By Robert Craven, MD of The Directors' Centre.
For many of us the problem with marketing and with strategy is that they just don't seem to be working as well as they could.
Typically people say things like:
- "We don't have a clear view of the future…"
- "Our pricing is easily matched/bettered by our competitors who seem to surpass and outflank us…"
- "Too much time and money is spent on sales promotion and we don't know how effective it is…"
- "Our so-called 'innovative' projects often don't look much different from those of our competitors…"
- "A lot is being given away…"
What is to be done?
- Throw away the textbooks.
- Dig deep to understand why people should bother to buy from you. If you are the same as the competition then there is no reason why they should buy from you… so what makes you different from the rest?
- Talk to your customers:
What do they love about you?
What do they hate?
What do you need to do to get more business?
- Don't tolerate contented or satisfied customers - they will leave you. Seek to get customers who love what you do - what would "raving fans" look like for your business?
- Categorise your clients by profitability - 80% of profits come from 20% of your clients (the law of the vital few)… where can you find more clients with the characteristics of the top 20%? What would happen if you sacked, say, the bottom 20 or 30% of your clients?
- Create a focus on client benefits - tell them what they will get if they buy from you and tell them about the benefits (how will it make them feel happier or better off?)
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