I was reading an article that had links to a kazillion different related articles on every internet marketing topic under the sun – 5 Ways to Use Social Media in Your Business, Get Paid to Post on Facebook (yes, people pay people to post on their Facebook pages to make them look more credible – ridiculous eh?! What would be a good sarcastic comment here?), Use LinkedIn SEO PPC and your Magic 8-ball (remember those?!!) to get Quality Leads Faster.
I’m sure the articles had valid content. The point is that I think business owners are too easily seduced by bright shiny objects. Sure you can use many of them to make significant gains but they are NOT, and should never be the focus of any marketing campaign.
Case Study: It’s About The Customer
Chuck hired us to help him. He owned a manufacturing company that made parts for Fortune 100 companies. His sales had been steadily growing for a number of years through his team’s hard work. But then two unexpected things happened: the economy tanked and secondly, his biggest customer decided to discontinue a product and cancel their orders. Ouch.
Tough pill to swallow. Chuck was now faced with hard business decisions – does he lay employees off, slash prices to win some instant cheap business, move to a smaller production facility to cut expenses, or does he do something else? What??
He asked us to help him and here’s what we did….
Fantasy Scenario: we setup a Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest account with lots of bright fancy-schmancy colors and graphics to portray an upbeat happy professional image that would be appealing to the diverse group of potential clients. We brought in Suzie Sunshine to tweet and post about all the happy things going on in the company. Every picture showed everyone smiling and happy. We built a great new website and ranked #1 on highly searched keyword terms and rolled out email blasts showing how wonderful we were. Sales skyrocketed faster than a speeding bullet and everyone was happy, held hands, swayed side to side and sang “kumbaya”. And we did this in 30 days.
… did you pick up the hint of sarcasm there? 🙂
Reality – What We Did To Stop the Hemorrhaging, Right the State of Ship and DOUBLE His Business: Understanding that not every tactic works for every business, we came in and analyzed the situation. We were looking for where the biggest holes and opportunities were. We looked at his sales and identified his best clients. Something interesting revealed itself here – we found that all his best clients had almost the same emotional DNA. Their pschyographic makeup (personality, values, attitudes and interests) were almost identical. We dug deeper and thoroughly understood their hot buttons, their emotional buying language and all the B.S. that drove them crazy.
We then came up with a list of high profile potential clients in different verticals that had three characteristics:
- They had money
- They were NOT interested in the cheapest price and instead were willing to pay more for value-add
- They matched the psychographic makeup of their best clients
We did not go after every company. We pulled a very tight list and developed a very clear and succinct marketing message. We crafted a strong value proposition. We had proof out the wazoo to validate all our claims. Then we rolled out the tactics. We used a list, direct mail, email and yep, we even used their sales staff (by the way, good ‘ole fashion sales works wonderfully in this economy when used with proper marketing strategies).
Sales stopped sliding downhill. We gained footing and started moving uphill. The growth was gradual at first and then gained the momentum of a freight train. Sales went from $6.8 Million per year to $15.2 Million per year. And the sales were spread out over a number of verticals giving them security in case something happened to one of the verticals.
Chuck was happy.
And guess how long this whole process took? …. 30 days? 90 days? 6 months? …. Nope. None of these. It took 2 years to make this happen. When you’re making core level changes, sometimes change doesn’t happen overnight. (The snake-oil salesman of internet marketing and social media hype will get mad at me for saying this, but oh, well, I’ll get over it!)
Key Lessons Here:
#1: Know your customer. Whoever understands the customer best wins.
#2: Develop your strategy around your business’ strengths and objectives. NOT whatever bright shiny object is pitched. Remember fish chase after bright shiny objects. They also end up dead on the dinner plate.
#3: Get your core marketing in place – your unique selling proposition and your value proposition.
#4: Develop the right media mix FOR YOUR BUSINESS. Even though most of our business is internet marketing related, there are usually other opportunities to very quietly make significant gains that your competitors cannot track.
#5: Be patient. It takes work and energy to make BIG gains. Don’t expect to make radical changes and dominate your market in 30 days. Turn “Hype-TV” off and have a 12-24 month (or more) growth plan.
And lastly, go after it with FOCUS and DETERMINATION.
P.S. If you have questions or want help with your situation, email me at Chris@ChrisGoegan.com or Click Here to Request a Free Consultation