Focus On These Three Areas For Growth

Find out what is most important to the people who buy your product or service

You have heard this before in our newsletters. First is the need to make sure you really understand what is important to those who buy your product or service. Now this may sound obvious, but it determines what you need to say, and how you need to say it; so that prospects will hear what they need to hear in order to feel comfortable buying from you.

It is very easy to assemble a group of internal people around a table for a couple of hours and let the group talk itself into just about anything. Throw in a little office politics, and a race horse turns into the proverbial camel. But the only thing that really matters is what the people who write the checks think, your customers, so that makes it critical that we look at our business through the eyes of our customers and prospects.

Most important, beyond determining what your prospects actually value, it drives how you should spend your marketing budget. We have worked with many clients who spend an alarming amount of money without determining how productive their investment really is.

We have found that in many cases the most effective way to reach prospects has changed, and that has actually meant spending less for even better results! I have one example where we advised our client to spend 30% less (think $1 million) and their revenue increased 20%. They were previously spending money doing what was considered the industry norm.

Pick the low hanging fruit first!

Second is an appreciation of an extremely valuable and often ignored asset your existing customer base. This is the first place we look when working with a new client. We want to know right away if all the low-hanging fruit is being picked, and that this high-potential asset is being fully mined. The programs we use to get immediate results for clients are the most cost-effective you can run, and yet they yield the highest ROI.

The good news is that, while these programs require some thought and strategy in putting them together, they can be remarkably inexpensive over the long term because they are so focused and targeted. We are big boosters of simply providing the information prospects tell us they need to hear over a period of time to help them feel comfortable buying our clients product or service. The goal is to gain their continued business, both repeat and cross-sell. Of course, it has to be done in a believable and compelling way. It also has to be true!

The whole should be greater than the sum of the parts

Third is the importance of leveraging your marketing investment through an integrated, comprehensive marketing strategy that ties together everything you are doing for the betterment of the whole. Simply stated, we see too many dollars spent without looking at what the cumulative impact is. Because of this, instead of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts like it should be, it ends up being far less.

This should include an overall branding and positioning strategy in which each and every marketing dollar you spend complements the overall objectives of your company. The bigger you are, often the more difficult it is to make sure everyone is working together as a team on the same page.

Departments and divisions don’t talk with each other, or actually compete in poorly structured measurement systems. The smaller you are, the more difficult it is to get away from all the fires you are putting out daily to do some quality thinking to see the forest through the trees. The price of operating this way is enormous in real and relative terms.

Posted by John Harden  May 8th, 2009

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