It's day one and you've made a few sales - Great! A week rolls by and you are loving every minute of being your own boss.
It's week two and you get your first return - bummer! The business cards you ordered haven't arrived, the advertisement in the local newspaper has the wrong phone number, the emails are piling up, you have phone messages to check, your assistant hasn't sent your thank you cards to your new clients and so on. You are starting to feel a little insane - here's where the breakdown starts.
The breakdown seems to occur as business owners get wrapped up in the day to day business and forget about the most important parts of their dream - growth and profits.
The last thing they want to think about is the very activity that will add to growth and profits - "Is my Marketing effective this month?"
Why is that?
A recent survey completed by RSC Business Group Inc., Toronto showed that over 80% of small to medium-sized businesses didn't even use any Media type advertising but rather depended on Networking, referrals and one-to-one marketing.
It's too expensive for your business to depend on this labour-intensive type of marketing only. Why is it that these businesses as resorting to this?
Businesses are just complicating Marketing! Direct Mail, Email, Newspaper, Postcards, Yellow Pages, Billboards etc. are just vehicles to market your message but the "process" will always be the same and it's simple.
Learn the process and just fill in the blanks with the type of vehicle you will use to test your message.
Businesses today are bombarded with different vehicles that promise spectacular results and have become blind to the "process". The result - a backward approach to Marketing (starting with the vehicle), being overwhelmed with their options, leading to paralysis and concluding with putting it off to a day when your not reacting to problems. Them the cycle starts again.
How did business owners get educated that this is the right approach to Marketing? One theory is that the first point of contact into Marketing for business owners are advertising agents. How could these agents be wrong? Didn't they go to school for this? Don't they work for reputable companies? Yes and Yes!
Ad Agencies are businesses too and they have common interests like you - growth and profits. They achieve this by creating masterpieces that win awards and trying to funnel as many small businesses through their door.
To deal with volume Ad agents often advise businesses that they just need to copy Ads from their competitors - most often the competitors have ineffective ads themselves.
So now you've spent your annual budget on this beautiful ad in print, just as beautiful as your competitors and you feel you're getting great exposure but what's your measurable result?
I have nothing against Advertising agents but it's not the right environment for Small and Medium Businesses with limited budgets.
OK! So What is Marketing Afterall?
What I am going to reveal is going to flip everything on it's head, it's going to challenge everything you have been told by advertising agents and you will be lead to say "That'll never work in my type of business!"
Marketing's function is only the creation of new prospects. It turns individuals that don't know about you (strangers) into people that know you (prospects). It does this by a variety of means with no intention that they will buy what you offer.
The Best Cancun Sales Pitch
A great demonstration of this was when I was on a recent trip to Cancun, Mexico. I was approached by an individual by the pool side in my 5 Star resort offering me a all-day free cruise on a 30 foot sailboat to a nearby island where I can shop, I would be given an opportunity to snorkel, we'd close off the day with some para-sailing and a local buffet on the island.
Wow! All this for free? There had to be a catch. I was told no and that it was compliments of the resort and given to all it's patrons staying with them.
The day was more than amazing and I was at an emotional high - I along with the other 30 patrons on board felt like royalty - like high-rollers. There was a catch though but not as evident as I saw being done at other 5 star resorts.
Right through the trip the staff talked about treatments given to patrons that were part owners at the resort and about new land that was purchased to accommodate these owners. WE were told of all the great feature and benefits of becoming these new owners. They didn't hard sell us but rather just talked casually as though it were information that we may find valuable if we decided to buy.
I didn't buy a timeshare with them but they must have closed at least 30% of the patrons on that sailboat. It was a win-win for everyone at the end of the day. Better than being stuck in a boardroom and walking out with a bottle of Tequila after saying no to a hard-sale pitch.
There was no intention that the people on the boat had to buy and there was no talk about numbers. Those that were interested were asked to follow the staff back to the VIP Members area to work out the Timeshare - those were the prospects they were looking for.
Marketing is just that: getting strangers to raise their hand as say "tell me more..."
In the next edition we will go over the Marketing Process in more detail and some effective ways to turn strangers into prospects.