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Category Archives: Marketing Strategy

Outsource your marketing has become a smarter choice for SMB

By | CRM and lead generation, Marketing Automated Technology, Marketing Maturity, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Technology, Marketing Tools | No Comments

marketing landscapeAt one stage as a small business it was possible to do your marketing in-house, much like you might do your book-keeping and manage staff. Now SMBs are outsourcing their marketing as the landscape has changed.

Here are some of the reasons:
1. Marketing has changed dramatically over the past few years and has become more specialised. It has become more technical with more areas of specialisation. Think of the landscape for today; google SEO, Adwords, customer databases, social media, event management branding, mobile marketing, marketing automation,PR, research,telemarketing and strategic planning. Each of these areas of marketing requires a certain skill set and so while managers can get there it is very time consuming and not a good use of the time.

2.The breadth of marketing touch points now reflect the buyers journey. Because our customers are using different tools and resources to find us than they once did (i.e. word of mouth and advertising before and now social media, websites, reviews on line, etc) our marketing needs to be where our customers are and this has created more marketing avenues to be ontop of. It is time consuming and almost impossible for a SMB manager to do this and run the operations of a business.

3.Customers do more of their journey without interacting with sales. THe role of sales has reduced and the role of marketing has increased because of customer behaviour. We do our research before we engage with a company we want to buy from be it buying a new car or health insurance. It is marketing job to provide those resources, tools and advice where the customers are looking and so content creation has become a big part of the marketing mix. Content is time consuming and these days also requires SEO and customer mindset to be effective.IBM-outsource-traditional-sub-process

4. Marketing has become more scientific as we have access to more data. From google, social media, email campaigns, forms, third party research we are now able to know more about what marketing is working and what isn’t and improve it month on month. We are also able to see what our customers want and adjust on the fly. The issue is most SMB don’t have the time.

5. Having a cohesive marketing approach is more important than ever before. We have all been to that website that has a post that was done over 12 months ago, seen a logo on a business card that doesn’t match the letterhead or gone to search a person on LinkedIn not to find their profile. Having an integrated marketing approach is critical to gaining trust and a consistent profile and marketing approach is now more visible.

6.If marketing is not your core business outsourcing frees you up to focus on what you are good at. Outsourcing can be a fraction of the cost of hiring a full time marketer and many times they might not have the core skill set that you need in all the areas of marketing. This variable cost of outsourcing means you can plug and play as you need but still have that expertise. Outsourcing also allows you to step away from the tactical and use your business knowledge on the insights that your marketing expert provides to assist you to make better marketing decisions.

7.While it might be tempting to off-shore your marketing make sure you have done the cost V benefit analysis. Some of my clients have gone down the path of odesk, glance, freelancer and alike to outsource their marketing. The regular response I hear is that the time it takes to manage this resource is making the low fee seem irrelevant. So while we are not limited by geographical boundaries any more and we can access any resource, finding someone that you can communicate easily with, understands the local business environment and has the experience will save you time and money. Keep in mind some functions of marketing are make more sense to outsource and others don’t. Marketers outsource Even as a marketer I outsource writing, design and SEO as these are highly specialised skills.

8. The key reason for outsourcing to a marketing professional is growth. If you want to continue to grow your business you need a marketing plan and continually be implementing in good times and bad. Marketing has shifted in importance as a lead generation tool and with sales being less influential in the customer journey, marketing has shifted into top gear for many companies.

So it might be time to think about your business model and what you spend time on day to day. If it is doing marketing in when you can and you don’t have the expertise then it might be time to change. If it is not at all and you have ignored marketing, maybe be it is time to rethink that strategy. If you hate marketing but you recognise it is important in generating new business talk to us.

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How mature is your marketing?

By | customer centric marketing, Customer Insight, Marketing Maturity, Marketing Strategy, Small Business Marketing, Value Proposition | No Comments

I have just finished reading the book Connect the Experience. This book tracts the maturity level of a company based on a customer centric approach. What I really love about this book is that it is connecting all the activity we do to a maturity model and is based on the customer experience.
Customer Marketing Maturity Level

This book acknowledges the dramatic change in the marketing landscape that has occurred over the past few years and how customers are now in control of this landscape. “Even though we’re faced with radical changes in customer behaviours, expectations and preferences as a result of technology, to lead the next generation of customer experience does not begin with technology. It starts with people.”

Businesses want to do the right thing by customers and what to have brands that both employees and their customers love. We all have sincere intentions (for the most part) and recognise that the future of business lies in customer experience however “only 37% of executives are actually beginning to move forward with a formal customer experience initiative.” As the Connect The Experience a spouses these companies that aggressively invests in customer centricity in the innovation of products, processes and services will grow faster.
“The future of digital marketing and customer experience is in your hands. Feel it. Design it. Advance it.”

What I love about this book is the resources around mapping the maturity of your marketing. It is worth checking out.
Customer Journey

We also have our owns audit tool for SMBs. marketing audit tool.

Adobe also has a great digital marketing maturity assessment survey.
Digital Marketing tool

Adobe state; Digital Marketing success is dependent upon an organization’s focus and investment in its People, Processes, and Products necessary to deliver successful customer experiences. The strength of each area is measured by its ability to execute across the seven Digital Marketing dimensions; which include Channels, Audiences, Context, Content, Assets, Campaigns, and Data.

Evolve to be customer centric 1+1 = 3

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Marketing Strategy | No Comments

Just as I think, boy it would be great to be able to switch between reading a book on my tablet and(listening to it), Amazon in onto it. They have come up with another added value to buying my books with them. The flexibility to consume books the way I want. They are continually evolving their business to ensure they meet the needs of their customers. With the objective to be the most customer centric company in the world they are doing an awesome job.

Amazon and audible team up for customers

Amazon and audible team up for customers

To learn more about how to keep ahead of your customer needs listen to my podcast with Bruce Kanoff author of Smart Customers, Stupid Customers.

How to work with Us

By | Marketing Strategy, Packaging, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

We know that every small business is different and you will be looking for the right marketing resource. That is why we have come up with a number of ways to engage with us.

Marketing Strategy workshop – for a small investment of $250 you can have a meeting and see if we are a good fit and get some immediate marketing strategy to apply to your workshop. This is a good place to start if you haven’t yet worked out your marketing approach.

Small Business Package – allows us to work together with you over a series of workshops to uncover your strategy and put together a one page plan.

Fast Track workshop is a one day planning session for a small business to create a marketing plan.
Web Design Package – is perfect if you are in the process of redesigning your web and want to make sure it will attract your ideal customers with call to actions.

Branding Package – is great if you are rebranding your business and want to think through the “why” of your identity. This builds the style guide and the key marketing messages.

Digital Marketing covers all social media creation and planning so it is wrapped up in your core marketing strategy.

The Customer Centric Workhop focuses on mapping out your customer’s buying path so you can become more customer centric and test your internal values and value proposition.

Retainer Options are very useful and economical for a small business with no marketing resource but know they need an ongoing affordable marketing person. We only do a number of these per year so we can service our existing clients well.

Online Coaching Package is for those remote businesses that want an online resource to communicate with about their marketing.

What is Customer Centric Marketing?

By | customer centric marketing, Customer Insight, Marketing Strategy | No Comments

Customer centric marketing is now becoming the new buzz word. I have been doing it for almost 20 years, but what actually is it? Is it a mindset, a business approach or system? A product centric strategy (set your business model up around the product or service you sell) is the model most companies on the planet have; i.e., business as usual. On the other side of the landscape is customer centricity.

Customer Centricity is a strategy. It is aligning your business with the needs and wants of your most profitable customers. For some larger businesses it might be too difficult to migrate their structure to align to the customer but for small businesses it is a doable task that has a real competitive advantage.

Small business is best placed in providing customer value and asking questions about how to make the customer experience better because we have less complicated infrastructures.

Note: Not all customers are your ideal customers. Some just aren’t a good fit. I learnt this the hard way. Sometimes they are just not ready for the service or product you offer, sometimes they are just hard work. Take the warning signals and move on before they become a liability to your business. Some customers just cost too much to service.  Peter Fader in his book Customer Centricity makes this point. Pete also states that it means being friendly to special customers, but not necessarily everyone.

Step 1 identify who are your key valuable customers. Basic for segmentation is not just demographics or charactertics but really it should be their Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). It isn’t a one size fit all. Even look at the customers that you love dealing with and value your services, is a good step.

Step 2. Identify your interact in touch points. i.e. CRM – interface – It is a tool to achieve customer centricity. It should be kept simple to start.

Step 3. Realise that you need to be a solution provider and ask why, and help customers.

Step 4. Treat each group of customers differently based on their needs as you get more detailed.

With customers in the driver seat in terms of choice and conducting most of their research online before they find us or hear about us, technology has accelerated the customer centric strategy getting airplay. The product centric model is now vulnerable as they become more commodity based thus price is getting eroded.

Small business have less organisation structure changes, financial risk and can build faster brand equity than every before by engaging with customers.

Customer centric

Customer Centric Marketing graphic

Where most businesses are finding it more and more difficult to differentiate themselves and can be replicated for a low cost by outsourcing oversees the battlefield for winning over customers has to centre around adding value by consistently delivering delightful experiences. By constantly putting yourself in the customer headspace from your website, to your office parking,

what would make this touchpoint easier, nicer, a better experience?

We know by mapping out purposefully the customer touch points it will have an impact on business objectives around customer lifetime value, retention and profit per customer.

For more information on how to create a customer centric marketing strategy contact Dan for a session. Business Impact

Why do your customers choose you?

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Marketing Strategy, Small Business Marketing, Thoughtleadership and Content Marketing, Value Proposition | No Comments

Why your customers by from you and not your competitors is a key strategic marketing question that is harder to answer than ever before.The  competitive landscape has changed and commoditisation of products and services has given rise to the focus on customer retention and differentiation based on the “how you provide a service or product”.The shift away from an industrial, upstream model toward a customer-centric one has been under way for some time now. Niraj Dawar argues in his new book Tilt that most companies still look for competitive advantage where it used to be: through activities related to products and new product creation. But today’s advantage comes from interactions of a different sort—those you have with your customers. Companies that recognize and move on this shift win.

Key strategic questions that I earmarked in reading Tilt  by Niraj Dawar are as follows:

1. Why do your customers choose you? Make sure it is not table stakes.

2. What business are you in? What business do your customers think you are in? How have they defined you? The answer you give to this question is predictive of how you see your business strategy

3. How is profitability measured? By customer or by volume?

4. Where do you spend most of your effort and energy? – on the service or product you sell or on understanding your customers and consistently delivering value to them by asking one fundamental question: What else do our customers need?

“Today manufactures can replicate the looks and feel of an innovative product and print it to market for a fraction of the price, in a fraction of the time it use to take. Even Nike and HP manufacture their products in Asia.” Tilt pg 178

5. How can we take what we know about our customers and provide value in different ways:coffee pods

  • How we distribute a product: Nespresso
  • How we store a product: iTunes
  • How a product or service is delivered: Audible, Spotify
  • How a product is consumed: Coles new ready made meals
  • How we dispose of a product or service: eBay

Niraj states the value equasion is VALUE= WHAT+HOW

6. How close are we to our customers and understanding them? If you sell through a channel that is made harder. Nespresso had the Nespresso club to sell direct first which gave them invaluable data on who their customers around who buys their coffee and at what price. They changed the coffee making market by understanding the pain of getting out of bed and getting dressed on a Saturday morning to stand in line and pay $4 for a espresso and risking that they are closed or run out of stock. Kodak didn’t understand their customers and so focused on a need that was surpassed.

Risks Table

7. Do you focus on scale or scope? Niraj makes the comment that it is not how many widgets you sell but how you deliver on the needs your customers have and scope your deliverables around that. What are the costs and risks they face in doing business with you? How can you eliminate these? How do you make it easy for your customers to choose you?

“Businesses rarely pay enough attention to customer costs and risks because these aspects of a transaction tend to be invisible to a sell too.”Tilt g806

This is where strategic service design can uncover those opportunities and create a competitive advantage that is hard to replicate.

Listen to my podcast with Niraj here:

Video on Tilt strategy

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