Well – for one – that the key to getting what you want is to be more interested in changing the processes that produced the result than in over-analyzing the result!
Each time I visit a business, it becomes clearer and clearer that getting the processes that produce value right is a great driver of sustainable business growth. And as a customer you know when the processes are working that keep you as a customer because firstly you WANT to return because of the experiences. And secondly, you have been asked (either directly or indirectly) to return over and over again.
I like businesses where the focus is on creating processes that deliver experiences to the client or customer that make it both logical and emotionally attractive for these clients to remain clients. This means that businesses can move away from “HAVING to get new customers” because the old ones have gone.
The old ones may have gone because the experience delivered was not great – or – and very commonly – because there was no process in place to “keep” them as customers.
If your (planned) marketing and sales activities are aimed solely at getting new customers – then you are both doing it the hard way AND leaving a lot of cash on the table.
I will be producing articles on how to multiply the sales from your existing customers over the coming weeks – so be sure to subscribe to our Newsletter.
For a great basics of Quality Improvement article visit: http://tweakyourbiz.com/management/2012/08/24/what-w-edwards-deming-knew-about-continuous-quality-improvement-that-you-still-dont/
Lately I have felt like doing more marketing. Not sure why – maybe it was being briefly lured into the marketing side of politics.
So – what is YOUR marketing doing for you lately? Do you have a workable definition of ‘marketing’? One that makes you money consistently?
Rather than talk about all the fascinating stuff that can be said about business marketing – how about if I just dump a usable definition on you – and we just get to the good stuff? Ok? Here is a simple one I made up:
So it is pretty broad. And we will break it up into usable pieces shortly.
First – a brief excursion into the word “client”. For me it is a superior word than customer – because for some reason I have adopted the definition of a client as being “one under the protection/guidance of another”. You can see how you will treat your clients differently if you believe they are ‘under your protection’. It also infers that I look after the interests of my clients at a higher priority than my own profits. This has many further implications – but you can drill down into your own business world and determine the short and long term effects of this philosophy. And there are levels of clients – you get more protection and guidance from me as a full coaching client than you as a reader of my newsletter [yes – you can subscribe right now for FREE].
Right now if you are already in business – you have clients or customers. Unless you are still in business kindy – and that is ok because there are not many things to learn and do to graduate (you had best call me for a coaching session – you will know the importance of having a list of your customers. Plus you will have an efficient method of contacting them regularly.
Why is this a graduation test for business kindy? Well – because the most valuable marketing comes after they become a client/customer. It is after that time that we get repeat business, referrals, larger orders, and so on. If your product or service is so shoddy that you are ashamed or afraid to contact a customer after their first purchase – then that is the start of your marketing program. ie Either make your product or service decent or do something different – fast.
If you have a restaurant and your food quality is inconsistent – fix that before you increase the number of new diners you bring in. In business, the numbers do not usually add up nicely when there is only one purchase ever. The lifetime value is too low. Read this Marketing Article About New Customers.
Just accept for now that getting NEW customers needs to be followed by other marketing that keeps them as clients – because that is how businesses thrive. That later marketing might just be great service – or a lot more.
This week my favourite lead generation method is the internet. I have been looking and studying and testing and measuring – and a recent change in the way that people search for services and products is where I would start. Obviously I am talking about Google. In particular what was called “google maps”, but is now “Google Local Search”.
First I came to see the blindingly obvious – and then after a few hundred hours of study and testing I worked out how to quickly and predictably get right at the top of Google Local Search Results.
Watch the video below to see what I would be doing if I was a professional, tradesperson or service provider here in Townsville, and I want to get more than my share of customers from the “internet”.
To make this marketing for Townsville local businesses video easier to watch – please click the full screen button in the bottom right corner of the player.
One of my favourite stereotypes is the “Pony-tailed Advertising Genius”. Back in the eighties and nineties when the big advertising agencies were pumping out the great jingles about margarine (you orta be congratulated) and football (up there cazaly, simply the best) and so on – the marketing types generally had pony tails, odd clothes, and lunch boxes disguised as briefcases.
They specialized in producing the MONSTER ad campaigns for the mass market, and mixed in the mass of absolute money wasting bollocks produced some great results for their clients. Those apparent wins for big spending clients led to the belief that the way to build a huge business was mostly about getting a “pony-tailed” ad meister to produce a commercial that just made people line up outside your business and demand to come and give you money. Or at least to buy lots of your stuff from wherever it was sold.
Today – if you go out and ask most business owners what the best way to predictably and profitably double their sales and triple their profits – over 90% will still say to get a really powerful advertising program going.
What they wont say is that “Well – if my business was a bucket, the best way to increase profits is to stop the customers sloshing out of the top and through the leaks in the bucket.” Or “Well, the easiest sell is to sell more to an existing customer, or to invite a customer who has slipped out of the bucket and become “inactive” to come back. Both are more predictably profitable than hunting for NEW customers.”
When I was at University, I studied Science. In one subject – “Organic Chemistry” – we had to synthesize chemicals. The very first step was to know what the chemical we wanted to finish up was going to be. Now it sounds absurd, but much advertising is done without first working out what we specifically wan the outcome to be.
Ok – the goal is to increase sales. That is the equivalent of being told to make a chemical with some carbon in it.
Ok – the goal is to get more customers to come into the store and buy stuff. Better – but not specific enough.
Ok – the goal is to get more than 20 new customers to come into the store, spend at least $100 and we get their names and addresses. Better.
Ok – the goal is to get more than 20 new customers who need what we sell more than twice a year, live within 10k’s of the store, spend at least $100, we get their names/details. Better again.
If we were to go with the first goal – we could easily be sucked into the vortex of “general advertising”. Each time we add detail to the people we are targeting – the easier it gets to talk to them in a way they enjoy. Eg if we know that we only want people near the store – not a lot point doing national adverts or regional TV.
Constructing an advertising campaign is just like synthesizing a compound chemical – the more you know about what you want to finish with – the more predictably we can choose that to “do” and also to “not do”.
Another view of advertising that the more we try to create a message that “suits everyone”, the more likely we are to create a super-bland, non-specific mush that has no impact and suits “no one”.
And back to the idea of growing your business – advertising for new customers has a place in a promotional or marketing campaign – but remember that is is most expensive and least predictable way to increase your profits. Unless you don’t have any customers at all. And when you do advertise – it needs to be driven by science and maths – not by a “creative” genius with a pony tail. Great advertising is creative, and also strategic with particular goals in mind.
All right – I do wish I still had enough hair for a decent pony tail. But I am also glad that Business and Science share the same structures – and there is a lot of fun and profit to be had in both disciplines.
Marketing and Advertising, Townsville
You already will have heard the statistics on business failure. The statistics vary, depending which source you are reading from. For simplicity, let’s just trust the data provided by Dunn & Bradstreet – who are business credit providers and who do “research” to keep their PR machines churning along.
According to D&B “Businesses with fewer than 20 employees have only a 37% chance of surviving 4 years (of business)
and only a 9% chance of surviving 10 years.”
“Of these failed businesses, only 10% of them close involuntarily due to bankruptcy and the remaining 90% close because the business was not successful, did not provide the level of income desired or was too much work for their efforts.”
Other general statistics that get thrown around include this gem [also from Dunn&B]:
“Nine out of ten business failures in the United States are caused by a lack of general business management skills and planning.”
D&B divide the failing groups in to two sets, labelled “catastrophic failure and general lack of success. Catastrophic failures are the primary result of economic factors. According to D&B, over 75% of those businesses that cite economic factors as a reason for failure, indicate that a lack of profits is the primary reason. Catastrophic failures also result from the death of a partner, fire, fraud, burglary and “acts of God”.
D&B say that statistically 88.7% of all business failures are due to management mistakes.
Here is a summary list of the 12 leading management mistakes that lead to business failures:
TOP 12 REASONS [From D&B]
1. Going into business for the wrong reasons
2. Advice from family and friends
3. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time
4. Entrepreneur gets worn-out and/or underestimated the time requirements
5. Family pressure on time and money commitments
7. Lack of market awareness
8. The entrepreneur falls in love with the product/business
9. Lack of financial responsibility and awareness
10. Lack of a clear focus
11. Too much money
A Summary Table – Causes of Business Failure
1) Incompetence. 46% of failures. [Includes emotional pricing, living too high for the business, nonpayment of taxes, no knowledge of pricing, lack of planning, no knowledge of financing, no experience in
record-keeping or lack of understanding.]
2) Unbalanced Experience. 30% of failures. [Includes poor credit granting
or lack of managerial practices, experience excessive bad debts, expansion too rapid, inadequate borrowing practices.]
4) Lack of Experience. 11% of failures. [Includes carry inadequate inventory, line of goods or services, no knowledge of suppliers, wasted advertising budget.]
5) Neglect, fraud, disaster. 1% of failures.[Source: “Business Failures Rise in Nearly Every Industry Sector in First Half of 1997,” Dun & Bradstreet – News, Views and Trends.]
Business Success Is Not
You have just read the appalling stats on what happens in the majority of businesses.
There is another – more hopeful – statistic from D&B – a study showed that:
“over 90% of small businesses were still in business after five years IF they had the help of a Small Business Development Center (SBDC) or other expert assistance.” [The SBDC is the US version of bodies like Dept of State Development here in QLD.]
Or Just Read One Decent Book!
There are other stats that say that if business owners attend even one business education seminar, or course – or even read some decent business books – that chance of survival massively improve.
Lack of Skills & Planning Equals Lack of Profits
Another clear point is of all the business failures – 75% were put down to lack of profits as the primary reason by the business owners.
The researchers then said that 90% of failures were due to lack of management skills and planning.
So which comes first? Lack of skills and planning or lack of profits? Does this remind you of the saying that “failing to plan is really planning to fail.”