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Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

How to get results and value from your marketing spend (and everything else)

Last year we conducted a survey of professional services firms, to find out about their experiences of effective, and ineffective, marketing.  Marketing has long been an area where businesses struggle to understand the real impact of their activities, and spend.  We wanted to know what makes a difference to that.  As a result we have developed a whitepaper that we offer at our website at no charge to help professional firms get the best value from their marketing spend.

The survey explored a range of areas including planning, targeting, use of expertise, types of activity and opinions of effectiveness.  The results were interesting – predictable in some areas and not in others.  It was no surprise to find that overall, respondents considered paid media (newspapers, radio, television) advertising to be least effective.  Perhaps more surprising was that the number was twice that of the next ‘least effective’ category – being tradeshows. 

On the other hand, the overwhelmingly most effective method of advertising was considered to be ‘word-of-mouth’.  

The survey explored marketing as a whole though, and not just the advertising aspect.  We explored whether respondents had a strategic plan that directed their marketing effort, and whether or not they used marketing expertise.  In most cases those with a plan also used marketing expertise, although the data was not able to tell us whether they had a plan because of a marketing presence in the firm, or whether the developing of the plan had resulted in recognition and acquisition of marketing skills.

Nonetheless, there were three key differences in those firms that had a strategic plan in place.  They were:

  1. Twice as many respondents who had a strategic plan reported that inviting prospective clients to events, lunch etc was cost-effective, as compared to the respondents overall.
  2. Three times as many respondents from firms with a strategic plan reported that  providing informative copy, press releases or articles for mainstream media was cost-effective compared to the respondents overall.
  3. Those with a strategic plan had a larger quantity of effective methods than those without.

Most activities are more likely to be effective where they are well-targeted, whether that’s marketing, investment, human resources or production.  Logically, it must be easier to achieve with a clear plan.

As a result of this survey we have produced a white paper titled ‘Find More Clients With Less Effort, and Get Better Value from Your Marketing Budget’.  This whitepaper is available at no cost from our website – http://www.strategies-direct.com.  It sets out how to target your marketing activity with a clear strategy, so that your firm can be sure you are gaining new clients from your marketing spend.  The whitepaper is available now for a limited time.

Categories: Business and Strategy

From the “I wish I’d thought of that” file –

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Most of my business mail is, frankly, quite boring.  Same old brochures. Same old advertising.  But now and again someone comes up with something really different, creative and intriguing.  Something I want to read, and due to it’s novelty value, I am highly likely to remember.  Today I received some mail like that from the progressive team at Zeald.

When I opened their envelope, the card inside, made from light brown paper, featured the words ‘Plant the Seed.  Harvest the Result.’  It wasn’t the accompanying picture of the plant that was so clever it was what was inside – a small pot shaped paper embedded with basil seeds.  The instructions told me to plant under a thin layer of soil, water and soon the seedlings will emerge.  The card was a thank you to all the clients of Zeald for the referrals they’ve received during the year, with instructions on how to make future referrals and receive a 5% commission on any resulting sales.

I have to congratulate the team at Zeald.  It’s a novel idea and definitely goes in my “I wish I’d thought of that” file.  Not only have I read all the messages but there’s a high chance I will remember them too.  So there’s a high chance I will talk about it (and here I am doing just that) and actually make referrals.

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Most effective ways to get new clients revealed

A new survey is finding out about the experiences of professional services firms in getting new clients, and the results will show processes that are working, those that are more cost-effective and those that might be a waste of your resources.  Despite the much touted fact that selling further services to existing clients is more cost-effective than obtaining new ones, the reality is that every business needs a steady stream of new clients.  If you could find out the most cost-effective methods to acquire new clients, you could save precious marketing budget ‘experimenting’.  Competitors are unlikely to directly share what’s working for them, but wouldn’t it be great to know?   Those who complete the survey can opt to receive the results.

For a whole variety of reasons, every business loses clients over time.  Some of the reasons could be –

  • You have succeeded or completed the work, and the client no longer requires your service
  • Client has moved to a competitor due to their specialization, marketing, service, price or some other reason
  • Client personally knows someone who has just set up in competition and transfers
  • Client has decided to do it themselves – perhaps employing in-house
  • Client’s business has grown or changed and they require services you don’t offer or specialize in
  • Client is unhappy with your service and leaves

No matter the reasons and how you respond to these, it’s essential to regularly replace these clients to maintain your business.  This is a critical function of your strategic thinking and planning.  The block many professional services firms face, is understanding really what’s working in the sector.  It’s very easy to waste resources spending time and money developing and implementing strategies that, had you understood the experiences of others in the industry, you would have steered clear of.  It’s logical to share what’s working within a sector, and what’s not working, but most firms are reluctant to share this directly with competitors.  Most are especially reluctant to openly admit what hasn’t worked.  Also, what’s worked in other professional services sectors who are attracting similar clients, could also work for you.

The survey has been developed to find out, anonymously, what’s working and what hasn’t been cost-effective or good use of resources for professional services firms.  It’s short and can be completed in just a few minutes.  On the final page there is a web address that you can go to and opt to receive the results.  The survey closes at the end of October and can be accessed at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/professionalfirmsnewclients

 

 

Here’s how to niche

Many business owners are reluctant to select a niche to focus on, fearing that it will reduce their potential client base, and result in less sales.  Last week, while on holiday, I witnessed first-hand a company using a very specific niche to their advantage, and really making it work.  So how did they do it?

We decided to take the children to Auckland for a night to use a credit that was about to expire on our travel club membership.  We were looking for a good deal for a family and the best one we could find was at Jet Park Airport Hotel in Mangere.  The main reason we chose it was that it offered free parking, which made it more cost-effective for us than some others, plus we could get a free shuttle to and from the airport – a novelty for the children.

Jet Park Hotel have chosen the domestic air traveler as their niche market.  Everything in the hotel and their packages is set up for this.  Everyone staying there is entitled to a shuttle both to and from the airport and if you stay one night or more, you can park on their property for up to 14 days!  The hotel is not situated as close to the airport as many others, but is in a mixed area of industrial and residential properties.  It is not a particularly salubrious area, but Jet Park have developed a competitive advantage that allows their strategy to work – they have used the lower cost of land at their location to allow the free parking benefit for all their customers.  The hotel is set back off the road down a long driveway, and alongside it runs empty fields they have turned into carparking.

Given the cost of parking your vehicle anywhere else close to the airport, the free parking is a massive advantage to domestic travelers with vehicles and also for those attending conferences and training in the rooms they have available for businesses.  Niching in this way allows the hotel to target everything they do.  They market directly to national air travelers.  The reception staff clarify at check-in when you need a wake-up call for your flight, and when you need to book the shuttle.  There’s some other nice touches too, like a small indoor and outdoor play area for younger children, a pool to cool off in over summer, a small library if you want to borrow a book, and complimentary fruit and mints throughout the hotel.

The interesting thing is that we chose the hotel even though we were not air travelers.  The free parking made it a good deal for us, and we used the shuttle as a bonus activity with our children.  We went to the airport viewing lounge and watched some international flights arrive and depart, and had a snack at the food halls.  I’m sure we are not the only ones outside their targeted niche that choose that hotel because the benefits are valued by others, as well as the niche.

Of course the Jet Park won’t suit everyone.  Some travelers will prefer to be on the airport campus, and others will prefer to stay in the central city or other parts of the city.  But no hotel will suit everyone.  By selecting a niche and serving that niche very well, the Jet Park Hotel has made its marketing activities easier to select and target, as well as how it trains its staff, sets up the hotel, manages add-ons etc.  While we were there the hotel appeared to be very busy, and the award-winning restaurant seemed well patronized.  The shuttle was non-stop collecting and dropping passengers to and from the airport.

So how can you apply this idea of serving a niche to your own business?  Can you break down your customers or target market and serve one or two niches really well?  Do you do that already?  Are you ‘dominating’ that niche? How does this streamline your business activities like marketing, customer service, product and service development and staff training?  How do the services and add-ons you offer for your niche benefit others and grow your business?

How to make your business strategy easy to implement

How to make your business strategy easy to implement

Heard about not putting your eggs in one basket? That might work for investments, but if you want to make it easy to implement your strategy, put your business in one basket ie niche! Once you stop selling to everyone, and define your market, it becomes easy to target your marketing and achieve success. Calico the Strategy Cat recommends you get your free report “How to think strategically” to find out more….click on Calico to access the report

Categories: Business and Strategy

Royal Baby Arrival A Model for New Strategy

The whole world it seems is waiting to hear the news. What will it be? How will the details be announced? Wouldn’t it be great if your staff and customers paid the same attention to your new strategy announcement? So what can you take from this event and apply to your next strategy or marketing review and subsequent PR campaign?

  • Create a romantic, or at least really interesting, background story. The royal birth started with the royal romance, royal wedding and so forth. Try to create a story that will capture the interest of your stakeholders.
  • Set the trend. Do something new that others will want to follow. Much of the media anticipation around the royal birth is fuelled by the desire of a portion of the public to copy the royal name, pram, clothes and everything else they choose. If you have followers who want what you produce or want to copy what you do, then while the ‘dailies’ might not be interested, your database, facebook fans and twitter followers may well be.
  • Create anticipation. The late arrival of the royal baby has added to the media and public interest. If you can create anticipation about your announcements, you will get more attention and more interest.
  • Don’t be entirely predictable. There is much blogging and discussion about how the royal baby arrival, weight and name will be announced and when. Will there be the traditional posting of a notice on the gates of Buckingham Palace, or will it be announced via Twitter, or both? If you always use the same methods to announce your important news to staff or other stakeholders, they are likely to get bored and cynical. Keep them guessing and add an element of surprise!

Jenni offers a free report ‘How to think strategically’ at her website www.strategies-direct.com

I am SO over video

Maybe it’s just me  – I am so OVER trying to get information from videos.  Sorry marketers, but I just don’t have time to be forced to sit through all the blah-blah-blah at the beginning and wait many minutes until I get the piece I want.  Give me an article anyday.  I can skim read, find the piece I need, and move on. 

I’ve debated a long time, if and how, to include video in my marketing and training offering.  So far I’ve stalled, mainly because I just don’t like it myself.  But maybe I am out of step here – maybe everyone else LOVES video.  Certainly YouTube has more than proven itself – although I suspect its biggest uptake is people watching funny stuff rather than people trying to get a specific piece of information in a business context.

But maybe the tide is changing.  Yesterday I received an e-mail from an internet marketer who has been doing everything on video (so I have no idea what the products are because I haven’t watched any!).  I noted with interest he had added after the subject  – ‘Article’ –  in brackets.  I’m just guessing – but I suspect his open rates are down.

How about you?  Are you more or less inclined to click through if you know it’s a video?

Categories: Uncategorized
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