Monthly Archives: June 2009

Routes to new business

New business image

 

Keeping existing customers happy is the key to long term mutually beneficial and profitable business relationships. But if you are either a/ unable to, b/ on a growth curve or c/ starting up, you need to hunt for new customers.

It isn’t complicated – like anything else it takes targeting, understanding, planning and lots of time.  Some things to consider (from 13 years in the game):

1. Mass marketing is dead, especially in b2b. Work on your strengths – go after niches that you excel in (and which are profitable).

2. Telemarketing and leafleting are dead. Create a dialogue and relationships. Build up a value proposition in the mind of your prospect before you try and sell to them. Offer free whitepapers, downloads, presentations, my page logins and blogs to inspire them and give them reassurance in your expertise.

3. Ask for recommendations and referrals from your customers – you’ll be amazed at doors which may be flung open for you.

4. Use brokers/middlemen to find you ways in – agencies use people like RAR who have a list of marketers with outsourcing requirements. (It only gets expensive when you land a client!)

5. Read your news – people who are spending, setting up pitches and looking for help invariably talk about it in industry press, online and on their sites.

6. Network – use referral exchange networks, Chamber of Commerce, CIM and other industry groups/trade associations in your sector as appropriate.

7. Throughout it all, listen to them, talk their language and talk about them – not about yourself, how great you are, how all your big name clients love you, how you won all those awards.

Above all, learn – you won’t win every time but refine every time and you’ll inevitably get closer to winning new customers.

The dangers of celebrity endorsement

katieprice ibizaCelebrities. Apparently we love them. Can’t get enough of them. We buy what they wear, crave what they eat, and holiday where they live. That’s what big media tells us anyway.

As a brand owner though, you need to think very long and very hard about aligning your brand to a celebrity as it will be forever linked with that celebrity if they have a moment of madness. Years and years of calculated brand building undone in a second.

Exhibit A: Kerry Katona and Iceland. Original ‘I’m a Celebrity’ winner, Mum of the Year….and maniac. Shifted loads of mini sausage rolls but do we need to say anymore?

Exhibit B: Carphone Warehouse (TalkTalk) and Big Brother. They had a long and successful sponsor agreement with Big Brother / Celebrity Big Brother up until they put Jade Goody and co in a room with Shilpa Shetty and a bucket load of alcopops. As we all know, 3 parts alcohol, and 1 part uncultured brain cell spell disaster.

Exhibit C: Kiddicare sponsoring ‘Katie & Peter’ on ITV2. Quite why a well known and trusted family brand of 30+ years standing would choose to associate themselves with a couple who have made a living out of their tit-for-tat arguing and shameless self promotion is anyone’s guess. Probably them being at certain points Mum and Dad of the Year awards had some sway. But now a very public separation, a ‘trial by redtop’ and drunken Tweets have left an unsavoury end to their union with custody of the children to be deemed in the courts and Kiddicare wishing they’d gone elsewhere.

Exhibit D: Ronaldo. Signs a whopping deal to promote Nike and then moves to Real Madrid who are sponsored as a unit by Adidas. Ronaldo will be covered in Adidas all season long. Doh! And apparently nobody saw it coming…

If you’re going to go down the celebrity endorsement route, there are encyclopedias on how to do it, but for now follow these simple steps and you’ll set off down the right path:

1. Are you targeting b2c or b2b?

2. What sort of promotion do you want – lifestyle vs professional?

3. What are your brand values? What does a celebrity need to embody to carefully promote your brand?

4. Are you looking at a short term promotional campaign (Nintendo DS ads) or a long term campaign (e.g. Gary Lineker and Walkers)?

5. What are their other work and sponsorship arrangements?

These are far from exhaustive but will get you thinking more seriously about your sponsorship relationships and use of celebrities.

It’s about customers, stupid!

Calculator & newspaper
You’re great. You manufacture breakfast cereals, design and build performance cars, distribute shredders, provide legal services, sell advertising space – whatever it is. It’s brilliant and all your customers need convincing of it until they conceed to your sales efforts and buy one.

But there is a change taking place. You’ve probably read about it but haven’t modernised. Customers have the power, the choice and have needs to be fulfilled and pain to be soothed and taken away.

But where on your website do you address your customers’ points of pain and explain how you might help remove their pain?

Where in your brochures, sales collateral, invitations, mailing letters, emails and renewals do you layout your understanding of that unique customer’s business?

Do you take a generic approach to communications and say the same thing to all your customers and prospects?

Worse, do you talk about yourself and how great you are?

Are all your sales and marketing materials talking all about you, who you work with, what you offer, the awards you’ve won, how much money you make, how many people you employ and how many offices you have?

If so, bad news. Most of your customers don’t care about any of that. And you’re loosing ground.

Your customers care about their customers, what they can offer them, what awards they could win, how much money they can make and how to keep their talented workforce in jobs in very challenging economic times.

Scores of books have been written which talk about insight and understanding for a reason. Its how you differentiate yourself from other suppliers. Yes, it can be tough, time and cost heavy but you have to understand their needs, their pain and how you can add value to their business before you even begin selling.

Here’s your challenge: TODAY read the copy on your website and your nice shiny expensive brochure and had thousands printed on nice glossy stock. While you’re at it, have a look at the letters you send out to prospects you want to work with. This is the first thing they see. Ask yourself this question:

Are you out to help them or help yourself?

Newsflash: helping yourself in this new economy will kill you.

Being an assassin isn’t as scary as it sounds

Gun & blood

The Marketing Assassin.

What’s that all about then? Sounds a bit severe. Bit scary even. Like there is some pain involved.

Actually the premise is simple, rewarding AND relatively pain free. 

Times are tough. Businesses the world over are struggling. People are losing their jobs (trust me I know!) and their homes. Those that are keeping their jobs have less money than before as cost rise on staples like fuel and food.

The only effective way of getting out of this mess is by working harder, working smarter, adding value and being unique.

The intention of this blog is to bluntly cut through the hype and the bullsh*t that encases the once noble art of marketing and help people do the simple things right to ensure their businesses hit upturn as quickly as possible and we all get back to making a good living from what we’re good at.

Sound good?

Jump over to my first post then and change your thinking today: ’2. Its about customers, stupid’.

Hello world!

pennies (bond blog)

Welcome to the Marketing Assassin’s blog. Read more about why I’m writing this on the About page. Hopefully in bookmarking this blog, you’ll take some inspiration and advice to assassinate bad marketing in your business and make every penny count.