Three Big Marketing Mistakes that Business Owners Make and How to Fix Them Before You Lose More Money

Starting with tactics and not prospects

If your prospects do not use Facebook then investing in Facebook is a waste of time and money. In order to get the best return on your marketing dollars, you need to know your target market so well that you know which marketing tactics will work best to reach them. So many business owners who are making strategic marketing decisions do not have a clear profile of who their ideal client is and how to best connect with them.

Selecting a tactic without a plan

Just because you have a great ideal client profile and have selected a marketing tactic to reach those prospects doesn’t mean your “campaign” will work without a well thought out plan. You need to think broader and deeper beyond the tactic if you want your marketing to provide you with the best return on your resources. Marketing providers don’t really help you beyond the tactic they sell.

Staying with a tactic without numbers

This is a real problem with most business owners. They have several tactics that they are using and they are getting enough business to keep them busy. The problem is that they really don’t know what is working and what is costing them money. Even if you ask your marketing provider to provide you some results, often the numbers that they provide do not translate into meaningful numbers that relate to your business.

Steps to fix these three mistakes

  1. Create an Ideal Client Profile

Clearly, define who your target market is and then further clarify who is your ideal client. This is not a simple process and has taken even professions some time to figure out.

  1. Create a plan that goes beyond tactics

A real plan for your marketing takes into account how you will build the relationship, how you actually close a sale and how you service your clients. Then you can return to the tactical side of marketing.

  1. Select the right marketing provider

When you have an “Ideal Client Profile” it should tell you how would be some of the best ways for you to connect with them. This will direct you to check out various tactics closely associated with your ideal client. Then you can start to narrow your actual tactical marketing providers.

  1. Determine your numbers

Before you finalize your choice of marketing tactics providers, make sure your provider can provide you with results information that works for you. Are the results you’re getting fit your plans and what you want to accomplish?  If it isn’t then you need to reassess your plan, tactics and marketing provider.

If you would like any help in planning or managing your marketing or to grow your business please call me at Crossroads Consultants, 980-241-0189 or email me, Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com.

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Don’t Blame the Sales Team for Poor Marketing

There is a big difference between marketing and sales. If you confuse these two areas in your business you can be creating problems that you don’t want and might not even know you have.

Marketing involves everything that brings attention to your business, public relations, advertising, promotions, pricing, store layout, and location, etc., up to the point of personal contact.  The sales area is personal. Anytime a prospect or customer has a personal interaction with another person in your business, they have stepped into the sales department. In a broad sense, your installers, technicians, receptionist and customer service personnel all work in the sales department.

I know that Amazon doesn’t have salespeople per se and they still make sales, I get it. But they don’t have a very big sales department. Most of their sales come through their marketing. So an email from the company is marketing. If a personal email comes from a person in the company then we have crossed over into sales, because now you are starting to develop a personal relationship with the prospect and a person in the company.

When the marketing department and the sales department do not work together like a hand and glove you will be inefficient, less effective and it will cost you money. The key is to work together as a team. Sales need to utilize marketing to their advantage and marketing needs to communicate with the sales team what they are trying to do. Any conflict needs to be resolved so that everyone can benefit.

Make sure both departments are accountable for their own goals as well as working together. Be very careful when one department starts to point fingers at the other. Marketing and branding help to build the impression of a company, but the sales team helps to build the relationships and personal customer relationships.

If you want to know more about how to build a sales and marketing team while setting the accountability standards, I would love to have that conversation. Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com

Marketing Can Be SO Frustrating!

You want to generate more qualified leads. You want a better return on your marketing. You don’t want to learn all of the different marketing strategies and tactics to grow your business. You don’t want to manage all of the different marketing providers or research who are making you money and who isn’t.

There is a reason that we hire mechanics, accountants, computer repair people and even landscaping or lawn mowing services to do some work. We don’t want to do it. We don’t want to learn how to do it. We want someone with the skills, abilities, and knowledge to do it for us.

You don’t have to learn “marketing”

Who wants to learn all the marketing strategies and tactics and how to do them? Now you don’t have to. Now you can hire a provisional Marketing Director, just like you hire an accountant that comes into your business every so often to do what needs to be done.  You get full access to the knowledge, skills, and abilities of an expert without paying the full-time cost of another employee.

What would a Marketing Director do?

If you were to hire a full-time Marketing Director (just go with me on this), what would their activities look like for the first week or maybe two? They would review all of your goals and objectives. They would review all that you offer and what strategies and tactics you currently are using and what you have used. They would want to understand your target market and what your ideal client would look like.

After some time the new Marketing Director would design the strategies and tactics that will enable the company to reach their goals. They would create a plan for the next year and then implement that plan. They would connect with all of the existing marketing vendors and support staff. They would apply the plan to the budget and make vendor adjustments. Then they would make sure that they could measure the activities and results and make adjustments to reach the goals.

What is a provisional Marketing Director?

A provisional marketing director can do all of the same things, but for small businesses that cannot afford a full-time person, they work to the level that is needed to get the job done. This saves you money, frees up quite a bit of your time and since they have the skills and abilities that you don’t, your return on marketing dollar should go up with your sales and business growth.

As an independent consultant (no conflicts or strings attached to any vendor) Crossroads Consultants can tell you what strategies and tactics will work for you, your business and especially your budget. If you want to know more about the provisional marketing director program, call Stan at Crossroads Consultants 980-241-0189, or email at Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com.  Get rid of the frustration and grow your business.

 

How to Maximize Your Marketing Results

Most business owners are very knowledgeable and even specialize in a particular product or service, but marketing. Marketing is usually decided when vendors convince you that their product is the right one for you.

Are you wasting your money?

When you have multiple tactics that are not strategically aligned you may think that your investment is working when actually only one is working well and the rest are a total waste of money.

In today’s fast changing and an ever evolving digital world, you need to rely on some marketing principles to plan your business growth. One of those principles is making sure your marketing tactics actually work together.

Check your marketing efficiency and effectiveness:

  1. Are you using a list of tactics or do you have a sound strategic marketing plan to direct limited resources?
  2. Do you have clear goals for what you are trying to accomplish and can you measure real dollar results?
  3. Do your marketing and sales departments work together strategically and tactically?

Crossroads Consultants is not a marketing provider and therefore is an independent third party when it comes to evaluating and developing strategic marketing, planning and management systems. Developing a group of aligned tactics will work much more effectively and efficiently.

Crossroads Consultants has worked with a number of clients where we saved them money very quickly by decreasing or eliminating low return marketing tactics. We were able to reallocation those resources for tactics that better fit the company’s goals and overall strategies for growth.

Get an independent review

A Marketing Performance Profile is an analysis and recommendation report. Crossroads Consultants provides this report to give you the foundational elements you need for future marketing decisions. With this report you will be able to speed up product and service launches, select better and additional marketing tactics and know when to decrease or eliminate others as well.

A Marketing Performance Profile report determines what you are trying to accomplish and then evaluates each tactic to those goals. It provides a better foundation for a marketing strategy and planning. It looks at each tactic individually and collectively to save you money and see better results.

Contact Crossroads Consultants for a Marketing Performance Profile and to plan a marketing strategy to grow your business.

In order to maximize your marketing results start with a Marketing Performance Profile.

How Do You Use LinkedIn?

Many business owners and managers see LinkedIn as a resume database that is online for professionals who are looking to change jobs. While that may be what LinkedIn was originally intended for, it has become of great value to building your business.

Every business is built on the knowledge and skills of people. You may have an accountant that you use for taxes or is an employee. You hired, more than likely, someone who specializes in building websites, or who specializes in marketing. Today more than ever the individual as a business or service provider is critical to your business. From landscaping to security systems, we want to know who we are doing business with.

In the same sense your prospects are asking the same type questions about you (or whoever is the face of your company). That could mean your Account Representative, Senior Programmer working on your customer’s project, or the person who will be delivering your product to their place of business. LinkedIn gives you a way to take the one asset no one else has, namely your people, and utilize that information to provide comfort to your customers of knowing who they are doing business with on a more personal basis.

This is just one aspect of how LinkedIn can be used to build your business. Don’t dismiss LinkedIn as just a resume database. Instead, use LinkedIn for the business building tool that it has become.

Tip: if you have a list of your “team” on your website, make sure you add a link to those individual’s LinkedIn profile. While your own page provides some advantages, which we don’t have time to discuss here, LinkedIn provides some credibility if the profile is developed properly.

Stan Broesder, MBA is the owner of Crossroads Consultants and a business consultant that specializes in improving business profits and growth by developing business strategies and systems. A structured process is used to create strategies and action plans to solve problems that many business owners and professionals face.  You can reach Stan by email at:  Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com. 

Do You Want More Customers? — Who are they and where do you find them?

As they say, if you want to catch fish, you need to go where the fish are. If you want more customers you have to go where they are as well. The first question is, what does your customer look like? How would you identify your ideal client? This will prevent you from wasting your time talking to the wrong prospect.

Your ideal client is the person that, if you were able to sit down with them and make your presentation, they would buy from you 100% of the time. Now that is ideal, and yes we agree, that it is very unlikely to identify that perfect prospect, but the closer you can come to it the better.

Identifying your ideal client will allow you to target your marketing and minimize your qualification process. While someone with a 50% match may also buy they are much less likely to purchase than the prospect who is a 90% match.

Once you have identified your ideal client, then you start to think about those who fit the profile with similar characteristics. This will help to reveal the best places to locate those prospects and the best methods to reach them.

What are their commonalities? Is it geographic or their hobbies and interests? Maybe they read similar books and magazines or they are at a particular stage in life. Once you can identify these similar characteristics it will give you some ideas on how to market to them with the best return on your investment.

Many business owners make the mistake of saying, “well we have always done well by doing this or that.” The problem is that market is always changing and marketing techniques are also changing. So you may be missing out on a potential customer group or your target group has changed how they want to be marketed to. I recommend you go through this exercise at least every two years and once a year would be better.

This exercise will enable you to improve your lead generation, improve the quality of your leads, improve your conversion rate and make you more money. It can be challenging once you decide to seriously give it a try and that is why most people don’t do it. This means if you do the exercise and your competitors don’t, you will have another advantage over them. If you have questions or would like some help in working through the process, let me know.

Stan Broesder, MBA, the “General Contractor” for Marketing and Business Development with My Marketing Crossroads. You can reach me at Stan@MyMarketingCrossroads.com

Seriously, What Business Are You In?

There are three fundamental questions that every business must answer clearly, if they are going to be successful. These questions will help to distinguish you from your competition. The first one we will address today, which is “What business are you in?” The second question is, “Who is your ideal client?” And the third is, “How are you going to reach your ideal client with your offering?”

Today’s question is an old business question that says, the Railroads thought that they were in the railroad business when they were actually in the transportation business. When we cannot clearly see what business we are in, we will be in efficient in our use of resources. Also the more accurate you can see what business your competitors are in you will also be in a better competitive position.

John D Rockefeller was known for co-founding Standard Oil that we know today as Exxon-Mobile. Most people think that he made money drilling oil. But his secret to success wasn’t in drilling oil; it was in obtaining and controlling its distribution through controlling large areas of the railroad and the refining of oil. He controlled the distribution of oil in major parts of the northeast. That means he controlled his competitor’s distribution as well. To say that he was in the oil business would be to greatly understate what business he was in.

What is your offering?
Most business owners think of what they do in terms of the sale such as, “I sell widgets”, or “We fix widgets”, or “we provide a service of widgets and accessories.” The problem is most people don’t want a “widget”. It doesn’t matter what you are selling as the object of the sale. When you buy a ¼” drill bit, do you want a drill bit? NO, you want a ¼” hole. Does a young man buy a diamond ring because he wants a ring? NO, he wants a bride, and a happy bride at that.

Don’t turn your answer into a personal “I am” statement. “I’m a plumber” or “I’m an attorney,” isn’t a statement of your offering or what business you are really in. Are there other people who could make the same statement that you made, but whom you would say are really not like you? That means you are not like them, and therefore your statement is of very little value. It cannot be distinguished from others.

Dig for that competitive advantage
When you really start to work on answering the question “what business am I in?” you will begin to see the competitive advantages that is a part of your offering. It will also help you to see what it is about your business, its culture, skills, knowledge, etc., that makes your business different from others.

Hopefully, you are starting to get to the heart of the matter of what business are you in. Think deeper than just the sale. Your answer will say, this is who I am to my prospects and my clients. If you are not different in what business you are in, your prospects will be confused. If you don’t provide that clarity of what business you are in your competitor’s will do it for you and your prospects will feel more comfortable with your competitors.

Step into your prospects shoes
One of the best ways to help you answer the question is to really try to walk in your prospect’s shoes. Don’t walk in your customer’s shoes (that is a different exercise), think about your prospects. Your prospects are not satisfied yet. They are the ones still asking questions that your customers are no longer asking.

When you are on vacation and see a competitor’s place of business, you start looking at the comparisons to your business. You look at size, cleanliness, or whatever you think is important. But ask yourself what would your prospects see if both of your businesses where competing for that prospect? This is much more than a building, sign or a website. Start thinking about what your prospects are looking for.

Make it crystal clear
If your answer is not extremely clear you will have major difficulties in answering the second and third questions. Almost every business that I have worked with has had a difficult time with answering this question; when they have been challenged. Those challenges usually come in the form of distinguishing themselves from their competition. If your answer does not show a differentiation, your marketing will help your competitors, because they will say “We are just like them, plus these things.”

When you can see it clearly, you will be able to help your prospects see it clearly. But if they are confused in any way, you are kidding yourself. Be very clear, “What business are you in?”



Stan Broesder is a business growth and marketing specialist with Crossroads Consultants. For over 25 years Stan has helped businesses to grow and to overcome obstacles. Today with digital online marketing Crossroads Consultants is made up of a team of strategic and tactical growth specialists. Even Crossroads Consulting is growing, look for out “My Marketing Crossroads” services coming soon.  For more information on growing your business, Contact Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com