleeve?
Christian Klepp 20:51
But it’s the kind of – sorry to interject – but there’s kind of, like, a fun audacity. It’s not the audacity where it becomes offensive.
Stu Heinecke 20:58
No, but you certainly are taking – someone’s taking a risk. They’re doing something that’s fascinating. I’m just trying to think. I could show you an example of something I love, that I think shows the audacity. So, this is a fake coffee spill. I love this thing. As a kid, I would have bought this at a joke shop. It’s so cool. But with my coaching clients, we produce these, so they go out and they have custom made cups done first. So, it’s kind of like a business card. It has their logo and their contact details. And then we get those converted to these coffee spills. What a cool little device. If I came by your office, but your receptionist said, “No Christian is not available.” I’d say, “cool. Can I just leave this for him?”
Christian Klepp 21:55
Stu Heinecke 21:56
Just leaving that behind.
Christian Klepp 21:59
I grab the tissue and go, “What is the heck is this?”
Stu Heinecke 22:05
If your receptionist didn’t, that would be a really cold-hearted receptionist. If they didn’t say, “wait, hold on a second, let me see if he’s available.” Let’s say you weren’t available, really, truly, you weren’t available. You leave this behind with a note inside maybe a Starbucks, or Tim Hortons, or your gift card, a little note that says, “Hey, sorry, we missed each other. But I’d love to have a cup of coffee with you, let’s say virtually over Zoom resume or something.” What a great way to introduce yourself. And I guarantee you, that’s not going to get thrown away. I think it’ll sit on somebody’s desk. Kind of like the cartoons that, I mean, when I send cartoons now as contact devices, they’re big. I could show you one, actually.
Or I could describe it. I know some people are just listening, so I’ll describe it. So, it’s an 18 by 24-inch, quarter-inch thick, foam-core board. But for the people who are watching, I’m going to hold it up.
Christian Klepp 23:03
There we go. Yeah.
Stu Heinecke 23:05
We need to need to disconnect here so I can pull back. So, there it is. It’s pretty big. When you’re holding it at arm’s length, it’s like the size of a big screen TV.
Christian Klepp 23:16
It’s pretty substantial.
Stu Heinecke 23:18
And so there’s a cartoon, it’s personalized to the recipient. And then on the back is branding, and then a message. I’m doing this backwards. So, a message from the sender to the recipient, who is here, explaining who they are, why they want to meet, and what the next steps are. And then that gets shipped in this really cool outer packaging. I’ll show it to you while telling you. It’s this corrugated cardboard outer packaging with all this cartoon art all over it, and it kind of looks like a package that’s coming from a cartoon Art Gallery, but it protects it as you ship it by FedEx, and there it is, with crushed nodes and everything. Sending something like that to say, “Christian, I’d like to meet with you because, I don’t know, whatever the reason is,” showing that I know who you are, and what you like, what you’ve been talking about, perhaps even where you’re headed or, even I guess just expressing an appreciation for your latest book, perhaps something like that. Which one of those approaches do you think is going to be more effective? That, or I just connect with you on LinkedIn out of the blue and pitch you.
Christian Klepp 24:37
Clearly the one that’s more unconventional, right?
Stu Heinecke 24:41
Yeah, I think so. I mean, one, because sending something like… and it doesn’t have to be a cartoon, by the way. Sending something like that, or dropping by something like the coffee spill, I think it really humanizes you. I mean, it’s like, “wow, who is this? I want to know this person. I love the way you think.” I mean, that’s it. “I love the way you think.” I certainly don’t get that reaction when someone pitches me. Right off the bat, I don’t want to be pitched. I don’t know, I just I don’t want to be pitched on LinkedIn.
Christian Klepp 25:11
Nobody wants to be pitched.
Stu Heinecke 25:12
That’s not why I’m there.
Christian Klepp 25:13
Right. Right. Exactly.
Stu Heinecke 25:15
I think that’s why it works so well. It’s so compelling, often so clever that you just can’t help but respond. Would it make sense to explain that 69,500,000% ROI? That’s like the biggest win I know of.
Christian Klepp 25:36
Stu Heinecke 25:39
So that one was, there was a startup called Orabrush, by a dentist, to create a tongue scraper, and he wanted to make it the biggest tongue scraper product in the world. So he hired staff, including these young guys just straight out of college who were really into making videos for YouTube. And they said, “here’s how we’ll sell it. We’ll sell it with YouTube videos, and we’ll drive people to a site, and we’ll sell.” So the first year, they sold a million dollars’ worth of product. That’s an incredible success story.
Christian Klepp 26:12
It’s amazing, yeah.
Stu Heinecke 26:14
But then they said, “Well, okay, we really need to branch out into brick and mortar. So, what’s the biggest bogey, the biggest target we could even set for ourselves? That would be Walmart. Let’s get this into Walmart.” So, Walmart has a process that I would term a very crowded channel. Right? Because everybody wants to get their products into Walmart. It’s life changing if you do it, particularly for your startup. And so they applied, and nothing was happening because it’s a crowded channel. Just like email is a very crowded channel if you’re trying to meet people, I would say even LinkedIn, also. So it’s a crowded channel, so they think nothing was going to happen for a very long time, if ever. So the young guys got impatient, and they decided to do something on their own – the CEO didn’t know anything about it. They put together this little Facebook ad. They’re tiny – maybe two inches by an inch and a half, or something. They had their spokesperson from the videos on there, and then the headline that says, “Walmart employees have bad breath,” then continues, “but if you carry Orabrush, or sell Orabrush in your stores, you won’t,” or something like that.
So they put that onto Facebook, but they were very careful about what they did. I mean, they specified the zip code in Bentonville, Arkansas, where the headquarters are for Walmart and then an age range of, let’s say, 35 to 45 – they’re thinking they wanted to reach the senior buyer for dental products. And then education levels, basically what they were trying to do was hit just the headquarters of Walmart, and they succeeded because within 48 hours they heard from, I can’t remember if it was the legal department or the communications department. They’re saying, “Are you guys behind the ad on Facebook?” “Yeah. Well, I guess we are.” “Well, would you please take it down?” “Sure.”
Christian Klepp 28:22
Probably the legal department.
Stu Heinecke 28:23
Sounded like the legal department. So they’re saying, “did you run this ad nationally?” They said, “No, no, no, no, we just ran it just to your headquarters, your zip code, these age ranges, and education ranges. It was to reach you.” “You guys are actually pretty good digital marketers aren’t you?” “We know our stuff. Yeah. We’ve sold a million dollars’ worth of product from YouTube ads last year. Yeah, we know our stuff really well.” “Wow. That’s really fascinating.”
And then before they knew it they were speaking to the dental products buyer, who was saying, “I love your product. I love what you did, I love how you got in touch with us. So, can you support an order for 735,000 units?” That would be a million and a half dollar order. So, that’s one and a half times the previous, like all of the earnings they’ve made. But it didn’t stop there because I was interviewing their CEO.
And I said, “Okay, so you’re a startup and you’ve sold a million dollars’ worth of product the previous year online. But now all of a sudden, you got this million and a half dollar initial order. Because let’s hope it’s the start of something much bigger. And that means that you’re gonna be rolled out all, I think is 660 800 stores, and they’re in their network, you can be rolled out in all of those stores. What did that do to the valuation of your company?” And so he said, “I think it went at least went up at least 10x.” So, if we assume then that the company is worth twice earnings or twice sales, is the point from the previous year, would be a $2 million company going into that conversation, and a $20 million company coming out of it. So, if you take a $28 ad, do the math, a million and a half dollar order, subtract the $2 million valuation that they already had, but an $18 million jump in their valuation for that phone call, and that’s the 69,500,000% ROI.
Christian Klepp 30:32
What an incredible story. And he, like, when I saw that figure, I’m like, “okay, maybe I’m not seeing this right. Or maybe there must have been some kind of mistake.” Which is why I decided to talk about it on the show, because I knew that there was a great story behind it, and you probably did talk about it during the interview with Andre.
Stu Heinecke 30:52
Yes, well, It’s a fun one. Actually, so many of these are so much fun to talk about. So, as you can see, the books would be nothing if all I did was write about my use of cartoons. It’s interesting, but it one tiny facet of things that so many people are doing, and it’s this whole shadow form of marketing. I didn’t invent it. I did get to name it, and then I got named the father of the genre. That’s cool. But it’s always been out there for a very long time.
Christian Klepp 31:24
Yeah, and you got, I think was the American Marketing Association that gave you that name or baptized you as the father?
Stu Heinecke 31:30
Yeah, that’s right. AMA. That’s right.
Christian Klepp 31:34
Thank you for joining us on this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast. To learn more about what we do here at EINBLICK, please visit our website at www.einblick.co and be sure to subscribe to the show on iTunes, or your favorite podcast player.