Strategic Customer Attraction Marketing Blueprint

With the ever changing face of the economy based on varying factors [such as government protectionism, automation of industries, downsizing of companies] the trend to more and more people choosing to start their own business for various reasons continue to rise. With that said – along with this trend there is an increasing need for structured marketing process and client acquisition processes and methodologies to be utilised within these businesses in order to transform a startup into a fully functional revenue generating entity.

It is often the case that many smaller businesses are product rather than market focussed. In many cases we find that there is no actual marketing department so to speak of and as a consequence the function of marketing within the company ends up being fulfilled ‘as and when’.

We can contrast this to what we find in any larger organisation or corporate; we find an actual marketing department, with qualified marketing professionals who are analysing the market, target customers and competition, they continually look for trends and movements in their chosen space in order to refine the marketing message and continually push the communication through the channels. This is to include the distribution channel [where appropriate], print media, radio, catalogues etc, etc and of course the use of digital marketing channels [social media, email marketing, video marketing, micro blogging and more].

The above is what leads to the typical ongoing market penetration that we see within these organisations leading to new products and services development a steady stream of new clients and the nurturing of existing clientele.

It is with the smaller organisation in mind, the solopreneur or work from home business owner that any strategic business attraction marketing blueprint is targeted towards. This is one or two steps down from making use of an in person consultant that will look to understand the business operations and put specific structures in place that when followed; will first provide a deeper understanding of the market place and target market clients but will also provide the foundation for providing the products and services that the intelligence directs the company towards producing.

It is recommended that organisations looking to add structure and processes to the marketing and client acquisition aspect of their businesses direct their energies to these main fundamentals.

  1. Client Strategy & Preparation
  2. Setting Up Key Business Processes & Systems
  3. Getting Clients While You Sleep
  4. Follow Up & Retention

1) Gaining a deeper understanding of the needs, desires and behaviour of the clients no matter what the industry will drive the decisions that are made in relation to the products and services that are developed and presented to the market space.

2) Key systems and processes such as continuous market intelligence related to pricing and customer behaviour can help to take the organisation to the next level and gain a significant competitive advantage over other companies supplying related or similar products and services.

3) The marketing process for bringing new prospects into the marketing funnel must be an ongoing activity; whilst focusing on servicing existing clients it is imperative that someone is taking care of make new clients aware of the needs that your organisation can fill.

4) Too often it is the failure to followup and keeping in touch that leads to the loss of valuable customers; depending on the business tools such as email marketing, videos, membership sites and print media may be used in order to stay at the top of the mind of the target customer.

Once the process has been developed it will then be a matter of refining it [say once a quarter] whilst some is taking care of the execution which will lead to new customers, sales and products and services leading to increased revenue generation.

Small And Midsized Company Marketing And Marketing Communications – Actionable Forecasts For 2018

You’ve probably been inundated recently with macro forecasts on the growth of digital media, artificial intelligence, mobile communications, videos, drones and more. But, as a small or midsize B2B, B2C or nonprofit marketer, what forecasts should you actually pay attention to, and which might be used to improve your profitability and ROI?

I believe 2018 will be a bumpy ride and hope that my forecasts will smooth out the journey for you. Here goes:

Improving Marketing And Marketing Communications By Paying Attention to These

1. Considerable thought and time will be spent creating new website language to meet the explosive use of voice activated Internet searches. Voice activated searches, using “personal assistants”, accounted for twenty percent of searches in 2016 (ComScore) and are projected to reach fifty percent in 2020. Your website pages need to understand and reflect how people actually speak.

2. Greater attention to brand transparency, complete truth and face-to-face interaction with customers and prospects will take center stage. Cybersecurity breaches, as well as eroding trust in media and institutions, has led to a significant and wide spread quest for truth. Events and interactions at the point-of-purchase provide opportunities to build (or re-build) brand trust.

3. Reducing merchandise returns by e-commerce consumers will receive increased focus and require new strategies. While online sales are growing at about three times the rate of those for brick and mortar stores (in part, because of free shipping), almost one-third of e-purchases are sent back (versus nine percent for stores). As shipping is twenty to sixty-five percent of an e-retailers cost of goods (UPS), it’s all hands on deck to reduce this cost.

4. While digital marketing will continue to grow, there will have to be significant improvements made for its continued development. Consider the following:

– P&G has challenged Google, Facebook, YouTube and others to adapt safeguards against the existing fraudulent traffic reporting and inappropriate content by the end of 2017 or they will stop advertising with them; P&G has already pulled $140 million from them in 2017.

– Walmart is also no longer advertising on YouTube.

– Facebook claims it can potentially reach 101 million 18 to 34-year olds, but the Census Bureau counts only 76 million of this demographic.

– The ANA is attempting to start a six-month, $50 million pilot study with 35 marketers in a test of 30 premium online publishers to determine their actual value.

– Added to these, there have been accusations of social media kickbacks, while over 600 million consumers worldwide have ad blockers installed.

It is clear dramatic improvements must be made and made quickly.

5. As another outgrowth of the mistrust in the marketplace, employees, reps and distributors will become the new marketing communications “influencers”. Of necessity, these people will become “the brand”, and management will recognize the importance of an engaged workforce. In their quest to develop brand champions at every level, savvy leaders will foster authentic and open internal communications.

6. Although it might seem to be a throwback, direct mail will receive renewed emphasis. According to Compu-Mail, average response rates for direct mail (5.1%) is far higher than for email (0.6%), paid searches (0.6%), social media (0.4%), or online display ads (0.2%). In fact, direct mail is even stronger among millennials, with response rates of 12.4% among those aged 18 – 24. Data also suggests that direct mail is better than email for generating longer term customer engagement.

7. Bloggers will continue to be a factor, but writing longer posts, spending more time crafting them, and publishing less frequently (Orbit Media). Specifically, posts went from 808 words in 2014 to 1,142 words in 2017, with the average post taking nearly 3 ½ hours to create. The current regimen shows 3 percent posing daily, 22 percent posting weekly and the majority posting only several times a month or less often.

Changing Your Strategy, Planning And Tactics

1. Marketers will recognize that – in the face of a changing marketplace – the most important aspect of profitable growth and improved ROI is developing a meaningful marketing and marketing communications strategy. Having experimented in recent years with a vast variety of tactical resources (in large part because they’re easy to grasp), marketers have learned that, without any realistic measurement of their worth, these efforts may have been counterproductive. Putting tactics before strategy never works… “ready, fire, aim” comes to mind.

2. Marketers, in fact, will spend much more time determining whether their marketing communications tactics are working. Admitting that clicks don’t inherently lead to increased profitable revenue, they will establish strict measurement and ROI of digital marketing the same way they do with traditional marketing.

3. Beyond a focus on the efficiency of an advertising medium, considerably more thought will be built into selecting a specific medium based on consumer trust of the medium. A recent study of 1,030 consumers by Clutch showed television/broadcast video as the advertising medium most trusted (61%) and social media and online mediums as the least trusted (38% and 41%, respectively). Trust of all mediums is strongest among millennials and weakest among baby boomers.

4. There will be a focus on transitioning from a marketing specialist environment, to generalists who can integrate and lead these specialists into an ROI driven team (Korn Ferry). This will be challenging as there is a shortage of marketing talent with broad experience, leadership and capability that can gain the trust of specialists who work together for the brand and not their specialty.

Using Consultants For Improving Marketing And Marketing Communications ROI

Most probably you’ve already put a lot of hard work into developing your 2018 plan. But perhaps these forecasts have raised some questions and concerns that you may not have thought of, and perhaps you don’t have the experience, time or staff to address them. If you’re concerned about marketing, you’re not alone. In fact, Infusionsoft surveyed 1,000 small business owners and found that nearly two-thirds feel that they “don’t know if their marketing strategies work” or “know that their strategies aren’t working”. So, what can you do?

Consider tapping into an established, media neutral consultancy or person, with broad experience across industries, companies and nonprofits, both large and small, who are also willing to “tell it like it is”. Don’t settle for someone selling you one particular marketing discipline or experience in just your niche or industry. What is needed in these complicated times is not a “this is the way we’ve always done it” mentality, but rather a broad view of your business and opportunities.

Like trained accountants and lawyers, a marketing professional will bring you fresh eyes, apolitical candor and a disciplined approach to today’s uncertain and untrusting marketing environment. Trust is the new black, and a knowledgeable consultant can help you build a meaningful and profitable business.

But remember, “Ideas are a dime a dozen. People who put them into action are priceless.”

Let’s Talk Marketing Strategy

You’re a new non-profit and wondering how you’ll come up with money to support your cause, right? You’ve heard the hype about grants and loads of free federal money that are available to anyone willing to lend a helping hand in society, but have you done any serious investigation into the processes that sustain a non-profit in the long haul?

Let’s start with a few pieces of common misinformation:

Grants are sustainable.

This is far from the truth. Grant funding is like a crutch. The whole idea behind setting aside a chunk of money is to help an organization establish a project or keep an impactful project in place when times are tough. Grant money isn’t intended to sustain an organization fully.

Grants are available for everyone.

Most grant money is available to government entities and non-profit organizations. If an individual or for-profit business, chances are your grant search is going to be grueling. Not to mention, probably spend more resource applying for the money than receive IF you get funded. Therefore, seeking grant money is a largely ineffective marketing approach for almost every non-profit organization.

Grants are available for everything.

Grant money for specific causes that advance a social mission. Federal money for very specific and foundation money is set aside to advance a specific purpose set forth by that foundation. Although true that a foundation may support minority-owned businesses, the competition is fierce. There are thousands of people just like yourself searching for that same money.

So, does that mean you should give up? Absolutely Not.

But, you should devise a strategic plan based on this information. Using a transaction cost analysis (TCA) framework, let’s look at some of the most cost-effective forms of marketing for ANY non-profit organization and then we’ll discuss how this all relates to your overall funding search. There are 6 major types of marketing for organizations with social missions:

Direct mail

Most of us associate direct mail with those little flyers we get stuffed between the newspapers or postcards offering 50% at the next department store sale. direct mail has proved to be valuable in capturing the attention of prospective donors and in following up with people who have previously donated money to a cause. Direct mail is relatively inexpensive but does not yield a huge response.

Direct Response Marketing

Direct response marketing constitutes a variety of techniques but is commonly associated with practices such as television, magazine, and radio advertisements where consumers are encouraged to take part in a direct call to action. Direct response marketing is expensive and relatively ineffective in reaching targeted audiences.

Catalogue Marketing

Catalogue marketing is generally an approach used by businesses that sell products or packed services but can be used by non-profit organizations that sell cause-related apparel. Although catalogue marketing has a low return rate, it has been found to increase among use of other marketing techniques.

Telephone Marketing

We’re all familiar with telemarketers-primarily the reason telephone marketing gets a bad rep but if can be a very productive means of personal selling if done properly and legally. One of the main problems with telephone marketing is the training required to ensure that all phone calls meet regulatory requirements and that the sales people themselves do a good job at representing your organization.

Personal Selling

Exactly how it sounds, personal selling is any face-to-face encounter that has the potential to turn into an investment in your cause. Face-to-face selling has a high rate of return however it requires the most resources of any marketing tactic because it requires research, scheduling, coordination, and often multiple meetings between executives.

Online Marketing

There is no doubt that the internet has changed the marketplace and it is also one of the most cost-effective methods of marketing. The problem is have historically fallen behind with online trends and don’t make investments in online marketing processes, never mind an online marketing plan. For a social venture to be successful in the 21st century, it’s almost impossible to avoid investing in a website and social media.

In a recent study published by Direct Marketing: An International Journal, TCA was used to measure the effectiveness of these approaches based on the level of control over direct marketing (DM) resources compared to the cost to implement each approach. Not surprisingly, the most productive forms of marketing were namely personal selling, telephone, direct mail, and online while the least cost-effective forms were direct response and catalogue. However, the findings presented in this study are consistent in that they support the use of multiple forms of marketing as the most effective approach.

What does marketing have to do with fundraising?

Most non-profits are small, and many of these organizations sustain their projects through donations from the public rather than grant funding. This means that marketing (or fundraising) is one of the most vital metrics that every organization should pay close attention to when planning how they sustain their operations, pay their employees, and build capacity. So, if we take grants off the table, we can first consider other forms of revenue generating pursuits, including:

1. Individual Pledges

2. Corporate Giving

3. Sponsorships

4. Fundraising Events

5. Products/Services

6. Major Donations

References

Mallin, M. L., & Finkle, T. A. (2007). Social Entrepreneurship and Direct Marketing. Direct Marketing: An International Journal, 1(2), 68-77. doi:10.1108/17505930710756833