AskDickWagner - Disaster Restoration Consulting
Do You Have A Valid Marketing System?
Does this ring a bell?
You wake up in the middle of the night with this brilliant sales or marketing idea? Or, you read a blog post about a great marketing idea and think WOW, I have to jump on this? You think it sounds perfect for your business, so you make a note or bookmark the web page to remind you to go back to it so you can add it to your marketing program. But you never do, and the idea fades away.
Sadly, I talk to hundreds of contractors that had those moments or epiphanies and never followed through. The fact is the idea may really have been excellent, but what’s usually lacking is the strategic system to make it happen with full accountability and measurements.
You are not alone if you've done that. Business people (owners and managers) are particularly susceptible to it, as they're doing everything for their business and there is only so much time in a day. How can they add something to their already-busy schedule? They can if they have a someone that can help develop a marketing system and make the new item part of their routine.
Half the battle for marketing success is getting organized, creating repeatable systems, and measuring the success. When you have systems in place, you have a workable, sustainable, process that establishes accountability. Without accountability, your ideas will rarely materialize to the level you want or need. Sometimes it means you need to break the process into bite-sized pieces. (I know of one system where the contractor has broken the steps into 600 bite size pieces with full accountability - and his call back or complaint level has dropped to almost zero!)
Attempting to implement a new system will almost guarantee many of your staff will fight and resist it. First, people hate change. Second, many people hate accountability. Systems help you eliminate objections and resistance by creating the conditions and procedures that enable the steps to be done easily. Maybe you decide to send SMS (text messages) to clients and prospects, but internal resistance prevents you, you keep missing your deadlines, and you have a hard time knowing what to say or promote. By having an easy-to-follow system the process becomes doable and a whole lot easier.
My clients routinely ask me What to put in their Marketing Plan, and the short answer is: most of those key points are determined by ROI. However, even though good ROI is always important, it really must factor in the style and culture of your organization as well as the ultimate goals you have targeted.
Consistency - Not Having It Will Cost You!
Trust takes days, weeks, months, even years to build. Trust is something that scales; it's something that we can continue to build on for decades, for a lifetime, or longer. Trust is the investment you cash in on when you print "Since 1870" on your beer label. Trust can take a century to build. Sadly, trust can take seconds to destroy.
Trust isn't just the most valuable asset that you have at your disposal; it might be your only asset. You can use that trust to find new employees, you can use that trust to build new partnerships and make sales, but you can't buy trust with money, and it takes a long time to earn it all over (if you even can) again once you've lost it.
The only way that you build trust is with consistency. It is through our most consistent behavior and attitudes that we develop a reputation that others know who we are and whether or not we can be counted on.
In a B2B scenario, consistency can refer to consistent follow-up, consistently ensuring that every web page we design for a client is just as good as the last one. In marketing, consistency might mean turning away that major client who wanted you to disobey the do-not-call list in your telemarketing efforts so that your other clients know that you can be trusted not to associate their brand with invasive advertising techniques.
In the classic Tarantino film Jackie Brown, Samuel L. Jackson's character is asked about a girlfriend of his who is always trying to double cross him. Questioned on why he keeps her around, Jackson replies "Well you can't trust Melanie, but you can always trust Melanie to be Melanie." This is an example of the kind of trust that you don't want to earn, but if you consistently fail to complete a project on time, if you consistently release poorly tested products, if you are consistently inconsistent, reversing your position on everything on a near-daily process, this is the kind of trust that you'll earn: we can be one hundred percent certain that you're not going to deliver on your promises. Your customers, your employees, your friends and family all learn who you are and know your reputation. It must be consistently good!
Throw away your company literature! It’s junk
Throw away your company literature! It’s junk.
Have you ever really thought about why you have company brochures, flyers, literature and even business cards?
Here are the brutal facts about your marketing materials: they are all about you, all about your services, all about your skills, training, certifications, number of trucks, quantity of equipment, ad nauseam. For most business owners, managers and marketing reps; a glossy, four color, full bleed folder or pamphlet about your company only serves to stroke your ego. And for the few of you that don’t do it for your ego, you create and print these marketing materials because you think that’s what you are supposed to do! Sorry. Wrong.
While I’m on this rant, the very common networking meetings are also almost always, in my opinion, a waste of time. You probably immediately thought about meetings like Chamber events, business networking luncheons, or other get-togethers primarily intended for you to leave the meeting with a handful of business cards. The more cards you walk away with, the more success you think you had! Oh, you also are excited if you got to spend time telling people about your company, services, skills, or expertise. Yes, you rock. But they really don’t care.
Just like your company brochures, these meetings are all about you and rarely bring anything to the prospect that is truly important to them. Should I say it again? It is not about you. It is about what they need and want!