‘Business Articles’ Category

13 Reasons Why Your Marketing Isn’t Soaring With The Eagles – Part 3

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

And now…the final 5…reasons your Marketing Isn’t Soaring with the Eagles.

You don’t make it easy enough for people to do business with you

The easier it is for people to do business with you – the less complicated, embarrassing, time wasting, expensive, etc., etc. – the more business you’ll do.

I can’t tell you how many beautifully-sculptured, clever ads I’ve seen and read, with wonderful, compelling sales messages … and no proper call to action, and/or specific directions as to how I should go about buying the damn thing.

Oh, it’s there all right but, by the time you get the pen, the commercial is over, or you have to navigate your way through the ad TO FIND THE PERSON WHO’LL TAKE YOUR ORDER!

I repeat: The simpler you make it for people to buy from you, the more you’ll sell.

Your marketing efforts are dead-set BORING!

No need to labor this point, I’m sure. You’ve all seen so much stultifying, uninspiring rubbish yourself, and wondered:

“Who do these people think they’re going to impress with this load of bs?”

Then you toss it where you toss your orange peel.

Of course, nobody says this about your marketing material, do they? Yet, there’s a strong possibility that this IS the case.

You have to work continuously to ensure not only that you’re not boring people, but that you’re actually inspiring, exciting, captivating, or seducing a significant number of your target audience. That said, make sure that you assess the market’s perception of your marketing efforts, and don’t judge things on how you feel. Many a business has “pulled” a successful marketing effort because they were tired and bored with it, when, in fact, the market audience was not.

One of the most famous, and successful, newspaper advertising headlines ran for 30-plus years. It was, They Laughed When I Said I Could Play The Piano – But They’re Not Laughing Now!

You fail to test – test – test

Not every marketing effort will work. In fact, most will fail! The real savvy marketers test and test until they find two things: what works … and then, what works better. Along the way, they document and evaluate their results. They have absolutely no intention of repeating their mistakes.

So, before committing yourself to that big advertisement or mail-out, test your propositions, test your headlines, test whether your ultimate benefits are compelling enough.

Put another way, you have an obligation to conservatively test and let the market tell you what it wants.

You’re a small-town thinker

There’s a huge difference between having enough confidence in yourself, your products, or your services to think nationally, or even globally, and being too big for your boots.

Have you got a great product or service that would be appreciated by a wider market than you’re addressing now? But, you don’t have the budget to capitalize on the situation? OK. That’s understandable. But, at least you can start working toward a bigger audience. It’s the old power-of-positive-thinking thing.

Send your literature to a few selected people interstate and overseas. We’re truly entering the doorway to the global marketplace, so start adopting a mindset that will have you right at the front of the queue.

Maybe there is no market!
Let’s look at an example … one that is played out every day – unfortunately.

Frank and Francine have lived in Smalltown all their lives. Smalltown is a remote township of some 10,000 people. Frank, for many years, worked as the manager of the largest hardware store in town. He knew his industry well and, for that reason, he could hardly wait to open his own hardware business.

That day did arrive (courtesy of an inheritance left to Francine) and so, the Double D Hardware store opened amid a blaze of “Opening Sales.” The first two weeks of sales looked promising.

But then things started to go flat… despite Frank’s attention to marketing and advertising. You see, apart from the large franchise hardware shop, there were four other competitors … and the “Double D” made it six hardware shops in all. Six months after the opening, Frank held his last sale – regrettably, it was a closing-the-doors sale.

Ok, let’s take a “helicopter view” of what happened here.

If Frank had done a bit of homework before the event, Francine would still have her inheritance, her health and her marriage, because these, too, were the casualties of the “Double D” disaster.

Yes, Frank should have realized that the Smalltown market for hardware is finite. True, it can be ramped up slightly by good selling and marketing … but essentially it does have a defined size.

Stuart Street-Smarts, owner of the “Yards 10” franchise hardware store, knows this. He knows that the Smalltown market for hardware products is around $2,000,000 – and he owns 60% of the market. Plus, he also knows that old Sam Davies, the proprietor of Sam’s Hardware, has around 20% – leaving only 20% or ($400,000) for the other three competitors… and the “Double D.”

Stuart said that Frank wouldn’t last any longer than six months, and he was right. When Stuart did his sums he figured that even if Frank could get 10% of the market – that’s only a turnover of $200,000 – he would make less than $20,000 profit after expenses. Well, Stuart used to pay Frank a salary of $40,000.

Simple example, but the moral of the story: Make sure that a genuine market exists before you dive into the business.

So, what do you do if you are faced with a “Frank” situation? Sell! Get the heck out before it’s too late. Take the money and invest in something more profitable.

Simple message: Your business is a money-making-machine. If it isn’t, your job is to fix it. If, after considerable effort, you don’t believe it’s fixable, sell it!

There is one more mistake … and it’s a biggie, so please note it well. It is: Failing to monitor the results of your marketing campaigns.

Most business leaders and owners have absolutely no idea of the success or otherwise of their advertisements and other marketing efforts. They just go on “gut feeling.” This is absolute lunacy. As a business leader, you should never, ever run a marketing campaign unless you have a way of monitoring the results.

It’s interesting to note the elaborate systems people put in to monitor their cash, their stock and their other valuables – yet, nothing to monitor their investment in marketing.

For those who say or think, “Just keep your name out there and you’ll get results”… take it from me, you’re dreaming! At best you’ll get deferred results of which you’ll never, ever know. And, just perhaps, you could have got much, much better results if you knew what worked and what didn’t.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2016. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler

 

 

13 Reasons Why Your Marketing Isn’t Soaring With The Eagles – Part 2

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Continued from last time – 5 more reasons – Why Your Marketing Isn’t Working…

You’re not persistent enough

Very rarely does any single marketing effort – one ad, one mailing, one promotion – produce a dramatic result. If you’ve got your two feet on the ground, you’ll look for long-term, solid, predictable returns.

Plan your marketing to produce realistic results, and rejoice when something works better than you expected.

Test your propositions (As a matter of fact, test everything).

And keep at it. Marketing is not a function that should be performed by the weak-at-heart, the impatient, or the imprudent.

You forget about the people who have bought from you before

It’s much cheaper, and often a lot easier, to sell to someone who has bought from you in the past – at least so long as it was a pleasant experience for the buyer – than it is to try to attract new customers.

So, why, oh why, do most businesses concentrate almost all their energies on trying to drum up new business?

Have you got something against the people who have bought from you, or used your services, before? Were they rude to you?

Then, why are you neglecting them?

Here’s the order in which you should be directing your marketing:
• Getting existing customers to buy more, and/or more often.
• Going back to people who have bought from you in the past and reactivating them.
• Enticing new customers.

You don’t get back to your customers often enough

See above, then consider this:

People need to be constantly reminded what you can do for them … how you can help them – at least every 90 days.
• Do you believe that it annoys your customers when you do this?
• Are you embarrassed about doing it?
• Don’t think it’s worth the effort? Think again.
You have to create a regular program for communicating with prospects and existing customers (don’t give them a chance to turn into “past” customers), and you have to keep it up until;

… they buy from you, or
… you have no option but to give them up as a lost cause.

You don’t move your customers up the loyalty ladder

Once someone has bought from you, and you have followed them up to make sure that everything involved with the sale went smoothly, then it’s time to move that person up the loyalty ladder.

If he or she has other problems to solve, and the money to solve them, you’re the man! (or woman, of course).

Every time you successfully conclude a deal with a customer, that customer grows a little closer to you, and becomes increasingly easy to sell things to. So, you keep moving him or her up the loyalty ladder:
• From a prospect to a customer,
• From a customer to a regular customer,
• From a regular customer to an advocate of your business…
• and from an advocate to a raving fan!

You don’t get to the point
The best marketing is simple, precise … and straight to the point. No beating around the bush. … no cutesy-cutesy pandering. You find out what the prospect’s problem is and, in the simplest, most direct terms, you tell the prospect how you’re going to solve that problem.

Marketing isn’t about art … it isn’t about winning literary or design awards.

Ultimately, it’s about selling – successfully, efficiently, and economically. Get to the point. Tell them why it’s in their best interests to pick up the phone right now and buy whatever you’re offering … before it’s too late. And the only way to do this is to tell them what’s in it for them.

And an extension of this issue is this:

Answer the “why” question.

If your product is higher priced than your competitors’, tell them why. If your product is better, tell them why. The more factual, credible and believable the reasons you give, the more likely they are to give you the business.

Consider this: I am the customer and I want to know … FAST!

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2016. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler

 

 

13 Reasons Why Your Marketing Isn’t Soaring With The Eagles – Part 1

Monday, July 11th, 2016

I’ll take it for granted that your product offering, price, and customer service, etc. are all at a standard which ensures your customers will be delighted with their purchases. However, before you can become an Elite Marketer dispensing Marketing Magic, there are two things you MUST do:

A) Resign yourself to the commercial reality that business is 90% marketing. As a business owner or manager, you must concentrate your efforts on getting your marketing tactics and implementation 100% right.

B) Know the basics of marketing. This is one area where rank amateurs abound, wallowing in blissful ignorance of the money they are needlessly squandering and the opportunities they are “burning.” Oh yes, the most dangerous animal in business is the amateur marketer.

Now to those 13 Reasons Why Your Marketing May Not Be Soaring With The Eagles – the first 3:

You don’t have a marketing plan

You must have a clear and very precise sales and profit objective – over any given period of time, but usually a year – for every one of your products and/or services.   Then you have to address the three specifics:

  • What are all the means available to you to reach your dollar objectives?
  • What marketing alternatives can you use, how can you use them, and how often should you use them?
  • How can you convert prospects to customers, and convince your existing customers to buy more, and/or more often?

You don’t know your customer

Hey, this violates the most fundamental rule of marketing: “Know Thy Customer”. You have to be customer-oriented.   Elite Marketers can give you chapter and verse on what their customer looks like. They have a mental image of the customers’ business, their age, sex, educational status, income levels, and other pertinent demographic information. They know their buying patterns, and they understand what makes them tick.   For now, ponder these two questions:

  • How does the successful marketer gather all this information about his/her customer?
  • Who is your customer? (If you can give an accurate answer to this question, congratulations… there are very few of your kind around.)

You don’t know what compels your customers to buy something

People don’t buy things because you want them to. They need their own reasons – very good reasons – to buy.   And you and your staff have to understand fully what these reasons and their motivations are, and then cater to them – as many of them as possible – in every marketing and selling situation… in every customer or potential customer contact … in everything you do.   People don’t buy products or services:

  • They buy benefits … benefits … benefits!
  • They buy solutions to their problems
  • They buy other people’s opinions of you, your business and your products
  • They buy credibility and believability
  • They buy your promises and guarantees (don’t ever let them down)
  • They buy your business and product “reliability”
  • They buy “value”… and, please, don’t confuse value with price
  • They buy certainty, honesty, convenience, and timeliness
  • They buy hope, comfort, success, wealth, security, love, and acceptance
  • They buy expectations of being pleased
  • They buy product selection options
  • They buy freedom from making a wrong buying decision
  • How many from this list can you line up against your product or service?

Let me ask you this simple question:   Why should I buy your product or service?   Come on … can you tell me right here and now why I should buy from you? (More on this next time)

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2016. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler

A Different Kind of Peer Networking

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Have you ever looked at your business from an outsider’s perspective?

A useful business analysis tool involves a Market Research process which includes calling a number of a businesses’ customers and suppliers to understand how they view the strengths and weaknesses of the business from their own unique perspective. This is often a very eye opening experience and provides a sound basis to work with a new client on.

Often the feedback is completely new to the client, sometimes it is something they are well aware of but never believed customers would notice!

This process can also be replicated by “Networking” with a group of your peers and allowing them a tour of your facility to review in their own minds what you are doing and how you go about your business.

This does not have to be limited to just the physical or operational aspects of your business, but can include your telephone answering, your staff’s presentation and manner, product presentation, signage, even the overall presentation of your facility.

Once the tour has been concluded you can ask each person to write down “three things they individually observe that you do really well, and three things that they believe are lacking or need attention and can be done better.” You can include a lunch to disseminate the feedback, critique key areas to focus on and brainstorm ideas for each other’s businesses. Maybe even schedule a follow up tour for the not too distant future to ensure that changes are actually being made and followed through on.

What a smart way to make practical use of all those mind-numbing, time-wasting networking functions that you feel obliged to attend!

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Start here to gain that competitive edge: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2014. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

We’ve Got to Stop Meeting This Way!

Monday, November 10th, 2014

A gifted and highly creative technician found himself running a business. To say that management presented a few challenges beyond the reach of even his vast technical skills, was an understatement, and one of those challenges was directing his previously free-flowing use of time in a way that would enable mere mortals to catch up with him.

Meetings were scheduled but often run without him because he had been called away, or been distracted by the opportunity to develop a new project, or simply been engrossed in creating the next wonder, and forgotten.

People sat around. First they’d fill in time chatting as they waited for him to turn up late – which he did, most of the time. If, after 15 minutes, he didn’t show, they attempted to make progress without him, but such was the depth of his knowledge and the breadth across which he had spread himself in the company, that very little could be achieved without his input – or approval.

If lesser mortals struggled to a solution in his absence, he would likely immediately see the shortcomings in their solution and countermand it. That fact not only rendered the time consumed in the meeting a complete waste, but it dismantled any budding initiative in the team and created more and more pressure on him to be everywhere at once.

Clearly this situation could not continue for long. There was a dawning appreciation of both the huge waste of time, energy and focus being generated by what boiled down to a lack of self-imposed boundaries on the boss’ behaviour.

Our hero developed some rules to live by:

1. Meetings keep the team in step, in touch and in tune.

2. We acknowledge that the duration of a meeting includes preparation, conduct, subsequent action, and the time it takes us to get back to what we were doing before.

3. We honor each others’ time and their need for focus – we use meetings when there is no more efficient option.

4. We acknowledge the meeting investment and we diligently seek a real return.

5. We honor others by turning up, and apologize immediately, and in advance, for our absence.

6. We turn up on time. Being late is not only discourteous, it’s expensive.

7. We run GOLD meetings:

a. Goals – simple sentences, shared with everyone before we start: what we want or need to be different at the end of the meeting.

b. Obstacles, Opportunities and Options – they are what we are there to discuss.

c. Learning – if we need to know something to achieve our goals, it may be delivered at the meeting, or we gain clarity on where to find it afterwards.

d. Decisions – An agenda item is only complete when we decide on a course of action to advance it, and someone present, to carry it out.

8. We honor the decisions made in all meetings to which we are a party, including those to which we were invited but missed.

Sounds like a plan. How about using them yourself?

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Serious about growth? Check out the complimentary assessment: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2014. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

Successfully Driving the Bus

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

A business is a “vehicle” in a very real sense, in that it was probably built at the outset to get to a “desired destination”, whether that destination was (or still is) financial security, the freedom of being your own boss, or creative self-expression. It is fascinating how far you can stretch the analogy, and still draw useful lessons from it.

The dashboard is a collection of indicators designed to feed you a range of important information about your vehicle. In your business, do you have an old-fashioned fuel gauge (current bank statement) that tells you how much is left in the tank? Or a more sophisticated trip computer that provides information on remaining fuel (account balance); distance to the next three fuel stations (aged debtor analysis); current and expected fuel consumption (cashflow analysis and projection); and reserve tank reading (additional funds available for business use? Do you have a map in the glove box that provides some indication on the territory you are planning to cover (basic business plan) or are you just driving around hoping that you will stumble on a good place to settle down?

Or have you upgraded to a GPS system for pin-point accurate information about your present position and an up to the minute picture of what lies ahead?

When Dashboards Go Bad

Enron was in the news because its principal officers engaged “creative accounting” that drove their business onto the rocks. Their folly was thinking that if you rigged the dials on the dash to say otherwise, no one would notice that the engine had run out of fuel. What sort of fumes were leaking into the cabin for them to lose that much contact with reality?

Another public company issued information to investors that had little bearing on the company’s true position. The CEO proclaimed, “We grew the business quicker than our back office systems could handle – they stopped giving us accurate, timely information about just where we were, and it took us a while to realize that things were going wrong.”

Have Your Outgrown Your Dashboard?

Now a lot of Small to Medium Enterprises face similar challenges: A lousy dashboard – an absence of accurate, timely information about the key indicators of their business health; outdated systems.

Michael Gerber (The E-Myth Revisited) says that “most small business owners are technicians who’ve suffered an entrepreneurial seizure,” but one suspects that many, eventually go beyond their ability to fly by the seat of their pants.

You then come across them in various situations: Hitching a ride with an empty gas can or flat tire in hand; or lying in the mud trying to do a repair on old parts that have long since ceased to work; or scattered spectacularly across the countryside, having taken a chunk out of their suppliers in the crash. Or you encounter the ones who realized in time the need to invest in upgrading the dashboard of their business – and to take a few advanced driving lessons while they’re at it (management training, coaching, business advice from a trusted advisor).

They’re the ones who tend to pull out into the fast lane, looking very relaxed, and pass their competition as though standing still.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Start here to gain that competitive edge: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2014. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.