Friday, August 14, 2009

"Value for Money" Product Strategy

In the 1930's Procter and Gamble and Kellogg's invented the "value for money concept". They've continued to develop their product strategies around the only three possible B2B or B2C behavioral market segments that exist:
  1. Effectiveness shoppers want to do more with the same resources
  2. Efficiency shoppers want to do the same with fewer resources
  3. Economizers want to do less with far fewer resources
Since then America's economy has had so many growth niches, that many companies have been able to thrive with a variety of self-centered pricing strategies i.e. skimming, penetration, customary, etc. Our new economy has changed all that, so companies that do not directly address one of the three value-for-money behaviors will fail.

As we continue evolving toward the new economy, all buyers will be fully entrenched into one of these behaviors - but on an opportunity by opportunity basis, not for all of their purchases.

So, if a company is not able to address sales opportunities in this fashion, it will not be ready for the different colored light that is now visible at the end of the tunnel.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Marketing Sets The Standard for Your People to Follow

The Proof's In The Pudding. It's All About The execution.


Think about the time you spend creating plans, programs, campaigns, content, etc. How many of your employees and partners take the time to commit these promises to muscle memory?
One benefit from your marketing investment that is often overlooked is that your marketing environment should set a high and consistent standard for all aspiring employees and partners. This internal marketing should be a requirement and managers should continuously test their employees on their ability to state and explain the meaning of each marketing program and message that you create.  Without a full understanding and commitment by everyone, how can you expect complete alignment between the promisors and deliverers?

Why the High Drop-out Rate?


Maybe finishing is too hard. Maybe there are too many "urgent, but not important" distractions. Maybe people just don't like to practice.  Think about the college basketball player who practices 2-3 hours each day in order to play two 40 minute games each week.  Why don't sales reps spend more time practicing in order to improve their skills?


About 50% of my clients do not follow through [to my satisfaction] with the programs they paid me to develop and model for them. I hope it's not the quality of my work. I don't think so. I feel bad when they don't establish a legacy foothold for these plans or programs.


I read about Johnson and Johnson's "management for the long term" principal. I was impressed at how their leaders ensure sustainability by not compromising the long term due to short term thinking.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Every industry has its own version of WalMart

Every company has a WalMart type competitor, regardless of its industry.

These competitors cause a continuous "down economy" for marketing lazy companies that rely on low hanging fruit for their livelihood. They make the excuse that this competitor "gives it away", which erodes the value [overhead] that their higher priced products offer.

Actually, this type of competitor helps companies who differentiate themselves through solid marketing principles. These companies thrive while others fall by the wayside.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Second Step to Navigating a Down Economy

After Having Eliminated "It's the Economy" as Your Excuse:

Define your own economy, which is different from the macro economy that gets the negative headlines.

Work to retain your existing customers and ensure sufficient prospecting activity for continually acquiring a few new buyers each month. Make contact early, at lunch, late in the day, and use social networks. Befriend gatekeepers.

Invest daily team time trying to imagine ways to make price not your only differentiator. For example, figure out a way to lower the customer's risk rather than your price.

Let a goal statement influence each day as a pop up on your calendar.

Monitor month-to-month sales funnel status as your leading indicator. This includes close rate, deal size, length of sales cycle, average discount rate, # products per deal and the # of leads required to find a winnable opportunity.

If you have channel partners, coach them on the best closing tactics.

Add recurring revenue sources to your product line.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What makes you think you are entitled to grow?

As a small business advisor I've been asked by clients, "Help me to double my company's sales in the next 3-to-5 years" or "we want to come up with a new product because our current lines have reached their peak".

When I first started my business in 2003 I would gladly accept this sort of breakthrough challenge and then go to work helping them to enhance their sales, marketing and customer service environment. I believed that if we gathered useful research information, designed excellent processes supported by the right automation tools and then implemented programs and campaigns to retain customers and attract new ones, we would be on track to achieving the goal.

I've discovered that this formula is flawed when it lacks the necessary catalysts to produce the desired results.

Now, when I am asked to help a client to "go where their company has never been before", I first need to define success feasibility before accepting the challenge.

When most of the following 10 conditions exist, it's probably a losing battle right from the start:
  1. The owner's narrow comfort zone prevents them from envisioning a home run
  2. Owners have a tendency to not follow through on their commitments
  3. Owners do not treat their people like assets
  4. Their organization is fragmented or not built for success
  5. They lack the necessary leadership skills to take the company to a breakthrough region
  6. Internal stakeholders lack commitment to be the best they can be
  7. Much of their staff consists of the wrong people in the wrong roles for whatever the reason
  8. Customer experience management is not part of their company's DNA
  9. They lack marketing perspective, commitment, persistence and perseverance
  10. They do not manage through appropriate budgets and KPI metrics
So, when I face this sort of new client business situation, I try to persuade the owner to reduce their monster goal to measurable milestones that will justify investing in a series of business initiatives. After achieving each milestone, feasibility can be reevaluated.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The first step to navigating a down economy is to establish the right attitude

Most business people say "I'd like to increase profitability, but the economy is presenting too many obstacles".

Wouldn't it be better if they were comfortable saying "I'd like to increase profitability and the economy is presenting all kinds of obstacles and opportunities so this is what we're going to do about it ...?"

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Unfinished Business

Why the High Drop-out Rate?

Maybe finishing is too hard. Maybe there are too many "urgent, but not important" distractions. Maybe people just don't like to practice.

I recently completed a Tai Chi class. Through this "soft" form of traditional martial arts, body and breathing work together as a single unit with no wasted effort. Results include improved health, mental calmness and clarity. By the fifth class half the students had dropped out and only 20% completed the course. I wonder why?

About the same percentage of my clients do not follow through [to my satisfaction] with the marketing programs they paid me to develop and model for them. I hope it's not the quality of my work. I don't think so. I feel bad when they don't establish a legacy foothold for these plans or programs.

How about sales reps? Why don't they spend more time practicing in order to improve their skills? Think about the college basketball player who practices 2-3 hours each day in order to play two 40 minute games each week.

I read about Johnson and Johnson's "management for the long term" principal. I was impressed at how their leaders ensure sustainability by not compromising the long term due to short term thinking.

I believe that the proof's in the pudding. It's all about the execution.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Small Business Owners benefit from Neighborhood Marketing


Neighborhood marketing is an effective way to increase sales by targeting geographically defined communities.

There are 4 hallmarks to successful neighborhood marketing programs:
1. Great customer experiences get people talking about your company
2. Win new business from the closest neighbors of completely satisfied customers
3. Communicate with your community in a drip marketing fashion
4. Partner with companies whose products and services complement yours within targeted communities

By strengthening relationships and distinguishing your company from competitors you will gain new customers, collect new product and service ideas, generate additional revenue and become more profitable.

Andiamo! Let's go.