July 22, 2014

The power of timing

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 12:26 pm

Life is a timed event. We have only a certain amount of time each day, week, month and year in which to accomplish our objectives. As my favorite college professor used to say, coming up with the right answer solves only half of the problem. The other half is to do so in a timely manner.

That familiar say, “Timing is everything,” while not totally correct is at least partially correct, and good timing is a very important item, at that. Timing can be pressure induced, but its more comfortable, and perhaps more effective, counterpart is good timing that results from good planning.

There simply is no substitute for a little self-analysis that results in timing things for maximum impact. So, while it is also the result of good instincts (thank God for those), it might be better to rely on good planning to produce the good timing from which your marketing will most profit.

Have you ever noticed how the NBA teams seem to kick it up a notch when the voice on the PA system announces, “Two minutes”? As business owners and managers, we don’t have that luxury. We have to come out of the staring blocks each day and run hard right from the starting gun in order to make our way through our weekly to-do list.

I advise our clients to set up a self-imposed marketing deadline system in order to produce and disseminate their marketing materials and make those vital selling contacts in a timely manner. This just makes good sense and, like the airport control tower, keeps the ”work-to-be-done” traffic moving. Otherwise, as I have found in my own case, it is easy to become so involved in your clients/customers’ needs that you forget the needs of your own business – needs like those key marketing projects and other self-promotion activities.


July 15, 2014

The case for one-way communication

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 10:49 am

Here is the fundamental premise on which all marketing is based:

If the consumer isn’t aware that you exist, you can’t sell your product.

When encountering a prospect on the showroom floor or at a trade show, in every case, he or she was “delivered” to that critical point by an awareness of you; whether through an advertisement, a referral or, in the trade show circumstance, merely because you were there.

What takes place at that point is two-way communication (you standing face to face with the prospect, closing the sale). Though your degree of success will be determined by your persuasiveness, product, knowledge, price, etc., something that happened before that gave you the opportunity: a prospect had to be delivered.

In today’s highly competitive marketplace, real success is largely a numbers game. To survive, let alone be a leader in your category, you have to close many sales. In order to do so, you have to have ample numbers of prospects with which to work.

Here’s the key point: developing adequate numbers of prospects cannot be accomplished through two-way communication, either face to face, by phone, the mail or, even, the Internet. Neither you nor your sales staff has anywhere near the time necessary for this crucial function. Prominent publisher McGraw Hill & Co. has estimated that the average sales call requires approximately 45 minutes, and that an average of three calls is required to close a sale. Surely, it’s no way to prospect.

Prospecting is what marketing ¾ the one-way communication element of sales ¾ is ideally suited for. Expensive, time-consuming two-way communication simply isn’t necessary, nor is it efficient in developing prospects in the numbers sufficient for business success. Marketing communication, in one form or another, is the answer.

Most anti-marketing hard-liners got that way because they, at some point, were turned off by poor marketing efforts that failed to produce results. This is understandable, because much marketing is misguided or misplaced ¾ but it is not justifiable, and, more than likely, will be hazardous to bottom-line business health.

Is marketing foolproof? Will it always produce infallible, guaranteed results? No it won’t, nor is it fair to expect it to (after all, what does?). But it is more science than art, and, as such, has something very important on its side: LOGIC.  Marketing is measurable, quite often yielding predictable results, and as practiced by good professionals, should ¾ and most often does ¾ more than pay for itself.



July 7, 2014

Building brand equity takes balls

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 5:25 pm

 There are three balls that need to constantly be juggled in order to at least maintain the value of a brand. These are:

a) customer acceptance

b)  a reasonable level of employee contentment, and

c) fiscal viability.

The first of these is, of course, product/service driven. The second, in addition to their getting a paycheck on a regular basis, has more to do with employees’ general job satisfaction, working conditions, self-image, etc. The third is required because relatively few people want to buy a “loser.”

If maintaining the brand is Business 101, then building equity in the brand requires, not only doing things right, but, doing the right things. Key among these tenets, and a fourth ball one must keep an eye on is business growth.

In other words, if your brand equity today equals “$$,” would the sale of your business net you a comfortable retirement or even an adequate down payment on that cottage in the woods or another business venture? . . . I was afraid that would be your answer! The remedy: build your equity to (at least) $$$$.

How to do this?

The late Peter Drucker, who during the whole of the 20th century was the foremost business management guru of them, all has put it this way:

           “Business has two basic functions: Innovation and Marketing.

           These produce results. All the rest are costs.”

It may not surprise you to learn that I agree with the renowned Mr. Drucker, whom I hasten to underscore was not a marketing person, but, rather, a management expert. Indeed, unless you are that notable exception (would you believe one in 100,000?) whose business grows sort of  “organically” at a rate (and of a quality) significant enough impact the bottom line, you can count on the fact that effective marketing will need to be your key engine in achieving growth.

When a sale of your business is a goal

If preparing an exit strategy and “cashing in your chips” have become more dominant factors in your thinking, it would make sense for you to start a dynamic marketing program with specific objectives and benchmarks, sooner rather than later. If your timeline is to put your business on the market within the next couple of years, it certainly is not too late to mount an aggressive marketing campaign aimed toward making the sale date a bigger pay day (keep in mind that the average business sale easily can take 12-18 months).

Such a campaign most likely will involve direct marketing (probably e-mail) and your online presence (attracting traffic to your website) because that’s where the action is these days. This should not be left to chance or random efforts, but, rather, should be based on an effective marketing plan featuring strategies to meet your objectives, and tactics through which to implement those strategies. And there should be an ongoing review of your exit plan so necessary adjustments can me made throughout the process.

Following these guidelines will help to ensure that the results of what may be the biggest sale you will ever make will meet or exceed your goals.