Over the past five years we've had the great privilege of working with a broad array of great clients in completing hundreds of marketing-related projects. So, Frank and I thought this would be a great time to craft our next email with the most valuable knowledge and insights. We came away with two different articles, both of which are filled with great insights.
While marketing approaches have changed, often leading to more complexity, we are regularly reminded that the simplest approaches are not to be forgotten.
As always, we welcome your thoughts, questions, ideas and suggestions.
Here's to another 5 great years.
Every industry, and every company for that matter, has inherent, unique aspects that either enable or disable them from being great. This may include their culture, leader, certain individuals, intellectual property and location.
In some businesses, the business owner is a charismatic person who shines in front of current and prospective clients. In other businesses, they have thought-leaders who can write with unbelievable regularity (and ease) about their area of expertise. In others, the scientists have achieved a unique and patented process that others cannot duplicate. These underlying business fundamentals form the basis for how to go to market and how to promote a company.
Discovering the right marketing mix (your formula) in today’s day and age is no longer about just finding it, but equally about experimenting with it. Such experimentation helps you find what works and what doesn’t. The key to such a process is systemization and consistency – What can you do repeatedly and with ease in a way that is measurable? Often this is a function of time, money and resources. Some find success with money-intensive ad campaigns, others with time-intensive public relations campaigns and others with sales campaigns (CRM, cold calling, etc) and, more often than not, there is a mix of multiple approaches.
The key to finding the successful formula is to experiment - start with what makes the most sense for your market, tweak your formula until it works and then keep testing until you get it to work better. Never stop.
This is likely the most underrated and under-utilized rule in business today. Most people think that the secret to finding new business is to focus marketing and advertising budgets on people they don’t know – we prefer to market to the people we know first, then move on to those who are strangers. Sounds reasonable, but when we ask clients if they have any form of monthly correspondence with clients or top prospects (newsletters, email offers, etc), most companies respond no.
If you’re looking for a good place to start capitalizing on STRATEGY #1, you can benefit greatly from doing the following:
a. Building two databases: one for your current clients and one for your prospects
b. Communicating to your clients (and top prospects) on a regular basis
c. Communicating with all other known prospects
d. Defining and targeting your ideal clients (See point 2)
e. Segmenting your databases (ideal clients, clients, top prospects, other prospects as a starting point) and varying messages to each
f. Test, retest and split test all communications to always improve
Trying to sell everyone everything is a failing formula – this is especially true in today’s day and age. Focusing your products and services so they provide maximum value to a select group of customers is the foundation of most successful businesses.
There are many ways to define an ideal client, but here’s the big picture:
- Your ideal client is someone who needs what you have to offer (they see value in it)
- They have the money, resources and authority to engage and pay you
- They respect you and the product or service that you provide
Once you define your ideal client, it is important to define your brand so it aligns with their needs (functional and emotional). Recognize that this is something that can evolve as time goes on, listen to your clients and prospects and affect your brand to align more and more with them.
Helpful link for creating your ideal client profile:
No man (or woman) is an island. It is a fatal mistake to make decisions regarding your brand that are driven solely by YOUR personal preferences. Even if your own demographics are similar with that of your target audience, you are very likely not objective about such matters. It is harsh to say, but the ONLY group qualified to decide if a communications tactic or message is on-track is your clients and prospects.
You either need to make decisions with your customers’ preferences, expectations, wants and needs in mind or trust others who are using direct input from customers to make those decisions or provide those recommendations.
As obvious as it may seem, many companies still fail to seize all of the available opportunities to drive potential and existing customers to their website. Standard tools for driving visitors to your website include email signatures, letterhead, business cards, e-newsletters, articles, special offers, invoices, promo materials, point of sale and signage.
Although marketing movements come and go, your website is still one of the most important marketing tools in your mix. Customers can access it on their schedule and how they interact with it puts 100% of the power in their hands. Besides being a source of answers for customers, it also gives them a way to get a sense of who you are and what you’re about – with zero pressure. Aside from word of mouth, it is the number one due diligence tool that people use to determine if a company or product is for real. Make sure your website is making the impression you need it to make.
It is a natural instinct for us to want to work with people (or companies) that know what they’re talking about. Feeling like we’re working with an expert helps set our hearts at ease and provides peace of mind. Companies that come across as experts in their field are the companies that we want to do business with. Most businesses operate with some level of expertise – Find ways to feel comfortable sharing it.
We find that many of our clients fail to recognize just how much expertise and insight they have in their particular field. Usually organizational leaders have been focused in their field for a decade or more and have significant depth of knowledge in their particular industry or sector. What may seem like common sense to you can be a helpful piece of insight to your customers or potential customers. Whether it’s a blog, newsletter, basic video on a specific topic, or an article that you email out, share your knowledge and expertise.
People trust experts. People buy from experts.
Helpful Link on becoming a Thought Leader:
On this note, I’m going to quote Jeffrey Gitomer, a fairly well known sales expert, from his recent newsletter:
Fundamentals like great attitude, deep belief, truth, friendly helpful people, fast response, and error-free delivery fundamentals constitute what every customer expects. And all of them are a GIVEN. If you and your entire company are not masters of the fundamentals, all the rest of this information is worthless.
Beyond the fundamentals are the imperatives of sales and selling. There are new elements of selling that must be mastered in order for you to achieve sales in these times, and for the next decade or two, and they have nothing to do with "the basics." Without them you will die an unhappy, slow, sales death, griping and blaming others all the way.
1. Be better than your competitors. In everything BUT price.
2. Be different from your competitors. In a way you can prove.
3. Be closer to your customer than your competitors. Relationships rule.
Helpful link on Jeffrey Gitomer (#6):
www.gitomer.com (his articles are in the Sales Help tab and require sign up to his newsletters to gain access).