Strapline

Ideas and Words for all Business Communications

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

What can a broken ankle teach you about marketing? Part 3

Well this broken ankle malarkey has taken more out of me than I thought it would - healing when you're a bit older takes time. But it has given me the time to really review how I've generated new business for myself and for my clients and here are some of my conclusions.
When was the last time you thought about why clients love or hate you?
The primary reason why businesses struggle, falter, and fail is not because of failures in marketing, or finance, or even effort. They fail because the idea behind the product or service was crap in the first place. Sorry but you can't polish a turd and eventually the market finds you out.

So lesson number one - if you can't generate new and repeat business, ask yourself if you have something worthwhile to offer, or are you just pissing in the wind and wasting your time.

Lesson number two - if you are making clients happy and they are paying with real money then find out why. You probably think you know, but in my experience you might not. I used to think clients used my services to generate more business - but I found out that clients used me to challenge them about what the future for their market might look like. My natural instinct to create space in a marketplace that has yet to be filled, led me to ask questions other marketing folk just ignored. 

Lesson number three - when you find out what you do that others will pay for - just get on with doing it. The time I've wasted doing everything else but getting on with doing what I do has cost me thousands. You don't have to have the best website, or nice business cards, or a new brochure - you really don't. Just find a client and do what you do - and then ask that satisfied client if they can help you grow your business by giving you an introduction to someone else. If you sell a product rather than a service you can do the same. Get your customers to become advocates for you. And when I say ask them, I don’t mean email them, I mean sitting with them eyeball to eyeball and asking them directly. In all the years I’ve been doing this, not once has a happy client said no!

Lesson number four - marketing and selling are two different skills, but increasingly forget the selling bit. Customers will come to you when they are ready. Selling is very old fashioned. Having excellent negotiation skills and being able to build a relationship with a stranger on the phone in less than 30 seconds are more valuable than learning how to handle a few objections!

The fastest way of growing your business is to make your clients genuine advocates for what you do – part 4 will focus on how this can be achieved.

Image courtesy of winnond at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, 12 October 2015

What can a broken ankle teach you about marketing? Part 2

Enforced stillness and the requirement to slow down as a consequence of breaking my ankle has been both frustrating and surprisingly enlightening.

I've learnt that a portion of my working day was just wasted with "doing things".

Now I can't do so many activities and have to focus on stuff I can do, it's really clear I've been wasting time. I don't think 1 shall be as unfocused as I was, and I suggest that if you get to the end of the day and have missed your objectives you might want to reflect on what got in the way.

Practically speaking the old busted ankle has given me the time to take a long look at what I do and what I want to do over the next few years. But part of that process was a little bit scary.
When was the last time you did a bit of planning?
My Marketing and Business Development Plan was 3 years out of date and most of the action points and milestones I so carefully crafted were just not hit. How the hell did that happen?

Do you have a plan for marketing your business? How's it going?

Well don't break your ankle to find out! - If like mine it's out of date and just a forgotten wish list then do yourself and business a favour and make it a priority to fix.

There are loads of ideas on the web about how to build a marketing and business development plan - if you want to know where to look just email me and I'll send you a list of places that have always inspired me.

It's taken me the best part of 10 hours to get my ideas down on paper and now I'm putting the milestones into my Google Calendar so I get a kick every month. They say if you don't plan you're planning for failure - well I'm not sure. But what I've have learnt is that if you do plan you really should take it out every week and see if you're on track and not leave it in a drawer hidden away.

Next up on the list is a review on the return I have managed to get on the various different marketing comms activities I've used over the past 5 years. The initial results surprised me.


Wednesday, 7 October 2015

What can a broken ankle teach you about marketing? Part 1

I've broken my ankle.

Take my advice - don't do this!

Completely my own fault even though I've tried to include the dog as part of the incident!

I'm back from hospital and have to be non weightbearing for at least another 4 to 6 weeks, so you can expect a few more blogs, as I have more time.

And as I've been lying in bed reading and reflecting some ideas are developing concerning time and marketing.

With a busted ankle I can assure you EVERYTHING takes a lot longer and you need HELP to get even the most basic things done. ( I won't go into all the details, but be under no illusion not be able to get around with speed and precision is a real problem).

Speed, precision, and flexibility are all aspects of today's marketing communications activity - so we all think, but are they really? When you only have one good leg and have to plan carefully just getting from the office to the loo, things start to slow down.

You also can't make meetings without a struggle, and you get tired and have to take rest when normally you would be expected to running around doing doing doing.

But 10 days into this, even though I'm not loving it, I'm doing some great work and have come to an understanding that we might think we have to be doing doing doing, and have to react with ever shortening timescales, but WE REALLY DON'T.

Because all of us actually respond better if we can consider and reflect before we make a decision, just like I have to pause and reflect before I decide to hop into the kitchen for a cup of coffee. We think we can make up our minds faster and faster, but we can't and we don't like when we have to.

I'm developing ideas on how this has an impact on inertia and its relationship with the decision making progress. Eliminating friction and inertia for our customers to make a purchase decisions is often linked to pricing strategy and third party recommendations - and it is, but I'm convinced it's also linked to our innate "slow processing" capacity which has been part of our mindset for generations.

Over the next few weeks I hope to show that taking time over marketing strategy and tactics and understanding that our customers prefer to take time, should be something to consider.

Image courtesy of sippakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net